Pep Guardiola secured his first trophy as Manchester City manager as they overpowered Arsenal to win the Carabao Cup in convincing fashion at Wembley.
City responded to Monday’s shock FA Cup fifth-round defeat by League One Wigan Athletic in style as they swept aside Arsenal and now turn their attention to clinching the Premier League and continuing their Champions League campaign.
Sergio Aguero gave City an 18th-minute lead when he took full advantage of Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi’s feeble challenge to latch on to keeper Claudio Bravo’s goal-kick and loft a cool finish over David Ospina.
Arsenal were toothless apart from one early opening when Kyle Walker stopped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the six-yard area and the contest was effectively over when man-of-the-match Vincent Kompany swept in Ilkay Gundogan’s cross-shot just before the hour.
David Silva put the final flourish on City and Guardiola’s day with a powerful shot past Ospina before City closed out the most routine of victories.
There was one contentious note which may draw further attention from the Football Association as Guardiola wore his trademark yellow ribbon, which he displays in support of imprisoned politicians in his native Catalonia, despite facing a charge from English football’s governing body for “wearing a political message”.
City manager Guardiola demonstrated his faith in the ability and influence of captain Kompany on his side when he was selected ahead of £47.5m John Stones at Wembley.
The 31-year-old Belgian centre-back was the mainstay and leader of the Manchester City side who claimed Premier League titles under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini in 2012 and 2014 – but has waged a relentless battle against injuries in recent seasons.
In 2015-16, Kompany figured in only 22 of City’s 59 games while in the following campaign he was involved in just 15 out of 56 – that is just 26.8%.
This term he has played in 13 out of 43 games but chose the Wembley stage to demonstrate exactly what he can still mean to Guardiola and City.
GUARDIOLA TO CONTINUE TO WEAR YELLOW RIBBON: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will “always” wear a yellow ribbon in support of imprisoned politicians in Catalonia – despite being charged by the Football Association for doing so.
The former Barcelona coach was given two formal warnings about the issue in December but has not been dissuaded.
He has until 18:00 GMT on 5 March to respond to a charge of breaching kit and advertising regulations.
“Before a manager, I am a human being,” the 47-year-old Spaniard said.
“They [the FA] know I’ll wear the yellow ribbon always. It’s not about politicians, it’s about democracy; it’s about helping the people who didn’t do absolutely anything.”
The charge was triggered when Guardiola again wore the ribbon on his jacket pitchside – he is free to wear it elsewhere – during City’s shock FA Cup defeat by Wigan.
He wore it again on his jumper – under his coat – during his side’s Carabao Cup final win over Arsenal on Sunday.
“I can wear it somewhere else, not just on my chest. They know I’ll wear it,” he said.
“If I broke the rules, I accept the fine. There are four guys in prison. There are other guys, who are outside of Catalonia; when they come back, they are going to be jailed, imprisoned for rebellion and sedition.