Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City
Arsenal have done it again. The record 13-time FA Cup winners are back in the final of this year’s competition after a shock 2-0 win over Manchester City in the semi-final.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace for the Gunners, who weathered some early City pressure to knock the defending champions out.
After a couple of one-sided defeats to City in the Premier League this season, the FA Cup 2020 odds were heavily against Mikel Arteta’s side. But just like in their 2017 triumph over Pep Guardiola’s City, the Gunners defied those odds as Arteta got one over his old team.
Highlights of the game
Manchester City made a great start to the game, and it took them just three minutes to launch their first big attack on Arsenal’s goal. After dispossessing Dani Ceballos deep inside his own half, Raheem Sterling sent in a dangerous cross which full-back Kieran Tierney had to put behind for a corner.
City had another extended spell of pressure on 10 minutes after a corner. Arsenal struggled to clear the danger, and Granit Xhaka had to punt away a header across his own six-yard box.
But despite City’s early pressure, it was Arsenal who nearly took the lead on 16 minutes. David Luiz, whose disastrous performance played a big part in Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to City in their first game back after the restart, intercepted a pass and played a beautiful ball through to Aubemayang.
Unfortunately for the Gunners, their captain lacked composure as he smashed his shot straight at Ederson.
However, Aubameyang wouldn’t take long to redeem himself as he put Arsenal in front. After a brilliant passing move from the back, Nicolas Pepe sent in a great cross to the back post for Aubameyang, who produced one of the top FA Cup 2020 highlights of the season with an excellent sliding finish with the outside of his right boot.
City almost gifted Arsenal a second goal on the half-hour mark. Ederson, usually so secure with the ball at his feet, put his defence under pressure with a loose pass that Arsenal intercepted. Aubameyang unselfishly tried to tee up Pepe for a shot at the open goal, but his under-hit pass was cut out by Ilkay Gundogan.
The Gunners continued to come up with the better chances heading into half-time. Ederson produced a great save off a corner as he tipped over a Shkodran Mustafi header that looked destined for goal.
City again started the second half strongly, but Raheem Sterling squandered two good chances in the space of four minutes. His second chance, in particular, was a big miss as he sent his shot from around the penalty area wide.
Riyad Mahrez was on target with his effort as he cut inside with his famous left foot, but Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez made a fine save on his near post.
Kevin De Bruyne was the next City player to come close as his free-kick on the hour mark rustled the side netting.
A few minutes later, Sterling had a shout for a penalty after he went down from a challenge by Mustafi, but referee Jonathan Moss was not convinced.
City continued their assault on Arsenal’s defence as De Bruyne’s delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal. But David Silva, who had scored in two of his last three games, missed another great chance.
City would be left to rue all of those missed opportunities as Arsenal would double their lead on 71 minutes. Tierney’s ball over the top sent Aubameyang clean through on goal, and the Arsenal marksman made no mistake as he coolly slid the ball between Ederson’s legs.
Aymeric Laporte came close to pulling one back for City, but his powerful long-range strike whistled just wide. But despite seven minutes of stoppage time, City couldn’t come back as Arsenal held on to make it back to the final.
Manchester City had no shortage of chances to score. They controlled 70 per cent of possession and created 16 shots, but only one of them was on target.
Arsenal, on the other hand, had only four shots but all four of them were on target. More importantly, two of them went in the back of the net.
Aubameyang has played in just two FA Cup matches in his Arsenal career, and he now has three goals. His two goals doubled Arsenal’s tally in their last seven league meetings against City (one). It’s also the first time Arsenal had kept a clean sheet against City since 2015.
Arsenal wrap up their Premier League season with Aston Villa away and Watford at home. And then, it’ll be back to Wembley for their record 21st FA Cup final, where they face either Chelsea or Manchester United.
Meanwhile, City will finish their campaign with Watford and Norwich. Then, they will turn their focus on the Champions League round-of-16 second leg against newly crowned Spanish champions Real Madrid, which will be City’s last chance to score some silverware this season.
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