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Road to Wembley – Arsenal vs Man City FA Cup semi-final preview

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This year’s FA Cup semi-finals should be called the clash of titans with four of the biggest teams in English football competing in the oldest national football competition in the world. Arsenal would tackle Manchester City while the other fixture is between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Arsenal and Manchester City square off at Wembley on Saturday evening with the aim of becoming our first confirmed Emirates FA Cup Finalist in 2020.

There’s already a degree of familiarity between the clubs, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta having worked under City manager Pep Guardiola for three years before making the move to the Emirates Stadium earlier this year.

Pep Guardiola says Mikel Arteta is “creating something unique” at Arsenal and feels the Gunners will challenge for trophies under the Spaniard.

There is no better person to do the job than Mikel,” says Guardiola. “They have team spirit. Mikel has created.”

City lost their Premier League crown to Liverpool this season but have won the EFL Cup already and are looking to retain the FA Cup.

Although Arsenal have claimed the FA Cup a record 13 times, most recently in 2017, they have not won the league since 2003-04 under Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman left the club in May 2018 and was replaced by Unai Emery, who lasted 18 months before he was sacked and replaced by Arteta.

It’s one of the elite clubs in English football of the last 20 or 30 years,” says Guardiola. “I’m pretty sure [Arteta is] the right person to bring them back to the position of before.

From the outside – maybe I am wrong – but what I see in their games, how they celebrate, how they fight for every single ball, they are creating something special for this club. Everybody fights for each other.

I have a feeling he is creating something unique and if he can be supported by the club in terms of investment, and get the players that they need, they’ll be a contender for the next years.

Arsenal head into the game filled with confidence having beaten new champions Liverpool 2-1 in the league on Wednesday, but have a wretched recent record against City.

The Gunners have lost their past seven games to Guardiola’s men, conceding 20 goals and scoring just twice.

Asked whether he was worried about the record, Arteta replies: “Yes, but if I look at the trends as well before we played Liverpool, with the calendar year or the last two calendar years that they’ve had, you get depressed.

What I need now is energy to transmit to my players, belief and it’s the FA Cup – we have a lot of experience here and we have a history related to that. Let’s go for it.

I want to focus on what we want to do. If I worry too much about them, it’s not the message that I want to send to the players.”

Team news

Arsenal have no fresh injury worries ahead of their FA Cup semi-final with holders Manchester City but the Gunners will be without suspended striker Eddie Nketiah and full-back Cedric Soares, who is cup-tied having featured in the competition for Southampton earlier in the campaign.

Pablo Mari (ankle), Bernd Leno, Gabriel Martinelli, and Calum Chambers (all knee) are definite absentees and it remains to be seen if Mesut Ozil will be involved having returned to training following a back complaint.

Manchester City’s second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who regularly features in domestic cup matches, has been ruled out with a muscular injury, therefore, regular number one choice Ederson will play with veteran Scott Carson on the bench.

Right-back Joao Cancelo has overcome a knock but striker Sergio Aguero (knee) remains on the sidelines.

Stats and facts heading into the match

  • Arsenal have progressed from nine of their last 12 FA Cup semi-final ties, losing out in 1999, 2004 (both v Manchester United) and 2009 (v Chelsea). Each of the last eight teams to beat Arsenal at the semi-final stage has gone on to win the trophy, in a run stretching back to 1907.
  • Manchester City have won 10 of their last 12 FA Cup semi-final matches, with their two defeats in that time coming against Arsenal (1932 and 2017).
  • Arsenal are playing in their 30th FA Cup semi-final – no side has ever played in more. They’ve reached the final on 20 occasions, which is also a joint record (level with Manchester United for both).
  • Arsenal have lost their last seven meetings with Manchester City in all competitions, by an aggregate score of 2-20. Only against Leeds have Arsenal ever lost more consecutive matches in their history (two runs of 8).
  • Manchester City’s last defeat against Arsenal in all competitions was in an FA Cup semi-final, throwing away a 1-0 lead to lose 1-2 in 2017, with Arsenal going on to beat Chelsea in the final.
  • This is just the fifth FA Cup meeting between Man City and Arsenal, with Man City winning the first in February 1904, and Arsenal winning the subsequent three (March 1932, February 1971 and April 2017).
  • Holders Man City are looking to reach the FA Cup final in consecutive years for the third time, also doing so in 1933/1934 and 1955/1956. The Citizens are unbeaten in their last nine matches at Wembley Stadium, last losing against Arsenal in the 2017 FA Cup semi-final.
  • Arsenal have beaten/eliminated the holders of the FA Cup each of the last five times they’ve faced them, with this their first such match since the 2014 semi-final against Wigan Athletic.
  • Four of Arsenal’s seven FA Cup goals this season have been scored by players under the age of 21 – the most of any side from the first round proper (Bukayo Saka x1, Eddie Nketiah x2, Reiss Nelson x1).
  • Man City’s Phil Foden has had a hand in seven goals in just six FA Cup appearances (4 goals, 3 assists), averaging a goal involvement every 57 minutes in the competition.

Prediction

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City

1 Comment
  1. Deji says

    We can’t wait for the manchester derby final.

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