LONDON — Manchester City breezed past Arsenal 3-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, as Pep Guardiola won the first piece of silverware in England.
A first half goal from Sergio Aguero put City ahead and then they stepped on the accelerator in the second half with goals from Vincent Kompany and David Silva doing the damage to clinch a fifth League Cup for Man City.
Here’s what we learned from a one-sided final as the runaway Premier League leaders showed their class and won their first trophy for two years, since they won the League Cup in 2016.
KOMPANY DOMINATES AUBAMEYANG
In four of Man City’s last five domestic cup finals at Wembley, Vincent Kompany has been instrumental in their success. Many believed Kompany would be the Achilles heel for City in this final as he came up against the languid and elusive figure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Kompany probably hasn’t let Aubameyang out of his back pocket just yet…
The Belgian skipper has now led City to success in three League Cup finals, while winning one FA Cup in 2011 and losing the final in 2013 to Wigan. Across those five finals who has played the full 90 minutes on each occasion and has led by example with City conceding just three goals across the five games and he was named Man of the Match in the penalty shootout victory over Liverpool in 2016.
Kompany, 31, put in a dominant defensive display on Sunday with one moment in the first half summing up his renewed fitness and showed a glimpse of his past dominance. Aubameyang raced clear on goal, taking a decent first touch to move into the penalty box but Kompany came across and cleanly gained possession as a roar of approval reined down from Man City’s supporters from behind the goal.
At the start of the second half Kompany smashed a shot towards goal which deflected just wide as he sunk to his knees and looked to the heavens. Later on he raced clear down the right wing after a free kick, dribbled past two defenders and then won a corner as he was serenaded by their fans. From that corner he tapped home Ilkay Gundogan‘s shot as he jumped in with the fans to celebrate in style.
So many stars have come and gone since Kompany signed for City in 2008 just ahead of Sheikh Mansour’s purchase of the club, but the sight of the Belgium skipper lifting a sixth trophy as City skipper will warm the hearts of City’s fans everywhere.
OLD-GUARD DELIVERS FOR GUARDIOLA
Pep Guardiola’s 13th trophy as a manager will possibly be one of his easiest.
The Spaniard failed to deliver silverware in his first season in charge of Man City and following their shocking FA Cup exit earlier this week at third-tier Wigan, the naysayers were having a field day.
13 points clear atop the table with a game in hand, Guardiola will win at least two trophies this season and they’re favorites to win the UEFA Champions League.
Sergio Aguero loves playing against Arsenal as he scored his fifth goal in as many games against the North London club. The Argentine notched his 30th goal of the season with a delicious lob early on, making the most of a mistake from Shkodran Mustafi, before Kompany popped up with the second and Silva delivered a killer third.
With Guardiola spending big in the past two years since he arrived in Manchester, three of the old guard delivered the goals which gave him his first piece of silverware.
Kompany, Silva and Aguero may not be around for much longer but Guardiola has them to thank for creating a smooth, successful transition for his all-conquering regime.
ARSENAL FINALLY CRUMBLE AT WEMBLEY
Wembley has been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years, winning three FA Cups in the last four seasons.
That caught up with Arsene Wenger‘s men on Sunday.
In truth Arsenal were outclassed by Man City in the second half as they hung with them in the first 45 minutes but had no answer when City came out flying in the second half.
The Gunners were lackluster in attack as Aubameyang was marshaled expertly, plus Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey were all sloppy in possession. Defensively they looked shaky as Mustafi made a huge mistake, plus David Ospina hardly inspired confidence.
Overall, it was a woeful display from the Gunners who face Man City on Thursday in the Premier League.
There are 27 points between City and Arsenal in the Premier League table and another heavy defeat in four days could increase the pressure on Wenger further.