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Arsenal vs Manchester City. The FA Cup Semi-Final.

Wembley Stadium.

Arsenal 2

  • P Aubameyang (19th minute, 71st minute)

Manchester City 0

    Arsenal 2-0 Man City: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double sends Gunners to FA Cup final

    Report as Manchester City's dreams of a treble are ended by rejuvenated Gunners

    Arsenal
    Image: Arsenal reached the FA Cup final at Wembley

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double sent Arsenal to the FA Cup final after they showed the perfect mix of grit and guile to beat Manchester City 2-0.

    Fresh from beating Liverpool in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta's side had to defend for large parts of this semi-final but thwarted City and struck twice on the counter-attack through Aubameyang.

    The Gunners took the lead (19) when the striker finished a 18-pass move with a beautifully controlled finish at the back post before doubling the advantage (71) when breaking a lopsided City offside trap and nutmegging Ederson.

    City could have no complaints with the result as they rarely tested Emiliano Martínez, who was protected by an outstanding defensive performance led by David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.

    Player Ratings

    Arsenal: Martinez (7), Mustafi (8), Luiz (9), Tierney (9), Bellerin (7), Ceballos (8), Xhaka (8), Maitland-Niles (8), Pepe (8), Lacazette (7), Aubameyang (9)

    Subs: Torreira (N/A), Willock (N/A)

    Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (5), Garcia (6), Laporte (6), Mendy (5), Gundogan (6), D Silva (6), De Bruyne (7), Mahrez (5), Jesus (5), Sterling (5)

    Subs: Rodri (6), Foden (6)

    Man of the match: David Luiz

    Arsenal will play the winners of Sunday's second semi-final between Manchester United and Chelsea in the final - set to be played on Saturday August 1.

    How Arteta outfoxed Pep...

    Arsenal's last victory in this fixture was the FA Cup semi-final meeting in 2017, in between suffering seven straight defeats against Pep Guardiola's side. However, buoyed by a win over the champions on Wednesday, confidence was high.

    Shkodran Mustafi put his team in trouble when losing out to Raheem Sterling inside his own box but City couldn't take advantage. Possession was being dominated by City but they did little with it and the best chance of the early stages fell to Arsenal when Aubameyang was played onside as he collected Luiz's delivery but shot straight at Ederson.

    Also See:

    Team news

    • Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang returned to the starting XI after being rested against Liverpool with Mikel Arteta also preferring Ashley Maitland-Niles to play as the left-wing back.
    • Pep Guardiola reverted to his strongest XI for this Wembley clash with Kevin De Bruyne, Eric Garica, Ayermic Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez coming back into the team after missing the win over Bournemouth.

    Usually City don't allow you miss such chances but Aubameyang made amends moments later when steering the ball home from a tight angle following a brilliant cross from Nicolas Pepe that caught out Kyle Walker.

    Kevin De Bruyne summed up City's sloppiness when playing a rare loose ball straight to Alexandre Lacazette but Aubameyang couldn't find a way around Ederson.

    Guardiola sent his players out early for the second half and they upped the intensity but could not find the finish as Sterling squandered a glorious chance from 12 yards after some brilliant play from De Bruyne.

    Sterling then managed to miss from point-blank range when the ball bounced off the England forward following a De Bruyne corner. The Belgian maestro was now pulling the strings and David Silva was the next man to waste a fine chance, side-footing another De Bruyne cross wide from six yards.

    Arsenal were hanging on but they carried a huge threat on the break and sensationally doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining.

    Aubameyang, played onside by Benjamin Mendy, raced onto Tierney's superb ball over the top and sent Arsenal to their 21st FA Cup final.

    Man of the match: David Luiz

    Star man: David Luiz
    Image: Star man: David Luiz

    He's taken his fair share of criticism so it's only right to highlight and bang the drum on this immense individual showing from the Brazilian.

    Not only did he win 100 per cent of his aerial duels, he made 11 clearances as City peppered his box but were met by a colossus performance.

    His influence was infectious with Tierney alongside him stepping up to match his defensive brilliance and even the inconsistent Mustafi stepped up. If Arsenal can remain playing with this sort of cohesion and doggedness at the back, then the future could be exciting.

    'Arsenal were faultless'

    Sky Sports pundit Lee Hendrie:

    "There's no one I can fault in that Arsenal side. The work rate, the clinical finishes we've seen from Aubameyang, everything. Back to front, they set their stall out and it worked a treat.

    "They thoroughly deserved it and I'm pleased for Mikel Arteta, because he's had two games in the space of a week where they've showed they can compete. If they can add to that squad and play like they did, I'm talking about Luiz, Tierney, Mustafi at the back, if they can perform like that week-in, week-out, Arsenal have got a chance.

    "When Manchester City come up against pace, I've seen Jamie Vardy at Leicester do it, they seem to really struggle with the space they leave. They play some really fast, flowing football going forward - but we know they can get caught out.

    "I had Manchester City down to do the treble, I had a feeling they would. The league situation with Liverpool dominating, I felt they would do it, but there's a big rebuild there for Pep Guardiola."

    What the managers said

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "We are really happy with what has happened in the last four or five days. To beat probably the best two teams in Europe is the nicest thing to do so credit to the players for what they are doing, their performances and the level of fight they are showing.

    Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said: "You can lose football games but the way we lost especially in the first half means we are sad about this. We struggled to be there in the game in the first half. That's why we lost the game. If we played like we did in the second half with aggression and desire to win maybe it would have been different. These players have shown many things but in the first we didn't show it, they were not ready. Our performance against Bournemouth wasn't good and so was this first half. We are struggling to find our normal level. It doesn't take a genius to understand we will have to increase our standards against Real Madrid."

    Opta stats

    • City have been eliminated from a domestic cup tie (League Cup and FA Cup) for the first time since February 2018 (FA Cup 5th Round v Wigan), with this their 22nd such tie since that game.
    • City had just one shot on target in this match, their fewest in a game since April 2018 in the Champions League against Liverpool (0).
    • Pepe has been involved in 17 goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season (8 goals, 9 assists) - only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (27) has been involved in more.

    What's next?

    Live Premier League

    Arsenal finish their Premier League season with fixtures against Aston Villa (a) on Wednesday and Watford (h) on Sunday. Meanwhile, Manchester City face Watford (h) on Tuesday and Norwich (h) on the final day. All four games are live on Sky Sports.

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