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Manchester City defeated Arsenal 3-0 on Sunday in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley courtesy of goals from Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany. The League Cup was the first triumph of the Pep Guardiola tutored side, a sign of the dynasty and dominant side he wants to build.
The trophy showed the gulf in quality between Arsenal and Manchester City, which has been evident even on the league table. City are 27 points ahead of Arsenal and are still favourites for Thursday’s clash at the Emirates in the Premier League. Guardiola emphasised the necessity of City winning trophies to match their dominance in the past 7 months.
With Guardiola buying new players to fit his philosophy and shipping some of the older players away, it was quite surprising that it was City’s modern day legends bar Yaya Toure that influenced the game at Wembley to lead the launch of a new era at the club. All three are stalwarts of the club and have had imprints on the recent success the club has enjoyed in the last six years, though Kompany starting the game was somewhat surprising.
Still only 31, the Belgian defender has suffered a series of nasty and niggling injuries that have kept him out of action for a reasonable part of the season. Guardiola recognises the need of the older players helping the younger and inexperienced ones to realise the responsibility of wearing the club colours and the transfer of winning mentality needed to see them over the finish line.
Aguero had put City ahead in the first half, making the most of an error by Arsenal defender, Shkodran Mustafi to lob the keeper. He has really turned up the magic in 2018, scoring goals for fun and making a mockery of critics who said his time at club was coming to an end. It was his 30th goal of a brilliant campaign and 199th overall for the Etihad Stadium outfit.
Silva, who many regard as the greatest in City’s has looked reborn this campaign, offering leadership on the pitch most times that Kompany has been put. He scored the 3rd of the night, a lovely strike ingot the far corner. Though the likes of Kevin De Bruyne has taken over chief creative control at the club, the mercurial left footed genius is still turning heads even in his 30s.
The passion on the face of Kompany was almost emotional. A player man thought was nearing an early retirement rolled back the years with an accomplished performance at the back, matching Aubameyang for pace and taking the ball off him cleanly. This victory is a vindication of the hard work the City players and staff have put in this term, but Pep more than anyone else knows it should be the beginning of greater things to come. The Old Guard delivered when it mattered most. City are in good hands as the past and future merged to deliver a masterclass.