Match Report

Dominant City book Carabao Cup semi-final ticket

PHENOMENAL PHIL: Our midfielder celebrates with his teammates
EFL Cup
EFL Cup
Tue 22 Dec
1
4
Alexandre Lacazette 
(31’)
Gabriel Jesus 
(3’), 
Riyad Mahrez 
(54’), 
Phil Foden 
(59’), 
Aymeric Laporte 
(73’)
View highlights
Holders City produced another Carabao Cup masterclass as we secured a comprehensive last eight victory over Arsenal in North London to march into the semi-finals.

Second half strikes from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte made it a night to remember after Gabriel Jesus’s third minute opener had been cancelled out before the break.

The victory further extended manager Pep Guardiola’s incredible record in the League Cup and was no less than we deserved after what was another impressive all-round display.

What happened

City went into the game looking to maintain our magnificent record in the Carabao Cup, with Guardiola’s squad having won the trophy for the past three seasons.

And within three minutes City had laid down another impressive marker as we took the lead in clinical fashion.

Phil Foden’s vision found Oleksandr Zinchenko in space on the left wing and the Ukrainian’s pin-point inviting cross was smartly headed home from close range by Gabriel Jesus, marking his return to action in predatory style as he broke his eight-match scoring duck.


                        GET IN: Gabriel Jesus heads City into the lead
GET IN: Gabriel Jesus heads City into the lead

It was the perfect start and with Arsenal’s spirits sagging and City dominating possession and territory, the holders sought to further capitalise with a Fernandinho 25-yard drive whistling inches wide.

There was a graceful fluidity and sharp focus to our early work with City’s movement and flexibility causing Mikel Arteta’s side all sorts of headaches in a dominant opening.

And Aymeric Laporte marked his return to the starting line up by almost doubling our lead with a towering 22nd minute header that was an ace wide of the left-hand post.

Jesus was the focal point of so much of our good work with the Brazilian’s trickery too much for both Elneny and Mustafi who followed each other into the book for fouls on the striker in rapid fashion.

Yet, totally against the run of play, Arsenal struck with their first attack on the half hour to get back on level terms.

Teenage Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli was the architect, crafting a teasing left wing cross after Zack Steffen’s initial punch clear had been reworked wide and Alexander Lacazette stooped to beat the City defence and head into the top corner.


                        CELEBRATION TIME: For Jesus after his header
CELEBRATION TIME: For Jesus after his header

The goal galvanised Arsenal yet City almost retook the lead through Jesus five minutes from half-time only for Gunners keeper Runar Runarsson to produce a stunning close range save to deny the Brazilian after an inadvertent touch from the hosts put Jesus in one on one 12 yards out.

It then needed a smart piece of work from Steffen to prevent Arsenal striking again.

The Brazilian beat the offside trap and as he sprinted clear to try and latch onto Gabriel’s pass, Steffen raced out of the box and just cleared the ball in the nick of time.

City though would not be denied and nine minutes into the second half our persistence was rewarded as we retook the lead through Riyad Mahrez’s free kick.

Having been brought down on the edge of the Arsenal box after some exquisite dribbling, the Algerian drilled the set piece beyond the wall and the effort squirmed through Runarsson’s grasp and into the net.

And the road to Wembley came even closer into view on 59 minutes as Phil Foden conjured up a sublime third goal.

The midfielder ran onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Fernandinho and dinked the ball beyond the advancing Runarsson and into the net.


                        SECONDS OUT: Riyad Mahrez restores our lead
SECONDS OUT: Riyad Mahrez restores our lead

City's dominance was further confirmed when Laporte then got in on the scoring act, heading home from Foden's superb assist on 73 minutes to compound Arsenal's misery.

It was the perfect way to build on last weekend's impressive league win at Southampton and bodes well as we now head into a demanding Christmas schedule.

Man of the match

A sumptuous goal and delicious made it a more than decent night's work for Phil Foden as he provided another reminder of his sublime talents.

The 20-yard-old England star was a pivotal figure in the decisive second half marrying vision and skill with prodigious hard work.

Statzone

Another goal for Foden made it four strikes and four assists in his last 12 Carabao Cup appearances and was just reward for another excellent all-round display by the 20-year-old.

Gabriel Jesus meanwhile netted his seventh League Cup goal for the Club since making is debut in 2017. In that time only Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored more goals in the competition.


                        THREE CHEERS: Phil Foden finds the target to further extend our advantage
THREE CHEERS: Phil Foden finds the target to further extend our advantage

Pep Guardiola's verdict

"You have to be professional, you have to run a lot. The second goal was the goalkeeper situation, the third was maybe offside.

"These situations changed the game. I think we started well. After that they changed the set-up and we had more problems finding our spaces.

"They didn’t create much but we weren't fluid. We changed it half time and put one more player in the position we needed and we were much better.

"We are in the semi-finals and that is important for us."

What it means

The victory means we join Championship outfit Brentford, who beat Newcastle tonight, in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final draw.

The draw will take place tomorrow night immediately after the Everton v Manchester United tie with Stoke facing Spurs in Wednesday’s other last eight match-up. We will have full news as it happens here on mancity.com and on Twitter @ManCity

What’s next

City return to Premier League action when we play host to Newcastle United on Boxing Day.

Kick-off at the Etihad Stadium is 8pm.

Teams

ARSENAL: Runarsson, Mustafi, Gabriel, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles, Elneny (Smith-Rowe 65), Ceballos, Cedric, Willock, Lacazette, Martinelli (Pepe 48)
Subs: Leno, Tierney, Mari, Balogun, Nketiah

CITY: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho©, Rodrigo (Walker 78), Bernardo (Torres 68), Foden, Jesus (Aguero 75), Mahrez
Subs: Ederson, Stones, Sterling, Gundogan

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