Category Archives: League Cup

Manchester City strikes thrice for League Cup final victory

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Manchester City won their first trophy under Pep Guardiola after a dominating win against Arsenal to win the League Cup final by 3-0.

City, who saw a shock FA Cup fifth-round defeat by League One Wigan Athletic recovered in style as they swept the Gunners aside at Wembley.

The Manchester club led after 18 minutes when Sergio Aguero 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.

Despite lagging behind, Arsenal hardly registered any chances of moment in the game except the moment when Kyle Walker stopped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the six-yard area.

However, the contest was effectively over when man-of-the-match Vincent Kompany swept in Ilkay Gundogan’s cross-shot just before the hour, while David Silva’s powerful shot past Ospina before City closed out the most routine of victories.

However, Pep Guardiola remained critical of what he saw as flaws his team had made in the first-half, although he praised the manner in which City bounced back from their disappointing FA Cup campaign while insisting that the trophy was for City.

“The first half was not good — too many mistakes with simple passes,” he said after the game. “But the second half we played with more courage, more personality. That is why we were outstanding after the break.”

“It was so important we won this after going out of the FA Cup. Now we have to focus absolutely on the Premier League and trying to win the games we need to win the title and try and progress to the Champions League quarter-final.”

“This win is not for me, it’s for Manchester City.”

With their first trophy under Guardiola secured, the Blues could now turn their attention to clinching the Premier League and continuing their Champions League campaign.

Alexis Sanchez set to start for Arsenal despite Manchester City offer

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Alexis Sanchez is set to be included in the starting eleven for Arsenal in Wednesday night’s League Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea despite Manchester City’s £20m offer to sign him.

The Gunners was dealt another blow in Mesut Ozil to an unspecified injury as the midfielder joins Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud on the injury casualty list ahead of the League Cup game at Stamford Bridge.

With the Gunners particularly stretched in defence, coach Arsene Wenger could include the new signing Konstantinos Mavropanos among his substitutes. Although the 20-year-old centre-half just arrived last week from PAS Giannina in Greece and Wenger’s plan was to loan him out.

“He’s not ready to play for us,” the manager said last Wednesday. “We’ll give him out on loan.”

While David Ospina will start against Chelsea — in place of the first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech — Wenger will otherwise pick his strongest available team, including Sanchez.

City have wanted Sanchez and could sign him on a free by the end of the season, but the two-month injury blow to Gabriel Jesus blow could force City manager to get the deal completed earlier.

With City having opened talks with Arsenal and have indicated a willingness to pay £20m, Sanchez, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, is now permitted to discuss terms with overseas clubs.

The Manchester club are the frontrunners for his signature despite interest expressed by other top European clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich. A contract worth £13m a season until 2023 – or £250,000 a week – is understood to have been offered to Sanchez’s representatives.

Jose Mourinho may recall Henrikh Mkhitaryan in League Cup tie

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Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho he will consider recalling Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the team playing in the Carabao Cup quarter-final at Bristol City on Wednesday.

While the Armenian is yet to make an appearance this month and has played only once since United’s defeat at Chelsea on 5 November, Mourinho intends to rotate his squad as much as he can before the festive glut of fixtures.

“Henrikh has a chance — I intend to make a few changes for the match but not too many,” Mourinho said.

“Bristol City are one of the best teams in the Championship, and the Championship today is not what it was five or six years ago. Today the Championship is full of high-quality players, and you have to treat all its teams with respect.”

Aside from including Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera could step down for the Bristol City game to make way for Paul Pogba, back after suspension. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, an unused substitute at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, could also feature in Mourinho’s cup side.

Since the defeat at Chelsea United have only lost one Premier League game and are second in the Premier League. The other game was Manchester derby against League leaders City, which, as the game against Bristol at least gives Mourinho a break from being asked about whether he has given up hope of catching Pep Guardiola’s team in the league.

“There is nothing I can do about that situation except keep going,” he added. “That is what we intend to do.”

“People are saying the title race is over but I don’t think this is the time to go on holiday. We don’t want to go on holiday. We want to carry on winning as many of our matches as possible.”

Bravo the hero as Manchester City enters League Cup semi-final

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Manchester City has reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup following a penalty shootout victory over Leicester City.

City’s keeper Claudio Bravo, who saved two penalties in the previous round against Wolves, was the hero for City once more as he kept out Riyad Mahrez’s effort.

The home side had taken the game into extra-time and then penalties after scoring after Jamie Vardy slotted home a penalty, awarded when Demarai Gray was harshly adjudged to have been brought down by Kyle Walker.

“What I liked the most is how we reacted and overcame that situation,” City coach Pep Guardiola said. “It is a good indication for the future.”

However, while Guardiola is happy to secure a place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and extend their unbeaten domestic run to 27 matches, he ruled out any possibility that his squad could pull off an quadruple.

“That is not going to happen. Of course not,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said. “Come on, that isn’t real. What we’re living isn’t real. The situation of winning 16 or 17 games in a row in the league and qualifying for the Champions League before we finished the group stage and now we’re here playing with a lot of young players, that is not normal.”

“In football you drop points and you lose competitions. I am not thinking about how many titles, I am thinking about the next game.”

Both teams were fielding second-string sides at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, although City winger Bernardo Silva scored the opener in the first half by slotting home his second goal of the season following Ilkay Gundogan’s powerful run from the halfway line.

Earlier, Arsenal had also made it through to the League Cup last four by beating West Ham, while Chelsea host Bournemouth and Manchester United travel to Bristol City on Wednesday.

The draw for the semi-finals is scheduled to take place after the latter game, with the two-legged home and away semi-final ties set to be played in January.