As runners-up in the Carling Cup last season, Arsenal would have loved to book their place in the finals this year as well and earn a shot at redemption. However, Manchester City had other ideas. A late goal from Argentine striker, Sergio Aguero was enough to settle the Tuesday night encounter between the two sides and force the Gunners' exit from yet another competition.
The Citizens recorded a 1-0 win and booked their place in the Cup's semi-finals. The atmosphere at the Emirates received just that little extra bit of controversy, following Samir Nasri's start against his former club. The French midfielder left Arsenal for City in the summer, for a £23 million fee, and took to the turf with chants of "villain" ringing out.
Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's much-beleaguered manager, handed starts to youngsters Park Chu-Young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as well as out-of-form striker, Marouane Chamakh. True to tradition, the Gunners created a number of chances but could not convert them.
City's Adam Johnson, who is a little under pressure himself, missed the first clear chance for his team, after 10 minutes, when his dipping shot found only the top of the net. City goalkeeper, Costel Pantilimon, was then called into action, to push wide a cross meant for Chu-Young at his far post. Arsenal continued to attack and a 28th minute strike from Chamberlain was saved by Pantilimon.
The second half seemed to continue where the first left off, with City's Edin Dzeko releasing Johnson through, to little success. Arsenal youngster Chamberlain continued to test Pantilimon but seemed increasingly consigned to being beaten by the Citizen's custodian, with another shot saved. The game changed, though, in the 83rd minute, when Aguero (who came on for Aleksander Kolarov in the first half) scored.
"It was an unfair result but I felt we were a bit naive. I felt as well we did not take our corners very well but overall what is frustrating is that we lost a game we looked the winner of," said a frustrated Arsene Wenger, who could not hide his disappointment over the loss.
City boss Roberto Mancini, though, was certainly happy with the result.
"It will be better to win here in the Premier League but it is a good feeling because we are into the semi-finals of the competition," said Mancini.
Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel (Thomas Vermaelen, 80), Sébastien Squillaci, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Andrey Arshavin, 87), Francis Coquelin, Yossi Benayoun, Emmanuel Frimpong, Marouane Chamakh, Park Chu-Young (Gervinho, 68).
Manchester City: Costel Pantilimon, Nedum Onuoha, Stefan Savic, Pablo Zabaleta, Kolo Touré, Aleksandar Kolarov (Sergio Agüero, 32), Samir Nasri, Nigel de Jong, Owen Hargreaves (Abdul Razak, 79), Adam Johnson, Edin Dzeko.
Check out photographs of the action from Tueday's match in the slideshow below.