FA Cup: Man City beat Arsenal to advance to next round as Nathan Ake scores the winner with a brilliant curler
|Nathan Ake celebrates after curling the winner past the Arsenal keeper on Friday night. City won 1-0. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Man City laboured past Arsenal on Friday night in the first of many weekend FA Cup fourth-round ties, and there are lots of key lessons that should gladden Arsenal fans’ hearts even in the loss.
Pep Guardiola only made two changes to the side that beat Wolves, with Ederson the only notable absentee, as Stefan Ortega got the nod in between the sticks.
Mikel Arteta made six changes, including Leandro Trossard on the left wing, who made his full debut.
Arsenal started brightly like they always do, and it took a fine Ortega save to deny Takehiro Tomiyasu from the edge of the box after some neat work down the left by Leandro Trossard.
Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard gave the City midfield lots of headaches, and Rodri needed his teammates to keep things together.
Man City eventually settled into the game, but it didn’t really start ticking for the hosts until the second half.
Arteta made two halftime substitutions: Rob Holding was on a yellow and he replaced him with William Saliba, while Partey was said to have rib issues and was replaced by Albert Sambi Lokonga.
The gulf in class between the Ghana midfield maestro and the young Belgian was too obvious to miss.
Julian Alvarez hit the post with a great shot, Jack Grealish passed to Nathan Ake who scored by curling the ball past the Arsenal goalkeeper, Matt Turner.
Man City managed the game very well from that point, and Arsenal will now only focus on their league run as well as their Europa League dreams.
Arsenal stood toe-to-toe with the hosts until Partey was removed, and that should prove that it would be hard for the Gunners to lose their league lead with the Ghanaian fit.
Man City can seize the momentum and go on a monster run that could easily overtake Arsenal in the league.
But the Gunners must respond by reinforcing the midfield in the current window.
A bid for Moises Caicedo of Brighton was submitted and subsequently rejected, but Arsenal is expected to go again.