Arsenal Vs Manchester City: Highlights and analysis – Humiliation

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his sides first goal during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City scores his sides first goal during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

Arsenal faced Manchester City in Carabao Cup final on Sunday afternoon. Here is the full recap, all the highlights and analysis of the 3-0 defeat.

Humiliation. Embarrassment. Disastrous. Chagrin. Whatever word you want to use to describe Arsenal’s performance in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final loss to Manchester City, it would not be a positive one. Arsene Wenger’s side were thoroughly outplayed. There is no other way to put it.

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The first half started in exactly the fashion that was anticipated: City dominated possession, especially in the midfield areas, pressed Arsenal high up the pitch, trying to choke their London opponents, and prevent them from countering. Leroy Sane threatened down the City left flank, while Sergio Aguero flashed a near-post that caught the side netting, and it looked as though Arsenal could be struggling to hold onto City’s coattails.

However, after a rough few opening moments, including a couple of loose Granit Xhaka passes and an errant first touch in which he took far too long on the ball in a deep, central position once again, Arsenal settled into the game a little. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey enjoyed some nice combination play in the midfield, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly scored by converting Mesut Ozil’s low cross into the six-yard box, only to be denied by a sliding Kyle Walker and bundling Claudio Bravo.

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Things were looking good. But then, as is seemingly ever the case with this turbulently soft-centred team, they quickly capitulated, and in spectacular style. Mesut Ozil floated a freekick into the penalty area from a deep position. He was aiming for the back post, but it sailed past Shkodran Mustafi and over the goal line. Mustafi then trotted back to his centre-half position. Apart from he didn’t. He stood in front of Sergio Aguero, so when Claudio Bravo’s long goal kick was cleared towards the pair, a little nudge from the Argentine is all it took to release himself clear of the defence. The bouncing ball fell nicely; David Ospina’s positional uncertainty and indecisiveness made it nicer. Aguero simply poked his shot up and over the Colombian, seeing it nestle beautifully in the gaping goal. Schoolboy doesn’t even cover it.

For the remainder of the half, both teams went tit for tat. Neither possessed the true quality needed in the final third to open up the opposition, with City especially wasting several opportunities to play a precise final pass to take advantage, and clear-cut chances were difficult to carve out. Aubameyang did again threaten in behind, only to see Vincent Kompany shut the door with a well-timed and powerful shoulder barge.

Arsenal did not create many great chances. Their service into Aubameyang was poor and from too deep, and only Jack Wilshere looked willing to receive the ball under pressure, turn, and then play forward. Neither, though, were City. That only makes the fashion in which the goal was conceded even more laughable. A good second half was needed. It was not supplied.

City came out in a much higher gear from the off. Arsenal looked lost. Kevin de Bruyne started to purr in midfield, Leroy Sane slalomed his way through tackles, and Sergio Aguero sniped around the penalty area, sniffing for opportunities. In the end, the second goal came from an anticipatory, striker’s finish. But it was not Aguero.

It came from a corner, which was appallingly defended, surprisingly. Vincent Kompany scored the goal. He also won the corner. The ball squirmed loose in the right channel. Kompany beat Shkodran Mustafi to it, bullied him to the ground, rolled him and earned the corner. From the resultant set-piece, Ilkay Gundogan stood on the edge of the penalty area, utterly unattended. He was picked out with a low, cut back, smashed a first-time shot towards the goal, for Kompany to purge his way to the ball and direct it past David Ospina. Game over.

Well, it certainly was not long after. Arsenal started walking at this point, slouching into their crestfallen frames. City, meanwhile, purred. Quick passing in and out of the midfield zones, the ball was worked through the Arsenal ranks, slid a neat pass into David Silva who turned Calum Chambers with a wonderful first touch and lashed a vicious low shot across the face of David Ospina and into the far corner.

That ended the game. The intensity seeped away: Arsenal knew they’d lost; City knew they’d won. There was nothing left to play for. The only thing to do was to listen to Gary Neville decimate Wenger’s side, the club, the culture, the individual performances, Wenger himself.

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This was shambolic, and it wasn’t all that surprising.