Topping Manchester United in the final minutes of a thrilling 3-2 result. The arrival of the versatile Jakub Kiwior, who will provide cover at center back, left back, and defensive midfield. That helps make way for Cedric’s exit to Fulham on loan. But all eyes turn toward the first clash between the top two teams in the country.
It won’t come as a surprise that Arsenal has a brutal record against Manchester City over the last five years. The Gunners have 12 losses in their last 13 matches against Pep Guardiola’s side. The sole win was a 2-0 result in 2020 in the FA Cup (insert ‘So you’re telling me there’s a chance’ meme). In fact, Arsenal has only met City twice in the FA Cup in the last 50 years — and won them both. Both matches were at Wembley (semi-finals).
Fun fact, the last time Arsenal faced and beat Manchester City in an FA Cup tie in Manchester was back in 1971. Charlie George scored twice, and Arsenal went on to win the League and the FA Cup that season.
And make sure to check out the Q&A for this match where we asked the opposition their thoughts on City’s season so date, Erling Haaland, the transfer window, the FA Cup, and a prediction for the match.
- Fabio Vieira
- Leandro Trossard
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Jakub Kiwior
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Kieran Tierney
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Rob Holding
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Gabriel Jesus (injury), Reiss Nelson (injury), Cedric (expected January transfer), & Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- Why change? Arsenal has a full week between this game and the Everton league fixture on February 4th. Mikel Arteta has shown often this season that he prefers to stick with his first-choice XI for critical matches. Given the opponent, Arsenal’s history with the FA Cup, and the momentum the winner will walk away with I expect a very strong starting XI from Arteta.
- If Arsenal were not playing Manchester City I believe we would see the likes of Trossard, Vieira, Smith Rowe, and Turner starting. But he will expect Pep to play his best XI and thus will need to match it — even with the potential of injuries that will always loom.
- With Mohamed Elneny ruled out with a knee issue that opens a spot on the bench either for a U23 or the newly sign Kiwior. Hopefully, after joining the squad in training he makes the trip and is on the bench.
- One position to keep an eye on is left back. While Ben White has been terrific for the majority of the season, he struggled in the Manchester United match and was subbed off at half-time after picking up a yellow card. Tomiyasu stepped in, and after a tough season finding his form, he really looked like the player from last year. Will White return as the starter or will Arteta opt to give Tomiyasu the nod after his second-half performance?
How to watch
Friday (1/27) at 2:55 pm ET / 11:55 am PT on ESPN+.
Arsenal - 2
Manchester City - 1
I don’t think this game will be as open as the United tie in the league. After conceding a higher number of goals than the team is used to, I could see Pep switching his formation to give them their best chance to control the game. City likely roll out their best XI, or very close to it, meaning holding them scoreless will be difficult. But coming off that big win, the Gunners will be full of confidence and looking forward to a match against City at the Etihad.