The independent London newspaper

Limp Arsenal outclassed by Man City at Wembley

Jack Wilshere is only Arsenal player to show fight as fans leave early

25 February, 2018 — By Tom Foot at Wembley


MAN CITY 3 (Aguero 20, Kompany 58, Silva 65)

TRAGIC Arsene Wenger blamed “self-inflicted punishment” for his side’s limp surrender in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley.

The Arsenal manager congratulated victors Manchester City in the press conference before criticising the referee and taking a pop at journalists for misrepresenting him in the past. His forlorn and tired comments followed a woeful and predictable performance strewn with defensive errors, poor passing and a golden chance to score frustratingly missed.

Wenger said: “Well done to City, they won the trophy and go home happy. We go home upset. But we self inflicted our punishment. We had an unbelievable chance at 0-0. And then gave them a goal. The goals we conceded could not be blamed on the system.”

Sergio Aguero lobbed David Ospina on 18 mins after a route one long ball down the middle. Shkodran Mustafi took a slight shove in the back from the striker but the Gunners’ central defender should have been much stronger and not stopped before a whistle was blown.

Wenger said: “From outside, the push was not obvious. He felt there was one. The individual criticism doesn’t matter too much here.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have put the Gunners in front on 8 minutes when he looked certain to tap in. But a desperate tackle from Kyle Walker and the outstretched leg of Claudio Bravo saved the sky blues. Arsenal’s new striker looked lively but also a little lightweight – twice he was bounced off the ball when running at goal.

City started the second half vey strongly and it was not surprising when Vincent Kompany poked in on 58 minutes, after a simple corner routine. David Silva spun Calum Chambers and brilliantly lashed into the bottom corner to end the contest on 65 mins.Thousands of fans left the stadium at this point – and few could blame them as City confidently played out the final third.

It was an embarrassingly meek display, and very similar to the lifeless performance against Tottenham a fortnight ago.Unlike recent seasons, Arsenal are not only defending comically but they are failing to fashion meaningful chances.

Aubameyang’s early chance was the only real sniff of goal.And Arsenal played so predictably: Granit Xhaka’s appalling distribution, Mesut Ozil anonymous and a defence always looking likely to gift-wrap a goal.

The gutsy Jack Wilshere once again was the only player worth his socks.Worst of all the style of play looks tired, and many fans will be feeling that now only fresh eyes can put it right.

Wenger said: “We have to win next game.  We will take the Europa League seriously. When you lose a game like this everything is questioned.”

ARSENAL: Ospina, Koscielny, Monreal (Kolasinac 26), Mustafi, Chambers (Welbeck 63) Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey (Iwobi 74), Ozil, Aubameyang.
Subs not used: Cech, Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Elneny

MAN CITY: Bravo, Walker, Danilo, Kompany, Gundogan, Aguero (Foden 88), De Bruyne, Sane (Jesus 73), Silva, Ferdandinho (B Silva).

Attendance: 85,671 (Wembley)

Share this story

Post a comment