On Friday night we head to Manchester City for the first meeting of the season with Pep Guardiola’s side looking for their first home win since January 2015.
Since then, City have beaten us in 13 of 16 meetings under Pep Guardiola, but the two victories in that season were at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final successes on the way to lifting the trophy in 2017 and 2020.
With the League meeting between the top two in the Premier League just 19 days after this one, both clubs will aim to break the upper power into the hunt, and then secure progress to the cup.
Jittery city turning a corner?
The reigning champions started the season in their usual dominant form, winning seven and drawing two of their first nine league games before defeat against Liverpool. That combined with a draw against Brentford in November and a draw against struggling Everton the following month, both at the Etihad, saw them lose ground at the top of the table.
This month they beat Chelsea in both the league and the cup – the latter by a clear 4-0 margin – before knocking Southampton out of the Carabao Cup and losing to controversial Manchester United on derby day.
However, successive home wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves are once again looking around for Guardiola’s side as they aim to embark on one of their longest winning runs.
What the managers say
Arteta: “It is a great match and a great test against us, in my opinion, the best football team in the world. I’m looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are.
“I think it’s going to be two very different games.” [between the FA Cup and league matches]and to place similitudes in them is very false. Maybe it’s because of the players, but the context is very different. – read everything he had to say in the press conference
Guardiola: “It’s more than Arsenal – to prove ourselves – how is the level? When a team scores 50 points in one leg, it’s because they were and are the best.
“That is why we have to prove how far or how close we are, and to observe the best way to act at our level. Otherwise, it will be difficult against the team at that time.”
New signings Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior may be selected to play against City, but Gabriel Jesus will miss the trip to his former ground, while Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny are also sidelined.
City’s only concern concerns Phil Foden, who has picked up the last two matches with his injured foot in the late Manchester derby. New signing Maximo Perrone is currently in action at the South American Under-20 Championships and is yet to join the new side.
Things and stats
We have won the FA Cup in the last four games against Man City, and we have reached the final every season, winning the trophy on the last three occasions (1971, 2017, 2020).
City have won their last nine home games in the FA Cup, scoring at least three goals in every tie and 40 goals in total. The only other team to win nine home games in a row while scoring 3+ goals in FA Cup history is Blackburn Rovers between 1881 and 1885, a run of 12.
You lost your last FA Cup match against a fellow Premier League side, 1-0 at Southampton in the 2020/21 fourth round. We have not lost consecutive such meetings in competition since January 2010 (vs Stoke) and March 2011 (vs Man Utd).
Riyad Mahrez has been involved in seven goals in his last five FA Cup appearances (6 goals, 1 assist) and has netted in each of his last two ties at the Etihad (vs Fulham last February & Chelsea in the third round this season). .
For the second time this season, Paul Tierney took charge of us in Manchester following our 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in September.
We suffered that fourth successive loss under his stewardship, although we won six of the 14 games he played between us.
VAR in action for this game
- Referee: Paul Tierney
- Assistant Coach 1: Constantine Hatzidakis
- Referee Vote 2: Neil Davies
- Fourth Official: Robert Jones
- VAR: John Brooks
- Assistant VAR: Henry Lennard
Classic wins the cup in the city
While our record against the nationals on the turf in recent years has not been great, we have enjoyed plenty of success against them in Wembley’s neutral cup competition.
Our last two meetings in the FA Cup took place under the spotlight at the semi-final stage, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice to seal a 2-0 win in July 2020 after we enjoyed a 2-1 win after extra time in 2016/17.
We also lifted the Community Shield in August 2014 with a 3-0 success in the national stadium at the expense of City, with Mikel Arteta climbing the famous steps to collect silverware.
See all of this, plus our league wins and top-of-the-city finishes in our story
Tune in on Arsenal.com and the official app from 7pm on Friday as Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke at the Emirates Stadium will be the perfect build-up for any Gooner.
They will look back at our performances against Manchester United, focus on what our new standards will bring to the side and look back at our FA Cup record over the years reminiscing about the classic cups.
From then on from 8pm, Dan Roebuck and Jonathon Rogers will be in live commentary at the Etihad Stadium, watching you watch every step of the way as the FA Cup draws in the fifth round.
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