5 talking points as Manchester City beat Aston Villa in Carabao Cup final

Manchester City won the Carabao Cup for the third year in a row after they battled past a combative Aston Villa at Wembley.

Pep Guardiola's side dominated for large spells of the first half, and took the lead when Sergio Aguero fired home from a Phil Foden knockdown via a deflection.

Midfielder Rodri then doubled the lead when he headed home an Ilkay Gundogan corner, although Villa protested against the decision to award the set-piece.

Mbwana Samatta pulled one back for Villa with a header following a John Stones error just before the break, but the Midlanders were unable to lay much of a glove on City in the second period until Claudio Bravo brilliantly tipped a Bjorn Engels header onto the post late on.

Guardiola's side eventually saw the game out to register a sixth major trophy under his stewardship.

Here are the game's talking points.

1. Phil Foden gets his lift-off moment

Famously, Phil Foden is "the most talented player" Guardiola has ever seen , but that praise hasn't always translated itself to significant appearances on the biggest stage for a young man who will be 20 at the end of this season.

Sure, Foden has often been there when City have won things, and wearing the smiling face of the fan in the background as he does so, but this start felt like a significant breakthrough for a fine young talent.

Predictions of an imminent spot in Guardiola's first-team plans have always looked a little lofty, but with David Silva on the way out and questions over City's transfers given their European ban, this could be a taste of what we'll see next season.

2. Clear and obvious?

It is incidents like the one from which City eventually got their second goal that undermine much of the discussion around VAR.

At present the technology cannot rule on events like the award of corners, but should it be allowed to?

In fact, how about making it open season for VAR to rule on absolutely everything, and therefore be able to overturn the most… and here it comes, that favourite modern catchphrase… 'clear and obvious' mistakes?

The remit would be much bigger but that way the technology would just stay in the background, allowing the on-pitch officials have the greater say and the majority of events and only interjecting when it is absolutely needed.

Like it was here.

3. Did Villa find Samatta too late?

It was the season-ending injury to Wesley at Burnley on New Year's Day which forced Dean Smith into the transfer market for Samatta, but come the end of the season he might regret not getting him last summer.

The Tanzanian had already netted 10 times for Genk in the first half of this campaign, including in the Champions League at Liverpool , and it is clear that the 27-year-old knows where the goal is.

Given how several Premier League results went against Villa at the weekend, his ability to find the net looks to be key to whether or not Smith's side stay up.

4. City do a job on Grealish

It will be tempting for some to say that Jack Grealish's display here showed that he's still a little way off possessing the ability to influence games at the highest level, but that would be doing City's plan to combat him a disservice.

Guardiola had clearly instructed his players to starve the Villa captain of the ball as often as possible, and when he did get it he was often in areas City would consider to be safe ones.

Grealish should consider that approach a compliment, and next time he comes up against City he might have some extra strength around him to try and combat it.

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