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FA Cup Match Preview: Manchester City Vs Arsenal

Arsenal head to Manchester City on Friday night for their first meeting of the season with Pep Guardiola’s side, aiming to win at their home for the first time since January 2015.

City have defeated Arsenal in 13 of the 16 meetings under Pep Guardiola, but Arsenal two victories in that time have been at Wembley in FA Cup semi-final successes on our way to lifting the trophy in 2017 and 2020.

With a league encounter between the top two in the Premier League coming just 19 days after this one, both clubs will be looking to potentially gain an upper hand heading into that crunch game, as well as secure cup progress.

Jittery City turning a corner?

The reigning champions began the season in their usual imperious form, winning seven and drawing two of their first nine league games before suffering defeat against Liverpool. That combined with a shock last-minute loss 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 convincing 4-0 margin – before being knocked out of the Carabao Cup at Southampton and controversially losing to Manchester United on derby day. 

However, successive home wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves have seemingly turned things back around for Guardiola’s side as they aim to embark on one of their trademark lengthy winning runs. 

What the managers say

Arteta: “It’s a big match, and a big test for us against 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 there are going to be two very very different games [between the FA Cup and league matches], and to put similarities into them is very unreal. Maybe because of the players on the pitch, but as well the context is extremely different.”

Guardiola: “It’s more than Arsenal – it’s about proving ourselves – how is our level? When a team makes 50 points in one leg, it’s because they have been the best and they are.

“So we have to prove ourselves, how far away or how close we are and the best way to notice is to perform at our best level. Otherwise, against a team in that moment, it will be difficult.”

Team news

New signings Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior are eligible to play against City, but Gabriel Jesus will miss out on a trip to his former stomping ground, while Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny also remain sidelined.

City’s only worry concerns Phil Foden, who has missed their last two matches with a foot injury picked up in the recent Manchester derby. New signing Maximo Perrone is currently in action at the South American Under-20 Championships and has yet to link up with his new side.

Facts and stats

We have won our last four FA Cup games against Man City, and gone on to reach the final every time we’ve eliminated the Citizens, winning the trophy on the last three occasions (1971, 2017, 2020).

City have won their last nine home matches in the FA Cup, scoring at least three goals in every win and 40 goals in total. The only other team to have won 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.

We lost our last FA Cup match against a fellow Premier League side, 1-0 at Southampton in the 2020/21 fourth round. We’ve not lost consecutive such meetings in the 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 a brace in each of his last two ties at the Etihad (vs Fulham last February & Chelsea in this season’s third round).