Manchester City made it four Carabao Cup wins in a row thanks to a late Aymeric Laporte header at Wembley as they beat Tottenham 1-0.
Pep Guardiola’s side were dominant in the early exchanges but couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the net, with two goal bound shots blocked on the line by Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld as City registered just one shot on target.
The second half was more of a non-event with both teams largely cancelling each other out and no real chances created, until Kevin De Bruyne drilled a free-kick across goal and Laporte rose above Moussa Sissoko to squeeze the ball past Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the post and into the net.
The win means that not only have City now won the last four instalments of the competition, but they’re now level with Liverpool for the most wins in history on eight. Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho lifted their sixth titles, meaning they have won more on their own than any other club not named Manchester City or Liverpool.
While the success is obviously worth talking about, is it any real surprise that they win it so regularly?
It’s a competition where the vast majority of the top sides rest their strongest lineup until the latter stages since the games are in midweek between league games and often against lower league opposition in the early rounds.
It’s easy to say that the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer don’t take the competition seriously, but they rotate just as much if not more than Guardiola does. The big difference is the strength in depth that City have available to them.
City’s squad is so deep that you could make an argument that you could field two different starting lineups using just players from the Etihad Stadium that could qualify for the top four.
When you have such insane depth, it makes progressing through the competition almost expected no matter the opposition they come up against. Even once they get to the latter rounds and get paired against top teams, they have the ability to mix and match their squad and just out-gun everyone.
Now it’s not fair to just give the credit to their depth, because the players that play always perform and have made it their own personal mission to collect as many trophies as possible but it certainly plays a part.
Guardiola addressed it himself before this final, when questioned by Sky Sports about the strength of his starting lineup.
“Every team we play is a strong team. We play to win in every game. Are you saying the other players not playing today aren’t strong? No, every team we play is a strong team because we want to win every game.”
Manchester City deserve every bit of success they get. They play great football, with great players and run the club excellently. Yes they spend a tonne of money to do it, but at least they actually perform to the standard you’d expect for a team like that.
They will now look to seal a variation of a treble, with just six points needed from the final five Premier League games to officially seal the title while they prepare for a huge Champions League semi-final clash against Paris Saint-Germain across the next fortnight.