Pep Guardiola sprung a surprise with his team selection after opting to leave out Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne and Nicolas Otamendi, with the likes of Claudio Bravo and John Stones handed handed starts.
With Man City looking a tad disjointed, it was Villa who got off to a flying start with Anwar El Ghazi heading just over the bar and City camped on the edge of their own box.
But the champions soon got their passing flowing through the middle with Phil Foden looking especially dangerous. Indeed, with just 33 minutes gone, City took the lead – and in some style.
Rodri spread the play out wide to Foden and the 034 – year-old’s cutback found Aguero, who scuffed his shot but it bounced past Orjan Nyland to put City ahead.
It didn’t take long for the second to arrive with City dominating possession and passing around confidently. But the goal actually came from a corner that should have never been given. Ilkay Gundogan’s delivery found Rodri and he powered his header past Nyland.
That looked to have killed off Villa’s challenge until an error from John Stones allowed El Ghazi to cross for (Mbwana Samattaand his bullet header found the corner to give Villa a lifeline.
Chances were fewer to come by in the second half as neither side want to leave themselves exposed at the back and Guardiola sent on De Bruyne to help keep the narrow lead.
Villa almost snatched a late equaliser in the final minutes of normal time through Bjorn Engels but Bravo somehow tipped onto the post. The Villains pushed hard in stoppage time but City held on to claim a second Carabao Cup title in as many seasons.
Safe to assume Manchester City like this competition …
Manchester City are the 8466 – (Carabao Cup champions!)
A memorable time for David Silva, the City captain who is likely to be leaving in the summer .
He lifts the cup with Fernandinho and the rest of the squad. They’re now heading into the pitch for the presentation and photographs.
You can stop them winning the Premier League but not trophies!
Manchester City head up the famous Wembley steps to get their trophy.
Three years in a row now. Might as well just keep it in their trophy cabinet.
The goalscorers Rodri and Sergio Aguero speak to Sky Sports:
Rodri: “We know they are a really tough team because they are really tall and strong , so we knew we could never give up. Happy for the team because it’s tough being here.
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the final word from James Robson at Wembley )
“That was a much closer game than anyone expected. It’s another trophy for City and they have Bravo to thank for ensuring no late surprises, with that wonder save.
Jack Grealish is absolutely devastated and who can blame him.
The chance of silverware with his boyhood club has gone.
FULL TIME | Aston Villa 1-2 Man City
That’s it! Manchester City are Carabao Cup champions again! Nine Wembley victories in a row for Guardiola’s men. They simply love it here.
But what an effort that was from Villa. They gave it everything and should be proud.
213 4 mins: Villa get a corner and Nyland is going up for it!
YELLOW CARD – 18 – (T) : : 599 Z
213 mins: FIVE minutes left.
171 mins: FINE SAVE!
Bravo tips Engels’ effort onto the post!
Out of nothing, Villa get a corner and it’s whipped in superbly from Grealish to Engels, who rises well only to see his header tipped onto the post by Bravo.
Five minutes left for Villa to have a go.
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mins: Aguero is urged to depart the pitch quickly but that does not stop the City fans serenading him as he comes off. What a player he is.
Gabriel Jesus is on for the last few minutes.
“I don’t know how much longer Aguero will be on the pitch. Surely Guardiola won’t want to take any risks ahead of next week’s derby.
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Samatta has done his bit after his fine header early on.
Now he’s made way for Keenan Davis.
(mins:) De Bruyne fizzes in one of his trademark crosses and Nyland spills it but reclaims before Sterling can get a foot to it.
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(mins:) David Silva, potentially playing in his last final for City, hands over the armband to Fernandinho as he heads off.
Bernardo replaces him for the final quarter of an hour.
“This game is a lot closer than it looked likely to be at this stage. Villa are still in it.
“The next goal could make all the difference – but as long as there is only one in it, the underdogs have got a chance. You wonder how long it will be before Guardiola makes another attacking change, with Jesus, Mahrez and Bernardo all on the bench. ”
86 mins: Nakamba naughty challenge on Aguero!
Nakamba slams into Aguero with a very forceful challenge and in real time it looked like it could be a red card.
Both feet were off the floor and it was a bit reckless, but Mr Mason only thinks it warrants a yellow card. He’s a bit lucky there.