People who think Manchester City will beat Arsenal easily are wrong: Pep Guardiola
Ahead of Manchester City's clash against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final, read the match preview, team news, lineup prediction, record at Wembley and more below.
Manchester City will travel to their ‘home in the South’ once again tomorrow evening for the FA Cup semi-final clash against Arsenal. Having lost the Premier League title already and having given a hint of board’s displeasure over the points gap, Pep Guardiola would be aware of the importance of winning this competition now, not that he ever takes a game casually.
Both teams come into this game on the back of wins, albeit in an unexpected fashion. While Arsenal beat Liverpool against everyone’s expectations by capitalizing on uncharacteristic defensive mistakes from the current champions, Manchester City were dominated by 18th ranked Bournemouth who managed more shots than Manchester City, the first time that’s happened in a home league game under Pep.
A win for Manchester City would set a 2nd consecutive FA Cup final date with either Manchester United or Chelsea, who are due to play Sunday. The final will be played on August 1 at Wembley.
Since the restart, Manchester City have played 9 games, winning 7 while losing on 2 occasions. The blues have scored an impressive 27 goals during this time while conceding just 4, keeping 6 clean sheets in the process.
Arsenal on the other hand, have won 5 games, lost 3 and drawn 1. The gunners have scored 15 goals and conceded 10 with just 3 clean sheets to their name.
Head to Head
Manchester City are currently on a 7-game winning run against the Gunners, dating back to November, 2017. The Manchester side has put 3 goals past their Saturday’s opponents on 6 of those occasions while also keeping a clean sheet 5 times.
The last time these two met in FA Cup was also the semi-final on April 23, 2017. Manchester City lost the game 2-1 after a controversial decision that saw a legitimate goal being ruled out for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Record at Wembley
Under Pep, Manchester City have an excellent record the Wembley, played there 8 times in Cup competitions and winning 7 of them. The defeat to Arsenal in 2017 was Pep’s first and only defeat at the stadium. In total, the Blues have scored 16 goals and lifted 6 Silverware there.
Pep Guardiola: "The FA Cup is a more historical and beautiful cup. We are one step closer to getting to another final and we are going to try and do a good game tomorrow.
"Arsenal are one of the top clubs of the last 20 or 30 years. I have a feeling that with Mikel Arteta can make them a big challenger again. They are wrong (on asked about people who have said Manchester City will beat Arsenal easily)."
Mikel Arteta: "That’s what we will try to do as much as possible (exploit Manchester City's weaknesses). Like any other team, they have some weaknesses as you mentioned and as well, it’s about stopping their strengths, which they have a lot of. This is part of any gameplan, it’s not about City or any other opponent that we’re facing, and on Saturday we will do exactly the same."
Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli and Pablo Mari are all ruled, while Mesut Ozil is doubtful, to Arsenal's advantage.
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero and Claudio Bravo are out through injuries while Joao Cancelo has recovered from his leg injury and is expected to be back in the squad.
Having rested several key players against Bournemouth, most of the lineup picks itself for this game. Eric Garcia, who has established himself as somewhat the first choice CB alongside Laporte looks certain to start.
David Silva's recent form should mean another start for him and only a bench spot for Bernardo, Foden and Gundogan.In attack, there aren't many choices with Leroy Sané gone and Aguero injured so expect Sterling, Jesus and Mahrez to be the front 3.
In addition, Claudio Bravo’s injury means Ederson will start in goal, as confirmed by Pep.
4-3-3: Ederson; Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, De Bruyne, David Silva; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus.
Subs: Carson, Cancelo, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Foden, Bernardo
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry, Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
Reserve Assistant: Nick Hopton
VAR: Craig Pawson
Assistant VAR: Gary Beswick
Date: Sunday, July 19
Kickoff: 00.15 IST
TV: Sony Ten 2, Ten 3