Arsenal sent Emirates FA Cup holders Manchester City crashing out of the competition, after a 2-0 win at Wembley in Saturday's semi-final.
A goal in each half from captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was enough to get the Gunners back to Wembley for the Heads Up FA Cup Final in two weeks following a canny display from Mikel Arteta’s team.
- Emirates FA Cup semi-final
- Saturday 18 July 2020
- Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Up against his mentor in City boss Pep Guardiola, having joined as Gunners boss earlier this season from City’s backroom staff, Arteta masterminded this result against his old side.
Despite City’s possession across the game, it was Arsenal who showed a better economy in front of goal and in Aubameyang they had a man in form and not shy of confidence to punish the holders.
And they will now have a chance to add to their joint-record 13 FA Cup titles when they make the short journey across north London for the Final on Saturday 1 August.
Right from the off, City showed their dominance of the ball, but it was Arsenal who should’ve taken the lead after 15 minutes when David Luiz slid a pass through for Aubameyang who found himself clean through on goal, only to wastefully blast a shot straight at Ederson.
But he more than made amends less than three minutes later, when Nicolas Pepe swept a cross from the right across the City defence, where the Gabonese poked home from an acute angle at the far post.
City then had Ederson to thank again five minutes before the break, when Dani Ceballos’ whipped corner was glanced goalwards by Shkodran Mustafi only for the Blues’ keeper to tip over the bar.
Guardiola’s team were sent back out early for the second half and judging by the pace at which they started, clearly had the words of manager’s half-time analysis fresh in the mind, having had no real attempts on goal to show for all their possession before the break.
That quickly changed, as Benjamin Mendy was the first to test Emiliano Martinez with an angled drive, before Raheem Sterling dragged a shot wide of the post when well placed in the area.
Riyad Mahrez stung Martinez’s hands after cutting in from the right and Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick skimmed the side-netting as City chased a leveller and Arsenal continued to ride their luck.
Sterling felt he should’ve been awarded a penalty after a tackle from Mustafi in the box, and after a VAR review ruled it out, the England forward was unfortunate not to equalise from the resulting corner after heading straight at Martinez from close range.
But that Arsenal withstood that flurry of pressure before punishing City when they doubled their advantage with another finely executed counter attack in the 71st minute.
After Martinez punched another City corner, the ball was worked out to Pepe on the left who broke clear of half-way. He used the support of Kieran Tierney and when he clipped a pass behind the City defence, Aubameyang strode clear into the box to slot confidently past Ederson.
It gave them that extra breathing space and added to the pressure on City, who resumed their possession and pressure as they desperately chased a way back into the tie.
But with an Arsenal defence being superbly marshalled by David Luiz and an increasingly confident Martinez behind him, it was enough to keep Guardiola’s men at bay and secure a memorable victory for Arteta so early in his Arsenal tenure.
Arsenal: 26 Emiliano Martinez, 2 Hector Bellerin, 3 Kieran Tierney, 8 Dani Ceballos, 9 Alexandre Lacazette, 14 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (c), 15 Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 19 Nicolas Pepe, 20 Shkodran Mustafi, 23 David Luiz, 34 Granit Zhaka.
Substitutes: 28 Joe Willock for Pepe 72, 11 Lucas Torreira for 78, 16 Rob Holding for Mustafi, 87, 31 Sead Kolasinac for Maitland-Niles 88
Substitutes not used: 33 Matt Macey, 5 Sokratis, 24 Reiss Nelson, 57 Matthew Smith, 77 Bukayo Saka
Manager: Mikel Arteta
Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 19, 71
Manchester City: 31 Ederson, 2 Kyle Walker, 7 Raheem Sterling, 8 Ilkay Gundogen, 9 Gabriel Jesus, 14 Aymeric Laporte, 17 Kevin de Bruyne, 21 David Silva (c), 22 Benjamin Mendy, 26 Riyad Mahrez, 50 Eric Garcia.
Substitutes: 16 Rodrigo for Gundogan 66, 47 Phil Foden for Mahrez 66, 25 Fernandinho for Silva 87
Substitutes not used: 33 Scott Carson, 5 John Stones, 11 Oleksandr Zinchenko, 20 Bernardo Silva, , 27 Joao Cancelo, 30 Nicolas Otamendi,
Manager: Pep Guardiola