Manchester City eliminate Arsenal and see FA Cup as biggest title chance

Erling Haaland and Manchester City teammates (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Erling Haaland and Manchester City teammates (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

Manchester City make it clear they will bank on the FA Cup as their biggest title chance of the season after knocking out Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium

The fourth round of the FA Cup reserved a big duel between Manchester City and Arsenal, the two best teams of the 2022/23 season of English football, in a clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola made the decision to field the best Manchester City possible, with just two changes from the win against Wolves on Sunday. Ortega won Ederson’s place and Ake replaced Laporte, while Phil Foden remains out because of a foot injury.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta made six changes from the side that beat Manchester United and many of the key starting players did not feature in this derby. Turner started in goal, with Tomiyasu, Holding, Tierney, Vieira and Trossard, who makes his full debut for the club.

Arsenal surprised in the first half with high pressure

Manchester City’s attempt to retain more of the possession and occupy the attacking midfield was expected, especially given their starting line-up with the squad’s key players.

However, Arsenal’s attacking approach in the first half surprised everyone and the Gunners had the best chances before the break, forcing two fine saves from Ortega through Tomiyasu and Trossard.

De Bruyne came closest to goal for the Citizens with a dangerous shot off the post, but Pep Guardiola’s side again ended a first half without any shots on target.

Arsenal’s high pressure caused problems for Manchester City, who showed little speed in moving the ball between the lines. In the final third of the pitch, the Citizens were harmless during the first half.

Manchester City upped the intensity and secured a favourable result

Both teams struggled in the early minutes of the second half with a lack of pace and above average fouls. However, the situation changed in Manchester City’s favour after Guardiola brought on Kyle Walker and Julian Alvarez.

Fitting the high pressure in front of their opponents, the Citizens nullified the Gunners and Nathan Aké took the opportunity to open the scoring, evading two defenders and curls his low shot past Turner and into the far post, all after Alvarez attempted a long half-volley and hit the post.

Arsenal controlled more possession in the closing minutes and had a big presence in the final third mainly due to Nketiah’s interventions, but Ortega underlined his fine performance with more fine saves to secure victory for Manchester City.

In the first duel between the two teams, Manchester City won. However, Arsenal will certainly take a different starting line-up into the next two most important duels in the Premier League.