Pep and Kompany lead Manchester City to an emphatic victory to clinch their first title of a scintillating season.
Beleaguered Arsene Wenger could only watch helplessly as the Manchester City machine rolled over his trophy hopes. And possibly his career.
Goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva fired City to the first trophy of the new Pep Guardiola era in a heavily one-sided Carabao Cup Final.
Aguero pounced on some hash defending from Shkodran Mustafi to fire City into an 18th minute lead, beating Ospina with an easy lob. A move that started with a simple ball through from Claudio Bravo. Not the prettiest of the incredible tally of City goals, but enough to set the pace.
Arsenal then produced their best period following, fighting bravely to keep the lead to a singular goal. Pierre Aubameyang wasted probably their best chance early on, in a half that saw them on the back-foot for the most part.
Gundogan found good Kompany
City though, ignited by captain Vincent Kompany, all but sealed City’s win when he diverted in Ilkay Gundogan’ shot in the 58th minute to make it 2-0.
Whatever Guardiola said in his half time Pep talk, City came out to produce the form that has all but mathematically gifted them the Premier League title. Ending Arsenal’s hopes of a domestic trophy after being dumped out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest.
But City weren’t finished. Kompany charged on, grabbing a third seven minutes later when Silva spun onto Danilo’s pass and smashing the ball past David Ospina.
Two’s Kompany, 3’s allowed
That third goal not only ruined his day but could spell the beginning of the end for one of the Premiership’s longest serving managers. A sad end, to what has been one of the most successful reigns in modern day football.
It didn’t even take a top performance from Guardiola’s men to embarrass and outplay the Gunners. With the exception of Vincent Kompany, who had a phenomenal game earning him the Man of the Match. It was just another day at the office the rest.
Pep Guardiola has raised the bar with his City side. A bar set ironically by Wenger himself, whom, following the retirement of Alex Ferguson, became the biggest name in English football.
How painful it must have been to watch a side so startlingly similar to his most glorious, come out and destroy the one he desperately tried to eminate.
Unable in the last few seasons to built a ‘team’ that looks determined to win.
Far from ‘Invincible’
A far cry from the days of the invincible side that he led. The envy of all others. Unbeaten in an entire season, even the machine that crushed his failing side are yet to match their glory. It was probably the most one-sided Cup final Wembley has ever seen.
At times Wenger’s players looked almost nonchalant, watching the game at walking pace. The second half saw them simply give up. Wenger, usually on the touchline, animated and vocal, slumped into his seat defeated. A sad sight to see, when he was once the true king of the mighty North London Club.
This was missed by none. Pundits tore his team to pieces, branded a ‘Disgrace’ and ‘Brainless’ by Gary Neville. Even Thierry Henry, Wenger’s biggest supporter, couldn’t excuse the lacklustre effort put in by his former team. The word team unsuitable, as there were eleven Arsenal players on the field – not a team.
Arsenal Fan TV and the whole demeaning ‘Wenger Out’ social media debacle must take some responsibility for the demoralisation of the manager and his players. The huge disrespect shown for the man who made them has undoubtedly affected the results, and will probably see his glittering career spoiled.
Last hope Europa?
Only a Europa League win could give the iconic manager one more season. More likely though, knowing he is nearing the end, one more title could spark his retirement. With pride and glory intact, thus remembered for his achievements, rather than failure. Even the most die hard Tottenham fans would agree that it would be a shame to see the latter.
A top four finish is looking more unlikely. Arsenal are now eight points adrift of Chelsea, to the ‘Wenger Out’ campaigners, being ten points behind arch rivals Spurs is unacceptable.
Fans and club will unlikely tolerate a second year out of the Champions League. With the two domestic cups are now out of reach, the path has narrowed still.
Even the most avid of ‘Wenger-Ins’ are now finding it difficult to argue that it isn’t their leader that’s lost his way, but the club as a whole. A sad end for the man who took Arsenal to their dizziest heights, and a tough act follow for any successor.
All things good things come to an end, and Wenger has undoubtedly been instrumental in the meteoric rise of the North London Club. Making them the envy of the Premier League and beyond for the last two decades. His unbeaten ‘Invincilbles’ will be remembered until the deed is matched.
It seems the ‘Wenger Era’ is drawing to a close. Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have raised the bar for the Premier League. Vincent Kompany could indeed be the first Premiership captain to win the elusive treble.