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Manchester City vs Arsenal. The FA Cup Fourth Round.

Etihad StadiumAttendance51,694.

Manchester City 1

  • N Aké (64th minute)

Arsenal 0

    Man City 1-0 Arsenal: Nathan Ake's second-half strike earns Pep Guardiola's side FA Cup win over their Premier League title rivals

    Match report as Nathan Ake finds the bottom corner to send Manchester City into the FA Cup fifth-round draw; Julian Alvarez hit the woodwork moments earlier but hosts struggled to break down a much-changed Arsenal at the Etihad; title-chasing teams meet in Premier League on February 15

    Manchester City's Nathan Ake celebrates with Jack Grealish after scoring against Arsenal
    Image: Manchester City's Nathan Ake celebrates with Jack Grealish after scoring the winner against Arsenal

    Nathan Ake was Manchester City's unlikely match-winner in their 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup, helping his side to perhaps land a psychological blow on the Premier League leaders ahead of their top-flight clash next month.

    Mikel Arteta prioritised Arsenal's title challenge with his team selection, resting six regulars for the trip to the Etihad, but a strong City XI struggled to find a way through until defender Ake passed the ball into the bottom corner (64) after sub Julian Alvarez had struck a post.

    Guardiola had appeared less than impressed with his side's first-half performance, which saw Leandro Trossard catch the eye on his first Arsenal start and ended with John Stones appearing to suffer a hamstring injury. But the City head coach eventually got the better of his former assistant Arteta as the home side edged through.

    After a shock exit to Southampton in the Carabao Cup, City will now be favourites to win this competition and add to their six FA Cup successes with a second under Guardiola. The draw for the fifth round will take place on Monday, with ties played in the week commencing February 27.

    This was far from the thrilling contest Arsenal had been in with City's neighbours Manchester United last weekend but it added extra intrigue to their upcoming Premier League clash, with February 15 circled as a key date for the destination of the 2022/23 crown.

    Arsenal will be disappointed to have been knocked out of the cup - but will hope that, at full strength, they are able to build on the positive aspects of this performance to be the ones celebrating when these sides meet again in a couple of weeks' time.

    Player ratings

    Man City: Ortega (8), Lewis (6), Stones (6), Akanji (7), Ake (8), Rodri (6), Gundogan (6), De Bruyne (6), Mahrez (6), Haaland (6), Grealish (7).

    Subs: Laporte (7), Alvarez (7), Walker (5), Bernardo Silva (6)

    Arsenal: Turner (6), Tomiyasu (6), Holding (6), Gabriel (6), Tierney (6), Partey (6), Xhaka (6), Vieira (5), Saka (5), Trossard (8), Nketiah (6)

    Subs: Saliba (6), Lokonga (6), Zinchenko (6), Martinelli (7), Odegaard (6)

    Man of the match: Nathan Ake

    How City knocked Arsenal out of the Cup...

    Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane called Arteta's team selection "a huge gamble" before kick-off, criticising the number of changes the Arsenal head coach made to his defence amid suggestions a heavy defeat could dent the Gunners' mindset for their Premier League campaign. Arsenal fans will remember a 2007/08 title challenge unravelling after a weakened team lost heavily in the cup at Manchester United.

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    Team news

    • Manchester City fielded a strong team, with just two changes from their Premier League win over Wolves. Stefan Ortega replaced Ederson in goal and Nathan Ake came in for Aymeric Laporte.
    • Arsenal rested six regulars for this cup tie, with Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Oleksandr Zinchenko, William Saliba, captain Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli benched. Leandro Trossard made his first start.

    But the re-jigged visitors equipped themselves well, despite Rob Holding needing to be subbed off at half-time after his physical approach to marking Erling Haaland led to him being booked and walking a disciplinary tightrope during the final stages of the opening period.

    Rob Holding struggled to cope with Erling Haaland
    Image: Rob Holding was booked during a physical first-half battle with Erling Haaland

    He'd done well to limit City's top scorer to an ambitious acrobatic effort and lob over the bar in the first 45 but Arteta perhaps had last season's north London derby in mind, when Holding was dismissed during a damaging defeat.

    Kevin De Bruyne came closest for City before the break, bending a beauty beyond the post. But it was Arsenal posing the real threat in that period, with Trossard impressing down the left as he teed up Takehiro Tomiyasu and Eddie Nketiah and tested Stefan Ortega himself.

    Manchester City's John Stones leaves the field
    Image: John Stones was forced off injured before the break

    It was City who eventually made the breakthrough in the second half, though, with Alvarez rocketing an effort against the base of a post soon after being sent on and Jack Grealish then twisting and turning before feeding Ake to calmly roll the ball beyond Matt Turner's reach.

    Arteta sent for key men Oleksandr Zinchenko - back at his old club - and Gabriel Martinelli and the Gunners almost responded just moments later, when Granit Xhaka's pass looked perfect for Nketiah before Stones' replacement Aymeric Laporte nipped in.

    Martinelli seemed to be Arsenal's most likely route to goal in the final stages but there was no way back for the 14-time winners of the FA Cup. Their focus will now be firmly on their Premier League challenge for the coming weeks until European competition resumes, while City dream of domestic success on multiple fronts.

    When is the draw and when are the FA Cup fifth round ties?

    The FA Cup fifth round draw takes place on Monday evening with ties set to take place week commencing February 27.

    Guardiola: A tight game against a really difficult opponent

    Man City boss Pep Guardiola on ITV: "Tight game. A really difficult opponent, they make it man-to-man. We realised it was difficult to make the process because our man free was the goalkeeper but the contribution from Kyle and Bernardo was so important to help us to control the game and play long balls a little bit better."

    Arteta: We had big situations we didn't put away

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on ITV: "We're disappointed. We could have got much more from the game but an action decided a game that was really tight and competitive. Unfortunately we are out.

    "We had quite a lot of control in the second half and we had big situations we didn't put them away and in those games you need to do that.

    "We can take a lot of positives. I think the way we approached the game and the way we competed in the game was really good because it's very tough to do that against this incredible team and we played face-to-face with them."

    Asked what they need to learn from this game, he said: "In the big moments in big matches you have to make the difference and that's how you win against these teams."

    Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, left, challenges for the ball with Arsenal's Gabriel during the English FA Cup 4th round soccer match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
    Image: Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez challenges for the ball with Arsenal's Gabriel

    Keane: FA Cup not Arsenal's priority but defeat will hurt for next few days

    Roy Keane on ITV: "It was hard to gauge Arsenal tonight because of the team they put out. Looking at the starting line-up you could sense that this was not their priority. They want to get that Premier League title.

    "But I know the players are going to be down for the next few days as they don't want to get beat.

    "They'll recover and if they go on to win the league, they'll say they had to sacrifice this game, but when you make so many changes particularly defensively, you send the message that you're not that bothered - which is not a good message to send."

    What's next?

    Manchester City's next game is in the Premier League, with a trip to Tottenham on Sunday February 5, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

    Live Premier League

    Pep Guardiola's side then have a week's break before they host Aston Villa on Sunday February 12, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

    Arsenal's next outing is also in the Premier League, with a trip to Everton on Saturday February 4; kick-off 12.30pm.

    The Gunners than face London rivals Brentford on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.

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