Start of trophy-laden era

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, named Man of the Match, celebrating the League Cup win on Sunday with his team-mates.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, named Man of the Match, celebrating the League Cup win on Sunday with his team-mates.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Striker Sergio Aguero gave City the lead in the 18th minute - his 15th goal in 13 appearances - the best ratio among players in the top five European leagues.
Striker Sergio Aguero gave City the lead in the 18th minute - his 15th goal in 13 appearances - the best ratio among players in the top five European leagues.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Another City stalwart David Silva added the icing on the cake with City's third goal in the 65th minute.
Another City stalwart David Silva added the icing on the cake with City's third goal in the 65th minute.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

City manager Guardiola and star man de Bruyne believe League Cup win will breed more success

LONDON • Pep Guardiola believes lifting the English League Cup heralds the start of an era of Manchester City winning many trophies.

The head coach added that City can take a big stride towards winning the Premier League when the runaway leaders play Arsenal again at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

The Spaniard then hopes to follow that crown by winning the Champions League, where his side are as good as in the quarter-finals after a 4-0 win in the first leg of their last-16 tie against Basel.

"Winning titles helps to win more, that's true," Guardiola said after City's 3-0 drubbing of the Gunners at Wembley on Sunday.

"It's going to help us to win the next games in the Premier League and win the Premier League."

His optimism was shared by City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, who reckons Guardiola's English trophy collection could go on to match the 11 major trophies he won with Barcelona and seven at Bayern Munich.

"The potential for this club is amazing, and the way we play is probably one of the best in the world," said the Belgian.

  • 3-0

  • Manchester City's win over Arsenal is their biggest Cup final victory and the Gunners' biggest loss in a Cup decider.

  • 10/11

  • Pep Guardiola has won 10 of his last 11 Cup finals as a manager, the last six without conceding a goal.

  • £371m

  • Guardiola's net transfer outlay in 21 months at City , more than Wenger's net spend (£349m) in 21 years at Arsenal.

While City are embarking upon a new, highly promising and trophy-laden era, it was fitting that three members of the old guard were key to their success on Sunday.

Scorers Sergio Aguero, 29, Vincent Kompany, 31, and David Silva, 32, will have 25 years' worth of service for City between them by this summer, but they proved they are still vital to the club.

Captain Kompany, in particular, was the outstanding performer.

Despite missing 130 games through injury in his City career, he barely gave Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a sniff and was named Man of the Match.

"Sergio, Vincent and David got the goals and they helped us to understand what it means for this club," said Guardiola. "They put pressure on us to win more titles, whoever comes here will have to know they have to win titles."

Aguero's 18th-minute opener was his 15th goal in 13 appearances this year - the best goals-per-game ratio among players in the top five European leagues.

The Argentinian striker was allowed to scamper on and score a route-one opening goal from Claudio Bravo's goal kick. It was a hideous lapse in concentration and application from Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi, by no means the first of a type that frequently costs Arsene Wenger.

Wenger's blind spot for defenders and defensive organisation has been a crucial factor in his team's multiple failures.

But the Gunners - 10 points adrift of fourth spot in the Premier League table - were also criticised for their lack of desire on Sunday.

"Everybody's recognised it's about leadership and characters, and Arsenal don't have them," Arsenal legend Ian Wright told BBC 5 live.

"It was disappointing the way Arsenal played. There was a lack of fight, lack of determination. It's a final and players were walking."

Wenger, under growing pressure, remained defiant.

"When you lose a game like that, everything is questioned," said the Frenchman.

"But we played against a good side, you cannot say that we played against an average side.

"They dominate the Premier League and they have good players."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'START OF TROPHY-LADEN ERA'. Print Edition | Subscribe