Arsenal forward Theo Walcott will be hoping he starts in today’s FA Cup semi-final match against Manchester City given his impressive record in past meetings, let alone this competition this season. The English international has been a thorn in the City side previously due to his excessive pace on the counter to catch the Sky Blues’ defence cold, and he could well strike again given how ruthless he’s been in the FA Cup so far.
Arsenal travel to Wembley to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final this afternoon, and are hoping they can continue their fine head-to-head record to seal their place in the competition’s final for the third season out of four. The Gunners have recently ended their poor run of form in the Premier League and are desperate for silverware which could see them get a result.
Monday’s win over Middlesbrough sees Arsenal with some momentum going into today’s encounter, although City boast consecutive victories ahead of the meeting. However, the Sky Blues have failed to win three of their last four games away from the Etihad Stadium so Arsenal aren’t major underdogs by any means.
This afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City will be the 10th time Arsenal and the Citizens have met in a competitive fixture since 2013, but how have the last nine meetings gone between the two sides?
Previous nine head-to-heads between Arsenal and Manchester City
in all competitions
(2/4/17) Premier League: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
(18/12/16) Premier League: Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
(8/5/16) Premier League: Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal
(21/12/15) Premier League: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City
(18/1/15) Premier League: Manchester City 0-2 Arsenal
(13/9/14) Premier League: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
(10/8/14) Community Shield: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City
(29/3/14) Premier League: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City
(14/12/13) Premier League: Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal
Having made six appearances in all competitions for Arsenal in the last seven weeks, midfielder Aaron Ramsey has become an important player for manager Arsene Wenger and is likely to keep his place in the engine room for this afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City as a result.
The Welsh international has endured a stop-start season due to injury and inconsistent form, but made his first Premier League start for a month in Monday’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough and was singled out for praise by Wenger in the build-up to this weekend’s match at Wembley.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed he could stick with a 3-5-2 formation ahead of this afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City, after the side stopped the rot in the Premier League with a win against Middlesbrough while adopting a three-man defence in the process.
“It is an option, yes. But what will I do? You will understand that I won’t tell you now. It was more destined to give us a bit more defensive solidity because recently away from home we conceded too many goals. I think the definition of a good football player is that he is adaptable to any situation,” said Wenger.
On Sunday afternoon Arsenal and Manchester City go head-to-head at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final.
Neither side heads into this clash in great form, but both head into the game on the back of wins in their last outings. Arsenal recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win at Middlesbrough in their last Premier league game, while City won 3-0 at Southampton.
Prior those wins neither side had found any consistency, City had won one of their previous five games in all competitions, while Arsenal had lost four of their last seven games prior to the win at Boro.
Arsenal star player Alexis Sanchez has little over 12 months in his contract with the North London club and rumours about his future with Gunners are coming in thick and fast on daily basis.
The Chilean superstar is believed to have an offer from Arsenal on the table, but his reluctance to commit after reportedly failing to accept the proposed financial terms has left the door open to a possible departure at the end of the season.
Arsene Wenger only add fuel to fire by taking a firm stance by saying that he would not be disrupting the club’s financial balance by offering any player – Sanchez included – more than possible.
Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez is set to be offered a league-record wage of £300,000 to stay at the club according to the London Standard.
This reports contrasts with what Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger recently said about the club not changing their wage structure to keep star players.
Sanchez is of course out of contract next summer and has been linked with a number of lucrative clubs. Chelsea and Manchester City are both reportedly ready to make a move for the Chilean.
Has he made his mind up yet?
When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived at Arsenal from Southampton in 2011 he was one of the brightest young players in the English game. Gunners fans would have that he would go from strength-to-strength and become a top player at the north London club.
Fast forward nearly six years and Oxlade-Chamberlain is a peripheral figure in the first team. At 23, he is in and out of the Gunners starting line-up. What is worse is that the Gunners are playing poorly and yet he still is not starting games on a regular basis.
Vital that Oxlade-Chamberlain stays
Arsenal fell further behind their rivals for a Champions League spot on Saturday afternoon, as both third-place Liverpool and fourth-place Manchester City recorded victories. Sixth-place Manchester United face bottom club Sunderland on Sunday, so the Gunners could be sixth-place by the time they kick-off on Monday at Crystal Palace.
Pressure is on Arsenal
Arsenal’s continuous presence in the Champions League for the last two decades is in major danger of ending this season. The Gunners are now seven points behind City in the table, although the Gunners do have two games in hand on the men from Manchester.