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Coming straight after the Carabao Cup final success against Arsenal, this could so easily have been a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ – but it was anything but.
The Blues were at their scintillating best and simply blew Arsenal away in a blistering 18-minute spell when the Gunners were torn to shreds.
The Emirates Stadium was a mixture of bemusement and admiration – the Arsenal fans appreciate beautiful football, even if it is occasionally to their cost – and this was almost as good as it got.
It could and should have been more, but nobody was complaining.
The first trophy of Pep Guardiola’s reign… and what a memorable day it was.
City produced a dazzling display at Wembley to sweep the Gunners aside and secure a third League Cup triumph in five years, as Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva found the net to clinch the first available silverware of the season.
It was fitting that three members of the ‘old guard’ would write their names onto the scoresheet, and especially pleasing that beloved skipper Kompany would engineer a Man of the Match display before delightedly lifting another trophy adorned with blue and white.
Aside from an early scare, in which Claudio Bravo produced a fine double-stop, the Blues were rarely threatened and outshone Arsenal all over the pitch, displaying the ruthlessness of Champions to cruise to victory.
There’s nothing better than a win over local rivals, the and the gulf in class on the day was huge.
City were far superior. We moved the ball quicker and more effectively, fought harder to regain possession and showed far more invention in the final third. United were never in the contest.
The stats offer an insight into the disparity between the side. City had 65 per cent possession and managed 17 shots to their six. For large periods, it was total football and United were chasing shadows.
Our goals, too, were outstanding, particularly Ilkay Gundogan’s close-range finish that brought an end to a brilliant 44-pass move. Total Football.
Remember when City knocked seven past Stoke last season, and we wondered whether it would ever happen again? Well, fast-forward exactly one year to the day and you have your answer.
After Pep Guardiola’s team's 7-2 victory at the Etihad in October 2017, it was Nick Cushing’s side’s turn in 2018.
Three goals inside the first 20 minutes set the tone for an emphatic 7-1 victory for City over visiting West Ham, with Caroline Weir’s brilliant volley the pick of the goals.
There was an array of players on the scoresheet, including the WSL’s all-time top scorer, Nikita Parris with two, a Georgia Stanway brace and a goal each for skipper Steph Houghton and Tessa Wullaert.
It was one of those games where you wondered if the goals would ever stop, but it gave the Blues a new-found confidence and was thrilling to watch.
Our opening day Premier League 2 assignment at home to reigning champions Arsenal always promised to be an occasion to savour.
But those who were lucky enough to be present at the Academy Stadium on a glorious late summer’s afternoon are unlikely to quickly forget what turned into a remarkable 11-goal thriller that see-sawed one way then another over the course of 90 pulsating minutes.
It was match that had absolutely everything – including a brief break after a linesman was stretchered off and taken to hospital after suddenly falling ill.
In what was new manager Paul Harsley’s first game in charge, City fought back from going 3-1 down in the first half to secure what was a stunning victory with striker Nabil Touaizi emerging as the Blues’ hero as he claimed a superb hat-trick, rounding off a remarkable encounter by despatching an 83rd minute winner.
Adrian Bernabe, Taylor Richards and Rabbi Matondo also found the target for City in a game that grabbed the attention of everyone from first whistle to last with Arsenal also contriving to miss a second half penalty.
What a way to start the season!
All the latest news, views and transfer rumours from across this morning's back pages.
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