Arsenal 1, Manchester City 4 (Carabao Cup Semi Final)
Arsenal goalkeeper Runar Runarsson’s mistakes allowed Manchester City to beat the Gunners to qualify for the semi finals of the Carabao Cup.Embed from Getty Images
Gabriel Jesus was all smiles when he put City into the lead with a close range header after just 3 minutes but Arsenal showed character to come back from a goal down against City, their equaliser came against the run of play – a header by Alexandre Lacazette.
Ironically, a lack of VAR at this stage of the Carabao Cup saw several marginal decisions swing City’s way as Fernandinho and Zack Steffen escaped reviews for risky challenges and Foden’s crucial third goal for the Blues looked offside shortly after Mahrez’ free kick put City back in the lead.
Aymeric Laporte’s unchallenged fourth goal late on confirmed the comfortable win as City took their chances to score four goals from their seven on target in the game as they sought to retain the Carabao Cup for a fourth time with an 18th unbeaten game in a row in the competition.
The result will heap more pressure on Pep Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta as the Gunners went down with a wimper after a decent 25 minute spell in the first half following some clinical second half finishing by the Blues.
City choose a strong side but only four player remained from the side that squeezed past Southampton at the weekend – Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, and Rodri were the players who stayed in the side while Gabriel Jesus – back from a jaw injury – led the line for Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Gunners went for a three man defence to counter the stronger Manchester City side but were caught out after less than 3 minutes when City pressed home their first attack.
A rising cross by Oleksandr Zinchenko was headed home from close range by Jesus after he got between two defenders and beat Runarsson to the ball after he was slow to come off his line.
It was the first goal in 8 games – totalling 609 minutes – for the Brazilian striker and only his fourth goal of the season.
Fernandinho rifled a shot from 25 yards wide of the back post as City looked to press home their advantage over the shell shocked Gunners.
Laporte went close while Riyad Mahrez hit the wall with a free kick from 20 yards.
The Gunners were level against the run of play after 31 minutes when Gabriel Martinelli got the byline and stood the ball up for a fine header by Alexandre Lacazette who beat Laporte to the ball and headed past Zack Steffen.
It was City’s turn to cope with waves of Arsenal pressure but they still managed to produce a fine save from Runarsson to save Jesus’ fierce shot from 10 yards out at the end of the first half.
Steffen had to come out of his area to clear a ball which Martinelli was running onto after he had spring the offside trap.
The flying City keeper hurt the Brazilian forward after catching him while clearing the ball outside his area.
Martinelli didn’t last long in the second half, breaking down soon after the restart and being replaced by Nicolas Pepe.
City regained the lead after 54 minutes after Gabriel brought down Mahrez on the edge of the box and the Algerian’s free kick went round the wall but slithered out of Runarson’s grasp and into the back of the net – his 5th goal of the season – and his fifth direct free kick in all competitions in England.
Foden extended the lead 5 minutes later after City counter attacked, lifting the ball over the diving Runarsson after latching onto Fernandinho’s cross despite replays showing he was offside.
Emile Smith Rowe came on for Mohamed Elneny in the 66th minute as Arsenal had to become more attacking.
And the youngster soon fed Lacazette for a shot into the side netting from an acute angle as the Gunners tried to gain some tempo.
Foden’s short corner routine with Ilkay Gundogan saw the City youngster float in a great cross from the right which was nodded past Runarsson by Laporte after 73 minutes with Arsenal’s defenders static.
Ferran Torres and Sergio Aguero were brought on for Bernardo Silva, who was booked and will miss the semi final, and Jesus.
And while Mahrez tried to get himself on the scoresheet with a late shot on goal Runarsson made the save to prevent a fifth City goal while Steffen saved from Pepe in added time.
GOALS – Arsenal 1, Manchester City 4 (Carabao Cup Semi Final)
Arsenal 0, Man City 1: 3. An arrowing cross by Oleksandr Zinchenko was headed home from close range by Jesus after he got between two defenders and beat Runar Runarsson to the ball.
Arsenal 1, Man City 1: 31. Gabriel Martinelli got to the byline and chipped the ball into the danger area where Alexandre Lacazette beat Aymeric Laporte to the ball and headed it past Zack Steffen.
Arsenal 1, Man City 2: 54. Riyad Mahrez bent a free kick around the Arsenal Wall and Runar Runarsson let it squirm through his hands and into the back of his net.
Arsenal 1, Man City 3: 59. Phil Foden lifted the ball over a diving Runar Runarsson after running onto a Fernandinho cross.
Arsenal 1, Man City 4: 73. Phil Foden’s short corner routine with Riyad Mahrez saw the City youngster float in a great cross from the right which was nodded past Runarsson by Aymeric Laporte after 73 minutes with Arsenal’s defenders static.
MATCH STATS – Arsenal 1, Manchester City 4 (Carabao Cup Semi Final)
Arsenal: Runarsson, Mustafi, Gabriel, Kolasinac, Soares, Elneny (Smith Rowe 66), Ceballos, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Lacazette (Balogun 77), Martinelli (Pepe 49)
Arsenal Subs not used: Leno, Tierney, Mari, Smith Rowe, Nketiah
Booked: Elneny 23 (foul on Gabriel Jesus), Mustafi 25 (foul on Gabriel Jesus)
Goal: Lacazette 31
Man City: Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri (Walker 77), Fernandinho, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva (Torres 70), Foden, Gabriel Jesus (Aguero 74)
Man City subs not used: Ederson, Stones, Sterling, Gundogan
Goals: Jesus 3; Mahrez 54, Foden 59; Laporte 73
Booked: Bernardo Silva 65 (foul on Dani Ceballos) – Silva will be suspended for the semi final
Referee: Stuart Attwell