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Arsenal vs Manchester City: FA Cup semi-final preview, likely line-ups and score prediction


Arsenal vs Manchester City: FA Cup semi-final preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

For two managers who have experienced disappointing seasons, perhaps the most disappointing of their careers, the opportunity to reach the FA Cup final and have a shot at winning a trophy could be a saving grace.

Having beaten Arsene Wenger’s team at the Etihad and drawn at the Emirates, Manchester City will be looking to make it four games unbeaten against Arsenal for only the second time since 1978 to help them reach the FA Cup final for the first time since they were beaten by Wigan in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Gunners will want to make it three FA Cup wins in four years after winning the trophy in 2014 and 2015.

Recent Form

With only two wins since they saw off Lincoln City in the quarter-final, Arsenal have found good form hard to come by of late.

Defeats to West Brom and Crystal Palace have created concern at the Emirates despite the wins over Middlesbrough and West Ham. Having played non-league sides in the last two rounds, the Gunners have had perhaps the easiest route to the semi-finals, coming from behind to beat Preston North End in the third round to meet Southampton in the fourth round where they thrashed the south coast side.

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Two convincing wins over Hull City and Southampton have helped Manchester City put defeat to Chelsea behind them after a tough run of fixtures saw them knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco whilst also picking up draws against Liverpool and Arsenal.

Huddersfield Town forced the blue half of Manchester into a replay in the fifth round of the tournament, but the Citizens have made light work of Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and West Ham to reach this stage.

Predicted Line-Ups

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Arsene Wenger is expected to stick with the new formation which he trialed at Middlesbrough, with Rob Holding’s strong display likely to have earned him a starting place at Wembley. Mohammed Elneny could replace Aaron Ramsey in midfield to add more strength whilst Danny Welbeck will fight with Olivier Giroud over the starting place up front.

Willy Caballero will be hoping to come into the side to replace Claudio Bravo after appearing to fall behind in the pecking order in the Premier League, but Guardiola is expected to stick with the Chilean in an unchanged line-up for the Citizens with injury doubts affecting John Stones.

Team News

Arsene Wenger’s selection headache has been eased slightly as David Ospina is struggling with a back injury and Lucas Perez has also been ruled out for Wembley with a thigh issue.

Shkodran Mustafi is also expected to miss out with a thigh problem which saw him miss Monday’s trip to Middlesbrough, allowing Rob Holding to retain in his place in a back three. Danny Welbeck could be a doubt as he rushes back from a toe injury, but if he is available then he could start for the Gunners.

For Manchester City, John Stones remains a doubt but Pep Guardiola is expecting to welcome the England international back after he missed the game against Southampton last weekend with a knock. Bacary Sagna is a doubt with a groin injury but the game will come too soon for Gabriel Jesus to make a comeback.

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Score Prediction: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City

With all of Manchester City’s attacking options, it seems that they could be too much for Arsenal’s makeshift defence even if Arsene Wenger does cram all of his centre backs into one formation.

Neither side have been particularly good at keeping clean sheets this season and we can expect that trend to continue, but City will have too much strength going forward for the Londoners.

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