It started so well and ended with young supporters in tears. Arsenal's Carabao Cup final against Manchester City presented an opportunity of winning silverware midway through the season, a trophy that Arsene Wenger has yet to get his hands on throughout his two decades at the club.
Quite simply, Arsenal weren't at the races for much of Sunday's showpiece Wembley match and the second-half performance bordered on embarrassing. Despite the Gunners starting impressively and looking composed on the ball, it took Sergio Aguero just 18 minutes to score the opening goal, latching on to a goal kick from Claudio Bravo which Shkodran Mustafi couldn't deal with.
Mustafi's decision to appeal what looked like a shove in the back from Aguero was one that cost him extra seconds in recovering from the mistake and drew criticism from his former Valencia coach Gary Neville, who labelled the German's defending as "pathetic".
Aguero has scored in each of his past five games in all competitions against Arsenal and he terrorises the Gunners defenders every time he comes up against them. Mustafi wasn't the only culprit for the goal, though, with captain Laurent Koscielny ball watching and slow to react to Aguero's run.
The aged old quip of 'Arsenal lacking leaders' could not have rung more true at Wembley. They looked lost for ideas as Vincent Kompany struck City's second from the edge of the box, once again exposing Arsenal's defensive deficiencies and inability to assert themselves in games against elite opposition.
Koscielny may have been captain but there was certainly no visible leadership on the pitch from him. Only the fired up Jack Wilshere, who won four fouls in the match, looked like he wanted to take the game to City along with the returning Aaron Ramsey, who was impressive before City's dismantling of the defence.
Arsenal's team imbalance can be tracked back to the summer of 2015 when Petr Cech was the only player signed by Wenger despite the team clearly needing reinforcements across the pitch. The January arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund was an excellent piece of business but clearly not a priority for a team who leak goals on a week by week basis.
Per Mertesacker is set to retire at the end of the season, Koscielny is injury and error prone, Calum Chambers proved again that he is not good enough to play for a top Premier League side, and 20-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding undoubtedly need some time out on loan.
A solid spine is the cornerstone of any successful football team and that is something Arsenal don't have right now. City managed to overcome the Gunners through simple route one football on Sunday and that is damning on Wenger's management nous more than anything.
The Europa League remains Arsenal's only realistic chance of winning a trophy this season and with a trip to the San Siro against AC Milan awaiting them, Wenger's chances of salvaging a final year at the club are beginning to look slimmer with every match.