Manchester City progressed to yet another Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday by thumping Arsenal 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Jesus gave the holders the lead early on, nodding in from close range, before Alexandre Lacazette replied with his own brilliant headed goal just after the half-hour mark. However, a mistake from Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson gifted Riyad Mahrez a goal from a free-kick after the break, before Phil Foden polished off a wonderful team move to extend the lead even further.
Pep Guardiola’s men were not quite finished there as Aymeric Laporte scored his first goal of the season to see Pep Guardiola overcome former apprentice Mikel Arteta.
Here are three things we learnt from the Emirates Stadium:
Man City’s Carabao Cup assault goes on
In simple terms, there has been no better side in the Carabao Cup over the last couple of seasons than Manchester City. Since the 2013/14 campaign, they have lifted five out of the last seven league cups including the last three. Having reached the semi-finals once again, Pep Guardiola’s men have a wonderful opportunity of becoming just the second team in the competition’s history after Liverpool in the 80’s to win the League Cup in four consecutive campaigns. Another successful campaign would also ensure that they join the Reds as the joint most successful side in League Cup history.
Their dominance in the Carabao Cup has only grown under Guardiola, with their win against Arsenal being their 18th consecutive success. They are now then the understandable favourites to claim the trophy once more at a price of 5/6 with the Betfair Exchange.
Citizens regain scoring boots
Despite their progression to another semi-final, one of the main criticisms of Manchester City this season has been their relatively timid nature in front of goal. Somewhat uncharacteristically, they have only managed to score more than two goals in three domestic matches and only once since late September – that being the 5-0 hammering of struggling Burnley at the end of November.
The Citizens relieved their frustrations at the Emirates though, plundering four, and might well have possibly scored more but for some excellent saves from Runarsson. Guardiola’s men looked like they were back to their exhilarating best, threatening to find the net every time they went forwards.
If they can keep that fantastic attacking play up then there are no reasons that they won’t be able to get a stuttering season in the Premier League back on track.
Much like City, Arsenal’s struggles this season have been hugely down to their inability to find the back of the net. Even more worryingly, it has been their lack of creativity and threat to any degree that has cost them in the Premier League.
With the returning Gabriel Martinelli being reintroduced to the starting line-up, the Gunners looked a lot better. The Brazilian’s workrate and vision allowed the Gunners’ frontline to be increasingly energetic and dangerous. In fact, it was his excellent cross that led to the Gunners’ equaliser through Lacazette.
It’s a shame that Martinelli’s evening was ended through injury because his team looked a lot better with him included. It also remains to be seen if his problem is a long-term one as he could certainly be an answer to Mikel Arteta’s men getting away from their current strife.
Arsenal: Runarsson (5); Kolasinac (5), Mustafi (5), Gabriel (6), Soares (6); Elneny (6) (Smith-Rowe (6), 66′), Maitland-Niles (5), Ceballos (5); Willock (5), Martinelli (7) (Pepe (5), 49′), Lacazette (7) (Balogun (N/A), 77′).
Manchester City: Steffen (7); Zinchenko (6), Laporte (8), Dias (7), Cancelo (7); Mahrez (7), Fernandinho (7), Rodri (7) (Walker (N/A), 77′), Silva (7) (Torres (6), 70′); Foden (7), Jesus (7) (Aguero (6), 74′).
Goals: Jesus (3′), Lacazette (31′), Mahrez (54′), Foden (59′), Laporte (73′)
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Yellow Cards: Elneny (23′), Mustafi (25′), Silva (65′)
Red Cards: N/A