Manchester City are currently seven points ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League and enter the FA Cup tie as favourites, yet the Gunners might cause an upset.
City’s manager Pep Guardiola admitted earlier that the owners and fans might not be content even if they won the FA Cup. For a team that is not performing really well right now, one can only imagine how upset Arsenal’s already furious fans will be if Arsene Wenger’s side fail to do any good in this game.
When these two sides met in the English Premier League this season, one match ended in a victory for City, while the other game ended in a draw.
Manchester City are seven points ahead of Arsenal in the EPL, and are the clear favourites in this game. However, the FA Cup will be a crucial spot for the Gunners and they will be looking to win this one at any cost.
Arsenal returned to victory with a well-deserved 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Monday. Being in the 7th position must be anything but fun for Wenger, and it was after a long time that he made significant changes in his formation and played with three men at the back.
Probable line-ups and tactics
Gabriel Jesus is likely to return for Manchester City while John Stones will have to it this one out due to a muscle injury. He also remains doubtful for their derby clash against Manchester United next Thursday.
Several of City’s players will see their contracts expire in a little over a month’s time and Guardiola has made it clear on several occasions that he is not entirely satisfied with the team at this point. However, he will have to find ways to make do with the players he has and put up a good fight in the FA Cup tie.
City are firmly back on track in the league thanks to successive wins, seeing off Southampton 3-0 which was probably one of their best performances this season so far. Skipper Vincent Kompany had played for that game and will most likely feature in this one as well, what with Guardiola talking about how Kompany is finally adhering to the way he want him to play.
This is now a crucial week for Manchester City as they will need to prepare for the derby right after this semi-final meeting with Arsenal, knowing that a win against Manchester United can help them secure a top-four finish in the league.
Predicted line-up (4-1-4-1): Bravo, Otamendi, Kompany, Zabaleta, Clichy, Fernandinho, Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Aguero
It’s likely that Wenger might retain three players at the back, but it will be best for him to keep his options open at this point.
Ospina is ruled out with a back injury, meaning Petr Cech will keep his place in the goal. Welbeck did return to training but there is no confirmation as to whether or not he will start in this game.
Shkodran Mustafi will remain sidelined, along with Lucas Perez.
Wenger now has an opportunity to collect a ninth English domestic trophy, with victory against City meaning it could quieten the ever-growing chants of ‘Wenger out’. However, this season has been one of the worst for the club ever since he took charge.
What could be good news for Wenger and the fans is that Arsenal does not really lose too many matches at Wembley.
This will add further pressure upon the club to do well, since a loss in a place like this could just seal the deal as far as Wenger’s future at the club is concerned.
Predicted line-up (3-4-3): Cech, Gabirel, Koscielny, Holding, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal, Sanchez, Giroud, Ozil
- Manchester City have progressed from each of their last eight FA Cup semi-finals, most recently in 2013 against Chelsea. Their last defeat at this stage was in 1932 against Arsenal.
- This will be the fourth meeting between these sides in the FA Cup.
- Pep Guardiola won his only previous game in charge of a team at Wembley Stadium, beating Manchester United 3-1 with Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final.
- Alexis Sanchez has scored five goals in his four appearances at Wembley Stadium (3 in 3 for Arsenal, and a brace for Chile against England).
- The Gunners come into this game on the back of just five wins in their last 13 games in all competitions.
Wenger playing around with his team formation shows that the Frenchman is open to taking chances. If he does make any significant changes in this one, he might manage to outsmart Guardiola.
With current form taken into consideration, the match is likely to end in a 2-0 victory for Manchester City.