Arsenal meet Manchester City for place in FA Cup final

Arsenal take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley this afternoon (3.00pm kick-off UK time).

The winners will take on Chelsea in the final on Saturday 27th May.

Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 in the other semi-final at Wembley yesterday.

The Blues secured their place in final with goals from Willian (2), Hazard and Matic, with Kane and Alli scoring for Spurs.

The competition is the last chance of silverware for Arsenal and Manchester City this season.

Both have under-performed in the Premier League and exited the Champions League at the last 16 stage.

Manchester City are in 4th position in the Premier League table, 7 points ahead of Arsenal having played one match more.

They host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday as they look to secure a top 4 spot. Whilst the Gunners are at home to Leicester City the same night.

Speculation continues on whether Arsene Wenger will sign the two-year contract that has been offered to him.

Wenger is chasing a record 7th FA Cup success.

Arsenal are chasing a record 13th FA Cup triumph. They last won the trophy in 2015.

The Gunners have reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the 29th time, a competition record and will also be making a record 42nd appearance at Wembley Stadium today.

Arsenal’s only defeat in their last 21 FA Cup matches came against Watford in last season’s quarter-final.

They could equal the club FA Cup record of four consecutive clean sheets, most recently achieved in 2005.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six games at Wembley, winning five of them and also knocking Wigan out of the FA Cup on penalties in a semi-final three years ago.

Pep Guardiola is chasing his first trophy with Manchester City.

Manchester City have lifted the FA Cup five times, most recently in 2011.

They were runners-up for the fifth time in 2013, after losing to Wigan Athletic.

Manchester City have progressed from each of their last eight FA Cup semi-finals, most recently in 2013 against Chelsea.

Their last defeat at this stage was in 1932 against Arsenal.

They have alternated between victory and defeat in their last seven appearances at Wembley, beating Liverpool in a penalty shootout last time out in the 2016 League Cup final.

FA Cup Head-to-Head

The sides have only met three times previously in the FA Cup.

The Gunners won the only other FA Cup semi-final meeting 1-0 in 1932.

The last time the sides met in the competition was in the 5th round in 1971, with Arsenal winning and going on to lift the trophy.

The road to Wembley 2017

Arsenal have seen off Preston North End, Southampton, Sutton United and Lincoln City to reach the last four.

Manchester City have overcome West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough to get to the semi-final stage.

FA Cup Semi-Final records

Arsenal

Arsenal have played in 37 FA Cup semi-finals. They have won 19, drawn 9 and lost 9.

Manchester City

Manchester City have won 10 of their 12 FA Cup semi-finals.

Key Men

The will he won’t he sign a contract extension rumbles on around Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean though remains the key attacking threat for Arsenal. Sanchez has scored 23 goals in all competitions so far this season. He has been used sparingly so far in the FA Cup, but was on target in the quarter-final win over Lincoln City.

The return of skipper Laurent Koscielny helped Arsenal to a win at Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Monday night. He will again be without his regular central defensive partner Shkodran Mustafi , who misses out through injury. How Koscielny organises the Arsenal rearguard, whether they play three at the back or a conventional four, will be a key factor in deciding the outcome of the match.

Despite losing his place to Gabriel Jesus earlier in the season Sergio Aguero remains Manchester City’s talisman. He has 29 goals in all competitions this season, including 4 in the Blues FA Cup run.

The return of skipper Vincent Kompany has been a timely boost for a fragile Manchester City defence. His performance will be key to the outcome of the match. He will also be playing without his regular central defensive partner John Stone, who misses out with a muscular injury.

The Managers

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has won the FA Cup six times as a manager, a joint-tournament record with George Ramsay of Aston Villa.

“We have played a few games there recently,” Wenger said at his pre-match conference on Thursday. “We know what is awaiting us and we know both dressing rooms because we have been in both and the pitch is much better than it was before. Overall we will not feel lost there.

“We are ambitious because we have done it before and we know we can do it. In the previous semi-finals, we were super favourites but in this game it is between two sides who are very close to each other in the Premier League so it is much more level on chances at the start. We know we have to be absolutely at our best to qualify.

“It’s always something special. I remember my first [semi-final], when we played at Villa Park against Wolves. That’s the day when I realised how big the club is, how much it means to our supporters because suddenly the stadium is divided in two for an away game and your fans are all there.

“So it’s a special experience and we are focused and highly motivated. Maybe not at the maximum of our confidence because we had recently some disappointing results, but that is a good opportunity to show we are ready for a fight and how much we want to go to the final.”

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola won his only previous game as a manager at Wembley, when his Barcelona side beat Manchester United 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League final.

“For all clubs titles are important”, said Guardiola at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“Of course, titles help to win confidence that the club is able to do great things. Winning titles gives you the self-confidence to say we’re good enough to compete. Whether we win the trophy or not, nothing will change in terms of expectations for us.

“I would like to win the FA Cup so my players realise how good they are. At the moment, they don’t realise how good they are, but winning titles helps this. When you win a title, it’s a lot of stress and pressure, and if you handle that the next time it will be a little bit easier. That’s why it’s important.

“My task is to show them how many good things they do in the game. Of course, they believe, but this is a fantastic club and team, I’m so proud of what we’ve done so far and how we’ve overcome bad moments such the way we played against Liverpool after the Champions League defeat to Monaco. That is what I want to see from my teams.”

Team News

Arsenal

Danny Welbeck (toe) is a doubt.

Shkodran Mustafi, David Ospina and Lucas Perez are all injured.

Manchester City

John Stones has a  muscular problem and is not fit.

Gabriel Jesus has made a faster recovery than expected from a leg break and may be included in the matchday squad.

Match Officials

Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referee: Simon Bennett
Assistant Referee: Steve Child
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell
Reserve Assistant Referee: Constantine Hatzidakis

Prediction

Arsenal to win 2-1.

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