Arsenal’s heavy 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final was perhaps the perfect example of the gulf in quality between the sides at present.
While both teams had experienced losses to smaller clubs of late, with City losing to Wigan in the FA Cup and Arsenal being bettered by Swedish minnows Ostersund in the second leg of their Europa League clash, which they won eventually on aggregate, Pep Guardiola’s men were undoubtedly the favourites.
And the Citizens performed exactly to script too, with goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva securing them the first of what could still be a sizeable haul of silverware this term.
With City taking a 3-0 lead into the final 20 minutes, everyone and their dog knew the clash was over, however, surprisingly, the referee might as well have proclaimed this too, with Arsene Wenger explaining after the game that when he quizzed Craig Pawson on why he did not add more injury time he replied: ‘why do you want more time?’ – a clear signal that the official saw no way back for the Gunners.
It mattered little in the end, but it does perhaps give an insight into the psychology of those tasked with blocking out any irrelevant distractions.
Both sides face each other again as early as next Thursday night with City looking to strengthen their stranglehold at the top of the table yet further while the Gunners aim for