Man City 1-0 Arsenal: Cityzens Edge Past Gunners

Watch Nathan Ake goal for Manchester City vs Arsenal in FA Cup - Futbol on  FanNation

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference (via Arsenal.com)

Final Result: Man City 1-0 Arsenal (Ake 64′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Turner; Tomiyasu, Holding (Saliba 46′), Gabriel, Tierney (Zinchenko 66′); Partey (Sambi Lokonga 46′), Xhaka; Saka (Odegaard 74′), F. Vieira, Trossard (Martinelli 66′); Nketiah

The biggest talking points about the heavyweight clash between Man City and Arsenal was going to be the team selection, and Pep Guardiola left no stone unturned as he fielded a fully-fledged first team lineup with Erling Haaland leading the line. Mikel Arteta on the other hand made wholesale changes from the nerve-racking win over Manchester United, giving starts to Matt Turner in goal, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Rob Holding in defense, Fabio Vieira as the creative hub of the team, and Leandro Trossard earning his full first team debut.

Despite Man City having more possession in the final third, Arsenal had the better chances in the proceedings and almost got the lead from an unlikely source when Tomiyasu was clean on goal at the edge of the box and put his laced through the ball, but Stefan Ortega was on hand to make a strong save. Trossard was close to opening his goalscoring account with a left footed goal bound drive but Ortega was on hand yet again to make a superb save.

There were couple of times when Matt Turner was called into action, but the theme of the first half was the battle between Haaland and Holding. The Viking forward got the better of the Saxon defender times without number, to the point, Holding earned himself a booking, then I started getting some White Hart Lane vibes from last season when the defender was sent off for two bookable offenses.

At the start of the second half, Arteta made two changes that had a direct influence on the game, with William Saliba replacing Holding and Albert Sambi Lokonga replacing Partey.
Lokonga has been getting some stick from the Arsenal faithful following his inconsistent performances, and he was on show yesterday, putting up another questionable display that would do nothing to help his cause.

The deadlock was finally broken from an I unlikely source after some good work from Jack Grealish on the byline, he fed Nathan Ake that used his weaker foot to cushion the ball past Turner in the Arsenal goal. Ake was having a stormer in left back, quelling the threat of the usually dangerous Bukayo Saka.

Arteta summoned the calvary with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard entering the fray, but Man City held to see the game through.

In the end, the stats showed how it was a very tight contest with Man City have eight shots with three on target, while Arsenal had five shots with two on target. The xG data was very close with Man City edging Arsenal with 0.51 to 0.35.

This is certainly a precursor to the all important clash in mid-february, but it’s fair to say that Round One of this boxing clash has gone to Man City. Mikel Arteta spoke about how proud he was of his players, and from the game it was very evident that they gave a very good account of themselves against the best team in the land. 

Arsenal has two fixtures against Everton, who are close to appointing the agent of Satanball, Sean Dyche, as well as hosting the impressive Brentford that beat Man City in their home turf, before hosting the Cityzens.

With the FA Cup out of the picture, Arsenal has only the League and Europa League to compete, and Arteta will want his charges to go all the way in both competitions.

Sayonara.

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Manchester City vs. Arsenal – Round One

Arsenal, Manchester City 'agree £30m Oleksandr Zinchenko deal' - Sports Mole

Formerly opponents, now teammates

The FA Cup Fourth round tie between Manchester City and Arsenal are in more ways than one synonymous to a three rounds heavyweight fight between two fierce boxers, and the spectators know fully well a knock out is imminent and very close by, indeed. Arsenal has emerged as the biggest threats to Manchester City title defense and it’s expected that these juggernauts are likely to meet each other in other domestic competitions. 

The last time Arsenal and Manchester City locked horns in the latter stages of the FA Cup, ex-captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, was the hero, scoring a brace which sent the Gunners to the finals of the tournament, before the captain was on song again in the finals against Chelsea.

Following Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph in the 2019-20 campaign, the Gunners failed to defend the trophy in the next season, losing to Southampton in the fourth round, while Manchester City went all the way to the semifinals and lost to eventual losing finalists, Chelsea. Last season, Arsenal dropped off at the first hurdle, losing to Nottingham Forest, while Manchester City went all the way to the semifinals again, and bowed out to Liverpool in a pulsating encounter. 

The cup tie is the very first round where both fighters throw jabs and shuffle around, aiming to test the strength, observe any weakness, and no one is particularly in a hurry to go for the jugular. Arsenal and Manchester City also have another date with destiny in mid-February, which is certain to have a greater impact than tonight’s clash in the FA Cup. This is the first meeting between the two sides this season, with Arsenal being in superb form, and Mikel Arteta will be looking to get one over his counterpart, Pep Guardiola when they lock horns once again.

Manchester City will welcome an in-form Arsenal side, who dispatched lower-tiered Oxford United in the previous round of the competition, before recently posting victories over fierce local rivals, Tottenham, and eternal rivals, Manchester United, in what could potentially go down as the match of the season contender.

Manchester City come into the match after a rather surprisingly comfortable drubbing of Chelsea in the previous round, and they will be more than to glad to see top marksman and runaway golden boot winner, Erling Haaland, back among the goals as he banged a hattrick at the weekend to see off a hapless Wolves side.

To team news, Manchester City’s midfield maestro, Phil Foden, is a doubt with a foot injury, but the likes of Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva are expected to start after they only made the bench in the 3-0 victory over Wolves. Stefan Ortega has been the cup keeper this season, and I’d expect him to get the nod over Ederson, while World Cup winning forward, Julian Alvarez , could continue up front with Erling Haaland.

Arteta might shuffle the pack slightly, bringing in the likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith-Rowe that is due for a start after quite a lengthy injury layoff. New kid on the block, Leandro Trossard, will be expected to make his full debut after impressing in his cameo against Manchester United.

Manchester City vs Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Manchester City: Ortega; Walker, Dias, Akanji, Ake; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Haaland, Alvarez.

Arsenal: Turner; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka, Smith Rowe; Trossard, Nketiah, Vieira.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Manchester City: Phil Foden (foot)

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Reiss Nelson (thigh), Gabriel Jesus (knee)

Form Guide

Manchester City Form

  • Last Five Games:  W L L W W
  • Last Result: Man City 3-0 Wolves (Haaland 40′, 50′ (pk), 54′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Erling Haaland (31)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W D W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United (Nketiah 24′, 90′, Saka 53′ | Rashford 17′, Martinez 59′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Eddie Nketiah (9)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 2 draw.

Kick Off – 9.00pm (GMT +1) at Etihad Stadium.

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Elneny’s Injury Makes Central Midfield Signing a Priority

Arsenal 'assessing Elneny knee injury ahead of Man United clash'

In the past couple of seasons, Arsenal has been desperately unlucky with its central midfield contingent. In the latter years of Arsene Wenger’s reign, the defensive lynchpin of the team, Alexandre Song, left for pastures anew, allowing academy graduate, Francis Coquelin, an extended run in the side alongside the aging genius, Santi Cazorla. With the arrival of Unai Emery, Arsenal already had the likes of the Swiss Player of the Year, Granit Xhaka, and Mohamed Elneny, but the new gaffer added the tenacious defensive dynamo, Lucas Torreira, and the cultured midfielder, Matteo Guendouzi, to our ranks, and the team was quite stacked in that position.

With Mikel Arteta taking over from the ruins left by Mr. Good Ebening, Torreira quickly fell out of favor and was shipped around on loan to Italian clubs, while some disciplinary issues with Guendouzi saw the French prospect shipped away to Hertha Berlin in Germany, before finding a home for himself at Olymique Marseille. Arteta plugged a giant sized hole in the midfield with the acquisition of Thomas Partey but the midfield has suffered a litany of injuries in his fledgling Arsenal career, which has kept Arsenal fans on the edge in regard to his fitness issues.

When Partey suffered an injury last Spring, Arsenal had to rely on Mohamed Elneny to hold the fort, following Albert Sambi Lokonga’s underwhelming display in the home defeat to Brighton. Elneny featured consistently and did his bit to provide cover, even though his football wasn’t similar to what Partey offered. Early in the season, Elneny missed out for almost three months with an injury, and luckily, Partey featured consistently this campaign, and also featured for Ghana in the FIFA World Cup without any major injuries. 

Mikel Arteta was also concerned going into the new season without a credible backup for Partey with Elneny injured, so the Gunners made a late push for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz which fell through before the window was closed. This January transfer window, Arsenal has been heavily linked with moves for Declan Rice, Martin Zubimendi and Weston McKennie, and these defensive midfielders that can be adequate covers for Partey when the inevitable happens. 

While I remain hopeful that we can have our midfield general for the entirety of the campaign, the fact that the Gunners are still in the FA Cup and Europa League essentially means that Partey’s minutes have to be managed, and Elneny’s injury, as well as the sheer lack of trust in Lokonga following his inconsistent performances, signing a new central midfielder in the remaining days of the January transfer window is a priority.

Jakub Kiwior is adept playing as a defensive midfielder, so he would be a stop-gap option if the Gunners fail to secure a central midfielder this window. However, with the decisiveness shown in the acquisitions of Leandro Trossard and Kiwior this window, I’m pretty confident that Edu and his team can come through with what we need.

Sayonara.

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