Arsenal and Manchester City will face off against each other at the Emirates Stadium this week with a place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on the line.
After a relentless couple of weeks of Premier League football, the focus now shifts to cup competition for the time being as the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup kick-off on Tuesday. Championship outfit Brentford will be up against Newcastle United in the first game before the mouth-watering contest at the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal take on trophy holders Manchester City.
It has been a strange season for Arsenal, who have excelled in Europe but are down in the dumps in the Premier League. As far as the Carabao Cup is concerned, Mikel Arteta’s men defeated Leicester City 2-0 in the third round before getting the better of Liverpool on penalties in the previous stage. Having lost to Everton at the weekend in the league, it will be interesting to see which Arsenal shows up on Tuesday.
Manchester City, meanwhile, were made to work hard for a 2-1 win by Championship side Bournemouth in the third round before they eased past Burnley in the Round of 16. Having completed a hat-trick of Carabao Cup trophy wins, Pep Guardiola & co. will be aiming to go all the way once again, but head into the game in indifferent form, having won just one of their last three matches.
The two teams have already clashed once this season in the league, with Manchester City eking out a 1-0 win courtesy a Raheem Sterling goal. However, Arsenal will look to draw confidence from the fact that they defeated Guardiola’s men in the FA Cup semi-finals not so long ago. And ahead of this enticing match-up, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Arsenal will welcome Gabriel Magalhaes back from his one-match ban but Granit Xhaka remains unavailable as he serves the final of this three-game suspension. Thomas Partey remains sidelined with an injury, while captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a doubt after missing the weekend clash due to a calf issue.
Mikel Arteta is likely to set his team up in a three-man defensive system that will guard Bernd Leno between the sticks. Rob Holding, who captained the team at the weekend, should start at the back again, partnering the returning Gabriel and Kieran Tierney.
Hector Bellerin, who was not involved at the weekend, should come into the side at right wing-back while the ever-impressive Bukayo Saka slots in on the opposite flank. Mohamed Elneny should continue in the middle of the park in the absence of Xhaka and Partey, but he could have a change of partners with Joe Willock likely to replace Dani Ceballos in the lineup.
Willian has been quite poor of late and with Aubameyang a doubt for the game, Reiss Nelson, who returned to training last week, should get a chance to impress on the left flank while Nicolas Pepe, who was on target against Everton, should continue on the right. Alexandre Lacazette, who made a substitute appearance against Everton, should get the nod as the centre-forward.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Leno; Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Willock, Elneny, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Nelson
Manchester City will be without the services of Eric Garcia for the game. Apart from that, Pep Guardiola has a near full-strength roster at his disposal, although he is sweating over the fitness of Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte, both of whom were not part of the matchday squad against Southampton.
Guardiola is likely to rotate some of his players and even if he does, the squad depth at Manchester City means that a formidable side will take the field at the Emirates. Zack Steffen has been preferred in goal for the Carabao Cup in the last two rounds and should start again on Tuesday night.
Joao Cancelo, who impressed in midweek, should start at right-back while Benjamin Mendy should get the nod on the left side. Ruben Dias, who has had a transformative effect on the Manchester City backline, ought to feature from kick-off again, but there could be a change in partners for him, with Nathan Ake likely to come in for John Stones.
Veteran enforcer Fernandinho should come into the lineup at the expense of Rodri, starting alongside Ilkay Gundogan in the midfield double pivot for Manchester City against Arsenal. The playmaking duties will invariably fall upon the shoulders of Kevin De Bruyne, who ought to start in the No. 10 role.
Riyad Mahrez did not start last time out but should come into the team on Tuesday, replacing Bernardo Silva on the right while Phil Foden comes in on the left flank. With Sergio Aguero still not completely fit and Jesus a doubt, Raheem Sterling could start in a central role, having done so against Burnley in the previous round in the Carabao Cup.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy; Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Foden; Sterling
- Arsenal and Manchester City last met in the Carabao Cup in the 2018 final, which the Cityzens won 3-0. The Gunners have lost their last three matches against City in the competition, having faced defeats at the quarter-final stages in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
- Manchester City have won their last three away matches against Arsenal, all of them in the Premier League. They are the only team to win three consecutive away games against the Gunners at the Emirates.
- Arsenal have been eliminated from six of their last eight League Cup quarter-finals, reach the semi-final only in 2010/11 and 2017/18 during this run.
- Manchester City have progressed from/won the final in each of their last 17 League Cup ties and haven’t lost a game in the competition in London since December 2003.
- Since 2006/07, only Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (20) have won more League Cup matches at one venue than Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium (19), with the Gunners coming out on top in seven of their last eight matches (L1).
Player to Watch
The match-winner for Manchester City at the weekend against Southampton, Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game against the Saints, taking his tally for the season to seven goals and seven assists in 20 games across all competitions.
The 26-year-old relishes playing in the Carabao Cup, having been directly involved in 17 goals in 25 appearances in the competition (10 goals, 7 assists), including a brace and an assist in the previous round against Burnley. Having scored on his last two visits to the Emirates in the league, Sterling will be hoping to continue that trend on Tuesday night.
Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
There is no hiding from the fact that Arsenal are in a difficult situation at the moment, with Mikel Arteta’s job under threat exactly a year after he took over the reins at the club. The Gunners are without a win in their last seven domestic matches and have found goals hard to come by.
While Manchester City have themselves had a few problems in front of goal, their new-found resoluteness at the back has meant that Pep Guardiola’s side have not lost in their last eight matches in all competitions, keeping seven clean sheets in the process, conceding just once.
Considering Arsenal’s ongoing struggles and Manchester City’s track record in the Carabao Cup, The Hard Tackle is predicting Guardiola to get one over his former assistant on Tuesday night at the Emirates.