Arsenal side were blown away by Manchester City in a 3-0 EFL Cup Final victory that earned Pep Guardiola his first piece of silverware in English football.
It seemed inevitable that at some stage City would cut their way through Arsenal, but that the deepest wound was self-inflicted will sting Wenger, who has now lost three EFL Cup finals.
Arsenal had set out their stall to harass and harry City out of their groove, defending with a bank of four and five as even Mesut Ozil showed defensive application many of his critics would claim he views as beneath him.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang posed a direct threat on the counter and a route one approach seemed to be Arsenal’s best form of attack. A peerless clearance by David Ospina released Jack Wilshere to surge in behind, the ball going via Aaron Ramsey and Ozil before finding the Gunners’ record signing six yards out.
Aubameyang could only stick a boot on Ozil’s cross but when it ricocheted back to him, he might have done more with a rebound that only found Claudio Bravo’s boot.
The Gunners were not the only side for whom the long hoof was paying dividends. Arsenal had pinned City back before a clearance by Bravo saw him become the first goalkeeper to register an assist in this competition since Colin Doyle for Birmingham in August 2014, though Mustafi was no less culpable for City’s opener.
Having allowed Aguero to get goal-side, he raised his arms for a non-existent free-kick before trundling back as the Argentine brilliantly lobbed the ball over David Ospina.
To compound Arsenal’s misery David Silva then added the third, a strike reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp at his best. The Spaniard took a pass with his back to goal, spun around Chambers and slammed a low drive into the bottom corner.
Of immediate concern for Wenger will be rallying his deflated troops in time for Thursday’s rematch between these two at the Emirates, but it is clear that that Premier League encounter is highly unlikely to have any bearing on a season which is now Europa League or bust for Arsenal.