EFL Cup

Arsenal: The downward spiral continues

After a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final, Arsenal’s season has gone from bad to worse.

Arsenal’s performance against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final was pathetic. They showed none of the character, fight and determination that can usually be expected from the Gunners at Wembley. Of course, Man City were favourites but they didn’t even have to break a sweat as they strolled to a 3-0 victory.

The first goal was brilliant from a Man City perspective. Claudio Bravo provided the assist for Sergio Aguero’s opener when he thumped the ball downfield and Aguero nudged Shkodran Mustafi off the ball, raced through into the box and superbly chipped the ball over the onrushing David Ospina. Mustafi’s defending was embarrassing but it was even worse that he had the audacity to appeal for a foul. Aguero barely made any contact with Mustafi who should have been stronger. It was a schoolboy error that cost Arsenal dearly.

Man City captain and veteran Vincent Kompany showed Mustafi how to defend when he muscled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang off the ball and cleared away the danger. Kompany also scored the second goal which ultimately put the tie to bed. His performance was exactly what Arsenal are crying out for. He was a leader and a defensive rock, something that Arsenal have been missing for years.

It may be seen as an over-reaction to criticise Arsenal after losing this final considering their excellent record at Wembley in recent years. However, the manner of the defeat is the issue. Arsenal were second best in all departments. Their defending was shocking, attacking was non-existent (two shots on target all game) and they showed no desire to win. This was the complete opposite of last season in the FA Cup semi-final and final where they beat Man City and Chelsea respectively through sheer grit and determination.

Arsenal have had disappointing seasons for years but usually, the cracks are papered over thanks to winning the FA Cup or finishing in the top four. That won’t happen this season. The Gunners were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third-round for the first time under Wenger when they suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Championship side Nottingham Forest in January.

As for finishing in the top four, Arsenal’s chances are slim to none. They are 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand. The game in hand in against… Manchester City. Even if they did miraculously win that game, Arsenal would still be seven points behind the top four. There is no way they will manage to close that gap before the end of the season.

The only trophy Arsenal could win this season is the much-maligned Europa League. Despite an embarrassing defeat in the second leg of their match against Swedish side Ostersunds, Arsenal are through to the last 16 of the competition where they will face AC Milan. If recent performances are anything to go by, Arsenal don’t stand a chance.

Featured image credit: ctwino

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