To think that when Pep Guardiola turned up in Manchester, he regarded every game Vincent Kompany could play as an unexpected bonus.
Kompany has weathered 41 injuries in his time at City, and Guardiola didn’t think he could last many more. He didn’t consider Kompany part of his long-term plan, didn’t even factor him in for that season, really.
And he wasn’t completely wrong. Kompany continues to struggle. He has missed 779 days injured at City and a total of 13 appearances across all competitions in this campaign tell their own tale.
Yet so does the fact that it was Kompany who lifted the first trophy of the Guardiola era at Wembley yesterday, and Kompany who scored the vital second goal, to take the EFL Cup final away from Arsenal.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Carabao Cup at Wembley following their 3-0 victory over Arsenal
Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi, Ilkay Gundogan and Vincent Kompany celebrate after their 3-0 win over Arsenal
Contrasting emotions at the final whistle as City captain and goalscorer Vincent Kompany celebrates as Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck trudges off disconsolately
Arsenal were comprehensively second-best on the day as the League Cup continues to elude manager Arsene Wenger
Sergio Aguero celebrates with Leroy Sane after scoring Manchester City’s opening goal after 19 minutes at Wembley
It was Aguero’s 30th goal of the season for Manchester City and his 199th overall for the club since he arrived there in 2011
Under no particular pressure from Laurent Koscielny, Aguero lifts the ball over the advancing Ospina to score the opener
Aguero brushed off an attempted challenge by Shkodran Mustafi to latch onto Claudio Bravo’s long goal kick and then lobbed the ball over Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina
The Argentine runs away in celebration safe in the knowledge that his perfectly-weighted lob has found the Arsenal net
The managers Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola shake hands following an argument on the touchline – Arsenal manager Wenger felt Sergio Aguero had fouled Shkodran Mustafi on his way to scoring the opener
The two managers disagreed over whether Aguero had fouled Mustafi prior to scoring City’s opening goal
He started in the landmark win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and in the recent 4-0 victory at Basel too. For a forgotten man, this is becoming an increasingly memorable season.
Kompany’s goal marked the end of Arsenal’s resistance and summed up the canyon between these two sides.
He may be a relative veteran but he was thinking quicker than any of the younger men around him when he gave his team a two goal 58th minute lead.
Kevin De Bruyne took a short corner to the edge of the area, Ilkay Gundogan hit a low shot and Kompany was first to react, turning the ball past David Ospina in the Arsenal goal.
One can argue about the position of Leroy Sane which in the days when football’s rules made sense would have been offside, but it wasn’t in the modern game and Craig Pawson did not even go to VAR to ask if a man standing inside the six yard box two yards behind any Arsenal defender might have been interfering with play.
Vincent Kompany jumps for joy as he celebrates doubling City’s advantage in front of their travelling contingent at Wembley
City captain Kompany celebrates with team-mates Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane after scoring his team’s second
It was a moment of delight for Kompany and testament to his perseverance following endless injury setbacks in recent years
Kompany turned home Ilkay Gundogan’s cross to put City into a far more comfortable lead in the final at Wembley
The entire City side celebrated Kompany’s goal, which effectively sealed their victory against sub-par Arsenal
It would have been a moot point anyway because Arsenal pretty much used Kompany’s goal as an excuse to stop interfering with play themselves and the third, in the 65th minute, was merely a matter of time.
Jack Wilshere lost the ball, Danilo slipped the ball into the penalty area and David Silva was first onto it – he could hardly have been second given how slowly Arsenal were moving – finishing smartly to put the outcome beyond doubt. If it ever was.
Maybe it was an illusion; maybe it was an accident and on the touchline Pep Guardiola was silently seething, but Manchester City did seem to be considerably more correct against Arsenal than usual in the first-half.
Not just the goal, which could not have been simpler had it been constructed from a book of plays by Charlie Hughes, but their general approach work.
They hit Arsenal early and, on occasions, long. As any number of Premier League inferiors will vouch, route one is a tried and trusted way to go. Arsenal do not like it up ’em, as Dad’s Army’s Corporal Jones would have it.
David Silva added a third goal for Manchester City, turning smartly inside the box before drilling a low shot into the net
Silva runs off in celebration after sealing City’s victory with the third goal in the 65th-minute at Wembley
Silva celebrates with some of the City substitutes after sealing the victory and the trophy with the third goal
There was misery and dejection for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his Arsenal team-mates after a resounding defeat
Match facts and ratings
Arsenal (3-4-2-1): Ospina 5; Chambers 6 (Welbeck 66, 6), Mustafi 4, Koscielny 5; Bellerin 6, Wilshere 6.5, Xhaka 4.5, Monreal 5 (Kolasinac 26, 5.5); Ozil 5, Ramsey 5 (Iwobi 72, 6); Aubameyang 5.5
Substitutes not used: Cech (GK); Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Elneny Manager: Arsene Wenger 5
Booked: Bellerin, Ramsey, Chambers, Wilshere
Manchester City (4-3-3): Bravo 6.5; Walker 6.5, Kompany 8.5, Otamendi 7, Danilo 7; De Bruyne 7, Fernandinho 6 (Bernardo Silva 52, 6), Gundogan 6.5; Silva 8, Aguero 8 (Foden 89), Sane 7.5 (Gabriel Jesus 77)
Substitutes not used: Ederson (GK); Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko Manager: Pep Guardiola 8
Scorers: Aguero 18; Kompany 58; David Silva 65 Booked: Fernandinho, Kompany
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) 6.5 Attendance: 85,671
And up ’em is exactly where Claudio Bravo put it for the goal that broke the deadlock. Up field, up in the air and up to Sergio Aguero, who made a complete fool of defender Shkodran Mustafi.
This was a game with access to VAR, but another set of eyes was asked to rule on a very mild coming together between Aguero and Mustafi, we can only presume the conclusion was the same as it was for referee Craig Pawson, many in the stadium and most sitting at home: that big, hairy-backed centre-halves should be able to look after themselves in a challenge with little strikers.
And that Mustafi’s protests were as much a sign of embarrassment as any infringement.
Bravo placed the ball and hoofed it, that’s all. Mustafi contrived to get in front of Aguero but not in a sufficiently considered position to close his supply lane.
Aguero gave the tiniest nudge, the sort that strikers have to suck up every time they challenge for a ball, and Mustafi took a step forward and stood, wrong side with his arms raised in appeal, as if that move had ever frozen time.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a fraction away from giving Arsenal an early lead, only for a combination of Kyle Walker and Claudio Bravo to thwart them
It was the sliding Walker’s toe-end that denied Aubameyang when he seemed certain to score from close-quarters
City forward Leroy Sane gets away an effort that rippled the side-netting of the Arsenal goal inside the first 10 minutes
City’s Argentine striker Sergio Aguero prepares to let fly having broken into the Arsenal penalty box early on
It required Granit Xhaka to track back and intercept Aguero’s shot, which seemed destined to find the net
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey fires a low free-kick towards goal during the first-half but City’s defence hold firm
Vincent Kompany goes close to scoring a second goal for City early in the second-half, his shot deflected just wide
The City captain rues the missed chance as Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi appreciate their good fortune
He was still reacting to some imagined crime when Aguero set off for goal with the ball under his command, drawing a frantic David Ospina, who was entitled to expect better protection.
To be fair, there are probably 30-year-old packets of condoms that are offering better protection than Mustafi in that moment.
Aguero waited until Ospina was too far off his line to recover, but not so far that he might close the ball down, and lobbed him. Centre court has rarely seen a finer drop shot.
It was a goal all the way, Ospina watching helplessly as it dipped and bounced towards its target, his presence an irrelevance. Aguero’s 199th goal for his club. What a player he has been.
Manchester City’s David Silva attempts to challenge Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal in an early midfield skirmish at Wembley
Manchester City’s Leroy Sane stretches out his arms to get the better of Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin during the early exchanges
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi and Manchester City forward Kevin de Bruyne chase after the ball
City’s Ilkay Gundogan looks for options from midfield as City push on looking for a second goal at Wembley
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey is shown a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson for a foul on David Silva during the first-half
City’s Fernandinho is shown a yellow card late in the opening half following a foul on Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere of Arsenal attempts to cross under pressure from Manchester City’s Kyle Walker early in the cup final
Match referee Craig Pawson dismisses the protestations of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and City’s Fernandinho
Fernandinho suffered an injury that forced him off for Bernardo Silva in the early minutes of the second half
City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo raced from his goalline to clear the ball but almost allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in
It was Manchester City’s finest 45 minutes of the season, in fact, before the goal, Arsenal had the best chance.
After eight minutes, a kick from Ospina found Jack Wilshere whose persistence took him into the City penalty area, riding tackles before the ball found Mesut Ozil. His cross should have been put away by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Kyle Walker got their first.
That aside, Arsenal were largely kept at arm’s length. A free-kick by Aaron Ramsey was safely gathered by Bravo to ironic cheers from his supporters behind City’s goal.
As for City, they looked dangerous, as ever, without taking off as they can do. Vincent Kompany header over a centre by Ilkay Gundogan, and Kevin De Bruyne planted one into the side-netting after Laurent Koscielny had only half cleared.
The Carabao Cup trophy is displayed on a plinth as the two sides walk out for the final at Wembley Stadium
Flags are waved by supporters in the countdown to kick-off with the blue of City and the red and while of Arsenal displayed
Wembley Stadium looked magnificent on cup final day as fans of Arsenal and Manchester City poured down Wembley Way