Arsenal come from behind to clinch FA Cup Final place
Arsenal came from a goal behind to beat Manchester City 2-1, after extra time, in this afternoon’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Sergio Aguero put the Blues ahead, but goals from Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez clinched the win for the Gunners.
Arsenal will have the opportunity to win the FA Cup for a record 13th time when they take on Chelsea in the final on Saturday 27th May.
Whilst Arsene Wenger will be looking for a 7th FA Cup success, which will also be a competition record for a manager.
It will also be the Gunners 20th FA Cup final, another competition record.
It was Manchester City’s first FA Cup semi-final defeat since 1932, also against Arsenal – the Blues had won eight consecutively before this defeat.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will end a season without a trophy for the first time in his coaching career.
Arsene Wenger started with the same team that started in the win at the Riverside Stadium against Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Monday night.
It meant that Arsene Wenger persisted with a 3-4-3 formation.
Arsenal found the resilience that has been missing in many matches this season to win a hard-fought contest.
They rode their luck at times.
Manchester City had a goal ruled out in the first half. Referee’s assistant Steve Child judged that Leroy Sane’s cross had gone over the dead ball line before Aguero turned it back at the far post and substitute Raheem Sterling turned the ball over the line.
Replays suggested the ball had not gone out and that the goal should have stood.
So the teams went into half-time all square.
Yaya Toure and Fernandinho also hit the woodwork in the match.
Manchester City took the lead in the 62nd minute when they caught Arsenal on the break.
Aaron Ramsey was caught in possession on the edge of the City penalty area.
The ball was played through to Aguero.
The Argentinian then outpaced Nacho Monreal from the halfway line and slotted the ball past Petr Cech to open the scoring.
Aguero has now scored 12 goals in his past 12 matches for Manchester City in all competitions.
It was also his second goal at Wembley, having netted for City against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final in April 2013.
In many matches this season that set-back of conceding first would have been enough to have sunk Arsenal.
But the Gunners were back on level terms nine minutes later.
Monreal stole in at the far post to convert Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross.
Monreal’s last two goals for Arsenal have come in the FA Cup, both against Manchester clubs (having scored against Manchester United in March 2015).
Man of the match Oxlade-Chamberlain has six assists in his past 10 FA Cup starts for Arsenal.
There were no further goals in the remainder of the second period and the match went into extra time.
Sanchez settled the match 11 minutes into the first period of extra time after Manchester City failed to clear Mesut Ozil’s free-kick. The Chilean was on hand to fire home from close range to put the Gunners ahead.
Sanchez has now been involved in more goals than any other Premier League player in all competitions this season (38, 24 goals and 14 assists).
The Chilean is now Arsenal’s top scorer in games at Wembley, with four goals – he overtook Marc Overmars and Ian Wright on three.
The win will ease some of the pressure on Arsene Wenger and the players.
They produced the sort of gritty performance that has eluded them for most of the season.
City will point to the disallowed goal in the first half, with both Yaya Toure and Fernandinho also hitting the woodwork in the 2nd half.
But it will be Arsenal who return for the final on 27th May.
Arsenal Cech 7, Oxlade-Chamberlain 9 (Bellerin), Monreal 8, Gabriel 8, Koscielny (8), Holding 8, Xhaka 8, Ramsey 7, Ozil 7 (Coquelin), Sanchez 8, Giroud 7 (Welbeck)