Wembley Stadium - AET City win 4-3 on penalties
League Cup Final
25/03/2019 4:30 pm
Attendance: 81, 775
Referee: Jonathan Moss of West Yorkshire
|1 Kepa Arrizabalaga||31 Ederson|
|28 Azpilicueta||2 Kyle Walker|
|2 Antonio Rüdiger||30 Nicolas Otamendi|
|30 David Luiz||14 Aymeric Laporte||Kompany 45'|
|33 Emerson||35 Oleks Zinchenko|
|7 N'Golo Kanté||17 Kevin De Bruyne||Sané 86'|
|5 Jorginho||25 Fernandinho||Danilo 90'|
|8 Ross Barkley||Loftus-Cheek 89'||21 David Silva||Gündogan 79'|
|11 Pedro||Hudson-Odoi 79'||20 Bernardo Silva|
|10 Eden Hazard||10 Sergio Agüero|
|22 Willian||Higuaín 95'||7 Raheem Sterling|
|9 Gonzalo Higuaín||3 Danilo|
|12 Ruben Loftus-Cheek||4 Vincent Kompany|
|13 Wilfredo Caballero||8 Ilkay Gündogan|
|17 Mateo Kovacic||19 Leroy Sané|
|18 Olivier Giroud||26 Riyad Mahrez|
|20 Callum Hudson-Odoi||47 Philip Foden|
|27 Andreas Christensen||49 Aro Muric|
Johnny On The Spot: #ATTRITIONAL. History making Manchester City have retained the League Cup, overcoming a desperately disappointing Chelsea at Wembley.
Chelsea were set up from the first whistle in an extraordinarily defensive mode for a cup final considering the talents at nut job Maurizio Sarri’s disposal. They had clearly arrived at Wembley looking to realise a smash ‘n’ grab. The first half fizzled out in a game of cagey cat and mouse, full of stray passes, City dominant with all the intent and Chelsea the non-ambition.
The pattern continued into the second period of normal time, City’s efficiency in the final third continually missing as the Londoners continued to stifle the play. Around the hour mark, suddenly, Eden Hazard, a bystander previously, began to come alive into his trademark unplayable mode. City’s defence, shorn of the injured Aymeric Laporte shipped warning shots but continued to defend high up the pitch. Chelsea were beginning to sense that the robbery was on and despite a tight VAR offside decision ruling out an Aguero goal, they began to pour forward behind their talisman. Sarri sending on attacking players off the back of their resurgence. For our part, the cup holders persisted with their ever present threat but City’s counter attacks were either scythed down hopelessly unpunished by the huffing and puffing Jonathan Moss or came to nothing.
As the final edged into its closing stages, we found ourselves entrenched in a next goal wins it scenario with Chelsea looking the more likely. It was a frantic, disjointed, untidy and edgy spectacle littered with robust tackles, some downright filthy by Chelsea. Both managers rang the changes in a bid to reassert control. The scattergun refereeing prevailed and having seen Kevin De Bruyne struggle for rhythm into a substitution, Fernandinho trudged off in the final moments of 94 gruelling minutes clutching an injured groin shortly before the final whistle. A devastating loss at the business end of City’s multiple campaigns.
A solitary City shot had been the only one on target by both sides across the entire demoralising encounter. Chelsea had executed Sarri’s game plan to the letter breaking up play any way they could, their frequent turf plummeting clocking up 19 City fouls inside normal time called by the lame Moss who struggled to keep up with play throughout.
Pep Guardiola wasted not a second in animatedly calling his men into a pre-extra time huddle. Thereafter, the fouls, the loose balls, the scrappiness and the teeth pulling tension continued, the first half of extra time registering more woeful finishing and no further shots on target. Despite the attrition, City’s 33,000 fans still roared their weary looking men on splendidly. A demented scramble broke loose in Chelsea’s penalty box, but the ball just would not go in. The second period of the extension descended into further chaos with Moss symbolically slipping into a fall himself. Chelsea, unable to trouble Ederson throughout this ordeal of a contest were indebted to their own guardian Kepa who kept the predatory Aguero at bay.
Thereafter, incredible scenes descended upon a dreadful cup final wherein an incandescent Sarri and a petulant Kepa clashed in unseemly fashion as the goalkeeper, apparently injured, refused to be substituted in favour of ex City penalty hero Willy Caballero. Going mental, Sarri, at one stage stormed down the tunnel in protest at Kepa’s insubordination. He had been humiliated by player power, his leadership in a shambles, his reputation utterly tarnished.
And so it came to pass, penalties. This time around City’s heroes were Ederson and Raz Sterling. A travesty had been denied and Manchester’s Blues had secured the League Cup for a fourth time in six seasons and a title is retained for the first time in our club’s long history.
JB’s Man of The Match: Bernardo Silva. With bodies falling all around him, he held City’s midfield together. Running and running for the cause.