FA Cup Preview: Arsenal v Manchester City

Mesut Ozil Arsenal

Arsenal will want to salvage their season with a place in the FA Cup final by beating Manchester City in the second semi-final, on Sunday.

FA Cup
23 April 2017
Kickoff: 16:00
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Referee: C. Pawson
Assistants: S. Bennett, S. Child
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Head-to-head summary:


Arsenal 171 87 42 42
Manchester City 171 42 42 87

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City (02/04/2017) Premier League

Arsenal goalscorers: T. Walcott (40′), S. Mustafi (53′)

Manchester City goalscorers: L. Sane (5′), S. Aguero (42′)

Players to watch:

Goals have been shared among the Arsenal players en route to this match, but Theo Walcott stands out as one to watch for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger has been known to use this tournament to utilise a number of his fringe players, and Walcott has thrived alongside those teammates, netting five goals in just three games.

It doesn’t matter what competition you put him in, Sergio Aguero seems to thrive. He has four from four in the FA Cup this season to sit alongside his 25 goals from a total of 39 games. Along with what livewire Leroy Sane can bring to City’s attack, Arsenal should be in a for a trying afternoon.

Team form and manager quotes:

Much has been made of Arsenal’s dip in form in recent weeks, with Wenger’s side coming into this tie in sixth place in the Premier League standings. Their humbling by Bayern Munich in the Champions League comes alongside a number of league losses, although they overcame Middlesbrough 2-1 the last time out.

The FA Cup though remains one shining light, with wins over Preston North End, Southampton, Sutton United and Lincoln City. This is their third FA Cup semi-final in the past four seasons – and 11th for Wenger, which includes six final wins.

Manchester City came through a recent league blip of two draws and a loss, as well as their exit from the Champions League, to record two wins. They beat Hull and Southampton to edge away from Manchester United in fifth place.

Their fallen FA Cup opponents were West Ham, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough. They have won this famous competition five times, with their last success in 2011, where they beat Stoke City in the final.

Wenger said: “Going to Wembley is always a special experience.

“When our supporters go to Wembley, I think it’s a special occasion in their lives. You want them to come out there and be pleased by having a positive experience.

“On our side, we want to win the game. It’s important that you go into big games and feel you can win them. That’s something that’s vital in the players’ heads, for their careers, for their confidence and for their self-esteem. It’s something special.”

City boss Pep Guardiola added: “For all clubs, titles are so important.

“Of course, titles help to win confidence that the club is able to do great things. Winning titles gives you the self-confidence to say we’re good enough to compete. Whether we win the trophy or not, nothing will change in terms of expectations for us.

“I would like to win the FA Cup so my players realise how good they are. At the moment, they don’t realise how good they are, but winning titles helps this. When you win a title, it’s a lot of stress and pressure, and if you handle that the next time it will be a little bit easier. That’s why it’s important.”

Team news:

Danny Welbeck (toe) is a doubt for Arsenal but Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) is out, along with David Ospina (back) and Lucas Perez (thigh), while Jeff Reine-Adelaide continues to recover from his long-term ankle injury.

Manchester City will be without John Stones (muscle) but Gabriel Jesus (metatarsal) is in contention.