Manchester City vs. Arsenal – Round One
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)
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)
- 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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