Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double sent Arsenal to the FA Cup final after they showed the perfect mix of grit and guile to beat Manchester City 2-0.
Fresh from beating Liverpool in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta’s side had to defend for large parts of this semi-final but thwarted City and struck twice on the counter-attack through Aubameyang.
The Gunners took the lead (19) when the striker finished a 18-pass move with a beautifully controlled finish at the back post before doubling the advantage (71) when breaking a lopsided City offside trap and nutmegging Ederson.
City could have no complaints with the result as they rarely tested Emiliano Martínez, who was protected by an outstanding defensive performance led by David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.
Arsenal: Martinez (7), Mustafi (8), Luiz (9), Tierney (9), Bellerin (7), Ceballos (8), Xhaka (8), Maitland-Niles (8), Pepe (8), Lacazette (7), Aubameyang (9)
Subs: Torreira (N/A), Willock (N/A)
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (5), Garcia (6), Laporte (6), Mendy (5), Gundogan (6), D Silva (6), De Bruyne (7), Mahrez (5), Jesus (5), Sterling (5)
Subs: Rodri (6), Foden (6)
Man of the match: David Luiz
Arsenal will play the winners of Sunday’s second semi-final between Manchester United and Chelsea in the final – set to be played on Saturday August 1.
How Arteta outfoxed Pep…
Arsenal’s last victory in this fixture was the FA Cup semi-final meeting in 2017, in between suffering seven straight defeats against Pep Guardiola’s side. However, buoyed by a win over the champions on Wednesday, confidence was high.
Shkodran Mustafi put his team in trouble when losing out to Raheem Sterling inside his own box but City couldn’t take advantage. Possession was being dominated by City but they did little with it and the best chance of the early stages fell to Arsenal when Aubameyang was played onside as he collected Luiz’s delivery but shot straight at Ederson.
- Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang returned to the starting XI after being rested against Liverpool with Mikel Arteta also preferring Ashley Maitland-Niles to play as the left-wing back.
- Pep Guardiola reverted to his strongest XI for this Wembley clash with Kevin De Bruyne, Eric Garica, Ayermic Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez coming back into the team after missing the win over Bournemouth.
Usually City don’t allow you miss such chances but Aubameyang made amends moments later when steering the ball home from a tight angle following a brilliant cross from Nicolas Pepe that caught out Kyle Walker.
Kevin De Bruyne summed up City’s sloppiness when playing a rare loose ball straight to Alexandre Lacazette but Aubameyang couldn’t find a way around Ederson.
Guardiola sent his players out early for the second half and they upped the intensity but could not find the finish as Sterling squandered a glorious chance from 12 yards after some brilliant play from De…