On Sunday afternoon at Wembley Manchester City claimed the first piece of silverware this season beating Liverpool 3-1 on penalties after an enthralling Capital One Cup final.
After an edgy start, Manuel Pellegrini’s men grew into the game and had the first real chance when Sergio Aguero ran at the Liverpool defence and hit the post. City did eventually take the lead thanks to Fernandinho who put a low shot past Simon Mignolet.
Seven minutes from time just as Cty were closing in on the cup Phillipe Coutinho equalised for Jurgen Klopp’s men. There was no breakthrough in extra time so it went to penalties where the much-maligned Willy Caballero proved to be the hero.
Here are four conclusions from Sunday’s game.
Manuel Pellegrini's gambles pay off
Last time City were in London they caused a storm as many had accused Manuel Pellegrini of disrespecting the FA Cup by fielding a weakened side. Not helped by the FA’s scheduling, the Chilean had no choice but to prioritise and a result the FA Cup was sacrificed.
Ultimately Pellergrini’s gambles proved to pay dividends. The decision to start Willy Cabellero at Wembley proved to be inspired despite many reservations from fans and pundits alike.
David Silva is getting back to his best
On Wednesday night in Kiev, Silva proved to be central to City’s attacking threat, constantly linking up well with Sergio Aguero and taking control of the game and he continued that form on Sunday in the League Cup final.
It’s been a tough season for Silva as much of it has been spent on the treatment table.
A poor run of form has led some to question his future at the club, however in the club’s most important week of the season, Silva’s sheer class has shone through.
Willy Cabellero has cemented his place in City folklore
Ridiculed and much-maligned throughout the season Willy Cabellero is the last person you’d expect to be described by City fans as a hero. Many were dreading the prospect of the 34-year old Argentine starting at Wembley.
However true to his word Manuel Pellegrini placed his faith in City’s cup keeper. Cabellero put in an assured performance over 120 minutes – the highlight being a crucial save he made from Divock Origi.
In the penalty shoot-out, Willy came into his own, remarkably saving three penalties in a row.
Such is the fickle nature of football, the man who was seen as City’s weak link ultimately proved to be the saviour at Wembley and had his name sung on Wembley on Sunday night.
City have to use this win as a springboard for the rest of the season
Just a week ago all talk of City going strong in four competitions had diminished City went into a season-defining week with their backs against the wall. City did, however, come out fighting; a convincing win in Kiev showing everyone what the Blues are capable of at their best. On Sunday at Wembley had it not been for some poor finishing and some inspired goalkeeping City could’ve dismantled Liverpool.
Pellegrini’s men are now starting to play the kind of football they displayed at the start of the season where many tipped them as favourites for the title.
With the return ofcCaptain Vincent Kompany providing a assured presence at the back and the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero linking up well, things are clicking into place at just the right time.
Just like their last title-winning season City have a trophy under their belts early on, this should now calm any nerves and reinforce their belief as they look to mount a late charge towards the title.