- 'Starving for success!' - Man City showcase insatiable hunger for trophies with third consecutive Carabao Cup win15:37 | 02/03/2020
Pep Guardiola’s side made it six domestic trophies out of the last seven available with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley.
Photo by Getty
Don’t tell Manchester City that domestic trophies aren’t important.
After beating Aston Villa at Wembley to secure a third successive League Cup, it is now eight English trophies won from the last nine on offer, if you include two Community Shields, which Pep Guardiola certainly does.
His players are “starving” for more success Guardiola said before the Sunday showdown. After the semi-final victory over neighbours Manchester United, rock star Noel Gallagher joined them post-match for a party in the dressing room.
Of course, Europe remains the final frontier to conquer but they took a significant step forward on that front in midweek, with their 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Four days later, City faced a less illustrious opponent in relegation-threatened Villa but the score was the same – and so too was the drive and hunger.
“Three times in a row is a big success,” Guardiola enthused afterwards. “It’s the consistency, incredible. It was awesome, a big success. Our second title of the season with the Community Shield, it’s so nice.
“We’ve won a lot. I tried when I arrived to ensure that every game we play, we try to win it; every competition, we try to win it, so being here three trimes in a row and winning it again is great.”
Guardiola had made eight changes but there was hardly an impact to his side’s intensity during a dominant opening half.
Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Raheem Sterling all started on the bench for the win in Madrid but there was no suggestion of any rancour as they pulled the Villa defence apart for 45 minutes.
Perhaps more surprisingly, 19-year-old Phil Foden was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time in a month, meaning the past, present and future of City were all represented in the XI and all played their part in the club’s latest triumph.
Silva, with the captain’s armband, was making what could be his last ever start at Wembley in a City shirt, Foden what could well be the first of many, and both led the charge on Villa with their intensity, movement and skill.
Foden started in an unfamiliar right-wing spot but instinctively knew what to do, repeatedly losing the cover of Matt Targett. He was too sharp for the Villa full-back in the 20th minute and his neat header teed up Aguero for his inevitable goal.
City’s record goalscorer wasn’t going to miss another opportunity to secure his place in the club’s history. Indeed, he has now been directly involved in eight goals in 10 appearances at the national stadium.
With Kevin De Bruyne kept on the bench until the 58th minute, Foden was the standout creator. Just six minutes in, he had served warning of his attacking intent with a brilliant run past three Villa defenders to create a chance for Sterling.
Midway through the first half he created a chance for himself by cutting inside and driving a fierce shot that Orjan Nyland was relieved to see deflected inches wide of his goal.
But it’s not just the flair where Foden shines. Schooled in the Guardiola ethos and playing alongside Silva, he has the hard work to match, sprinting 20 yards to brush Villa danger man Jack Grealish off the ball as he threatened to set up a counterattack.
However, without the defensive leadership of Aymeric Laporte, who limped out of the midweek win in Madrid, City remain shaky at the back. John Stones had a horror moment when his slip led to Mbwana Samatta heading home shortly before the break, a goal which kept the game alive until the final whistle.
Defensive issues must be solved if City are going to end their wait for European success but they can wait for another day.
For now, Pep and his players can bask in the glow of yet another trophy.
Source – Goal.com
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