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Arsenal v Man City: Scouting Report

Manchester City will face Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday but what do we know about Arsene Wenger’s side ahead of the clash?

City and Arsenal will be competing for the second place in next month’s final after Chelsea and Tottenham have contested Saturday’s first semi.

Recent form

Since City and Arsenal played out an end-to-end 2-2 draw at the Emirates earlier this month, Arsenal have won twice and lost heavily at Crystal Palace.

Just a few days after goals from Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi had cancelled out the strikes of Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero, Arsenal put three past West Ham.

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They followed that up with the 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park before getting back on track on Monday night with a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough.

Despite that, the Gunners sit in sixth place in the Premier League and trail fourth-placed City by seven points – although they do have a game in hand on Pep Guardiola’s Blues.

How did they get here?

Arsenal, winners of the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015, have been judged across the game to have had a reasonable route to Wembley.

They began their story with a 2-1 victory at Preston North End’s Deepdale before an impressive 5-0 thumping of Southampton. Arsenal then came up against two non-league sides, Sutton United and Lincoln City, and saw them off 2-0 and 5-0 respectively to reach the final four.

That means Wenger’s team have a highly respectable goal difference of +13 in their four matches in the FA Cup this season.

Missing stars

Spain international Santi Cazorla has been a long-term absentee for Arsenal. The creative midfielder has undergone ankle surgery and the North London side have missed his guile and innovation from his deep midfield position. This has often left Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin, both perhaps noted for their off-the-ball tenacity rather than Cazorla-like composure, at the base of the midfield.

Also likely to be unavailable for Arsenal are goalkeeper David Ospina and forwards Lucas Perez and Danny Welbeck.

Potential formation

Up until Monday night, Arsenal’s setup had been set in stone for a number of years. Arsene Wenger had been famed for lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation until he deployed a three-man central defence at Middlesbrough.

Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel all started at the Riverside with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal acting as wing-backs.

When asked if he may use the same system at Wembley, Wenger was coy: "It's an option, yes. But what will I do? You will understand I won't tell you now."

Who to look out for

Theo Walcott’s five goals make him Arsenal’s top scorer in the FA Cup whereas Alexis Sanchez leads the overall rankings with 23 strikes across all competitions. Pep Guardiola will be well aware of the Chilean’s talents having signed him for Barcelona in 2011.

Another of Arsenal’s key stars is five-time Germany Player of the Year Mesut Ozil. Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in 2013, the attacking midfielder has contributed 39 assists in the Premier League and often been compared to City’s maestro David Silva.

Silva and Ozil are the artistic hubs for both their club and international sides and the performance of their side can depend on how well they perform. Will that be the case once more on Sunday?

We’ll have full build-up and coverage of Arsenal v Manchester City in the FA Cup on mancity.com!


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