We head to Manchester City on Friday night for our first meeting of the season with Pep Guardiola’s side, aiming to win at their home for the first time since January 2015.
Since then, City have defeated us in 13 of the 16 meetings under Pep Guardiola, but our 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.” – read everything he had to say in his press conference
Guardhouse: “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.”
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) .
For the second time this season, Paul Tierney takes charge of us in Manchester having overseen our 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford back in September.
That was the fourth successive loss we’ve suffered under his stewardship, although we have won six of the 14 games he has refereed involving us.
VAR will be in operation for this game
- Referee: Paul Tierney
- Assistant Referee 1: Constantine Hatzidakis
- Assistant Referee 2: Neil Davies
- Fourth Official: Robert Jones
- VAR: John Brooks
- Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard
Classic cup wins against City
While our record against the Citizens on their turf hasn’t been great in recent years, we have enjoyed plenty of success against them at the neutral venue of Wembley in cup competitions.
Our last two meetings in the FA Cup took place under the arch at the semi-final stage, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice to seal a 2-0 win in July 2020 after we had enjoyed a 2-1 win after extra-time in 2016/17.
We also lifted the Community Shield in August 2014 via a 3-0 success at the national stadium at City’s expense, with Mikel Arteta climbing the famous steps to collect the silverware.
Take a look at all these, plus our league wins and top goals at City, in our playlist
Tune into Arsenal.com and the official app from 7pm on Friday as Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke will be at Emirates Stadium providing the best pre-match build-up for any Gooner.
They’ll look back on our dramatic win over Manchester United, focus on what our new signings will bring to the side and look back on our FA Cup record over the years by reminiscing about some cup classics.
Then from 8pm, Dan Roebuck and Jonathon Rogers will be on live commentary duty at the Etihad Stadium, keeping you up-to-date on all the goings on as we aim to book a place in the FA Cup fifth round draw.
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