The FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Manchester City could be the final cup match for the Gunners long serving manager Arsene Wenger. Increasing pressure from the clubs fans and indifferent performances, such as the 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich, has placed his future in doubt and a defeat here to Pep Gaurdiola's Manchester City could force the boards hand into making a decision regarding the direction they take. It is the only trophy the side have won for twelve years, and the North London club are struggling to make the top four to qualify for the Champions League, leaving Sunday's trip to Wembley a huge one for both club and manager.
It is of course Guardiola's debut campaign in the competition and he will aim to take the game to a side struggling at the moment, in a bid to win the most prestigious domestic trophy in world football. The Spaniard has turned his side around after what was a tricky period, and the return of club captain Vincent Kompany has allowed the side to become stable at the back, allowing them to attack with more freedom. The Sky Blues will look to put Arsenal under pressure early on and they are 11/2 with Coral to score their first goal in the 11-20 minute period.
Arsenal will have to be competitive if they are to beat Man City, and with their opponents ability to call on the attacking talents of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, who are in great form, Arsenal will need to match them in the scoring department and are 3/1 with Coral to score in both halves.
Their likely goal scoring hero, could be their talented, if distracted Chilean hitman Alexis Sanchez. The former Barcelona man has had purple patches for his team this year, alongside contract rumblings, injury issues and teammate busts ups. There is no disputing his talent though, and he can be the man to fire his side's goals. Sanchez is 10/1 with Paddy Power to score two or more goals.
Arsenal are not in great form, but Wenger will see the chance to relieve some of the pressure off the team and set them up for the win. Expect a high tempo encounter which either side could nick, and it could all come down to who takes their chances more clinically.
Goal scoring wise, Arsenal are just as good as league leaders Chelsea, North London rivals Spurs and this weekends opponents Manchester City. Their problems lie in the fact is that they have almost doubled the amount of goals they have leaked in when compared to the league's best, their neighbors Spurs.
With Manchester City's fluid attack, it may call on The Gunners to turn to the old adage of the best form of defence being attack. There is no doubting Arsene Wenger's team have talented players in Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Theo Walcott, and as he faces mounting pressure, the French coach could inspire his side at Wembley to take the game to their opponents.
Their talismanic forward Sanchez could be key for them if they are to beat City and for Sanchez to score the games first goal and Arsenal to be leading 1-0 at half time is 45/1 with Coral and looks a great shout.
Manchester City have had their own defensive troubles this season and despite becoming more solid recently, Arsenal will fancy their chances, they are underdogs in this game, but are highly capable of beating their opponents. A 2-1 win for Arsenal is 13/1 with Paddy Power.
Pep Guardiola will fancy his chances in progressing to the final, in his first attempt at winning the FA cup and he takes his side to Wembley to face an Arsenal side that are woeful at the moment. However, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach will be wary of facing a side capable of attacking a defence which has come under fire this season and will not take the challenge lightly.
The team have become clinical under Guardiola this season, but have lost key games, namely a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the start of April, a collapse against Monaco and a 4-0 drubbing by Everton, and apart from their convincing 3-0 win over Southampton, have kept just one clean sheet in their last six games. Those games included the defeat to Chelsea, a 1-1 draw with Liverpool and 2-2 draw with their opponents Arsenal.
In the draw with Arsenal, Leroy Sane cooly slotted the opener, highlighting how easy the German International is finding the English game following his summer move from German side Schalke, and could repeat it here. Sane is 7/1 with Paddy Power to score the opener. It also proved how their defence has failed to back up their attacking prowess, the side were leading twice when they met at The Emirates, before being pegged back in a pulsating match.
At first glance this game looks a easy win for Manchester City, but Arsenal will push them all the way and the game could balance finely on which side can grab their chances.
- Arsenal have won 20 of their last 21 FA cup games.
- Manchester City have only failed to score in a game four times in all competitions this season.
- Manchester City have collected six red cards in all competitions this season.
- In the last ten games between the two sides, there have been over three goals in the game except on two occasions
- Both sides have conceded eight goals from set-pieces this season.
CURRENT MATCH ODDS (BEST PRICED ODDS)
HEAD TO HEAD
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City
Manchester City 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
When considering the game between a struggling Arsenal side, and an in-form Manchester City, it would leave most convinced that the tie is destined to go to the blue side of Manchester. However, Arsenal, like a wounded animal will come out fighting it's corner in this game, and will look to restore some pride and help alleviate some of the pressure off their manager Arsene Wenger. A close, and pulsating game is expected, with Arsenal well capable of beating City, and a 2-1 win for The Gunners could well be on the cards here.