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PREVIEW: FA Cup – Round 4 – Manchester City v Arsenal

Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal will be looking for a timely victory over one another on Friday night when they face off in the FA Cup fourth round.

EPA/ Martin Rickett

Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal will be looking for a timely victory over one another on Friday night when they face off in the FA Cup fourth round.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

To Win (90 mins)
Manchester City 15/20 | Draw 31/10 | Arsenal 34/10

Manchester City

The squad depth available at Manchester City is almost a mockery. Pep Guardiola has formed an incredibly talented squad with an unplayable mentality and desire to win.

I agree with comments that the Spanish manager has made during the week suggesting that the expectation at City is often unattainably high. I suggest this is more a compliment to the work being done at City than anything else.

City come into this game having lost just once at home. No, they don’t have the history or tradition that other clubs in England might boast, but to suggest that the Etihad isn’t a fortress is foolish.

My only concern with this game is how much of an effect the “Pep roulette” will have. As much as competing on all fronts is part of the City mould, the FA Cup might not be looked at in the same light as the Premier League or the Champions League.

It would be remiss of me to write about City and not mention Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker is in red-hot form. He comes into this game off the back of a hat-trick against Wolves and just hasn’t shown any indication of slowing down this season.

I thought that the Wolves game (much like the Manchester derby) highlighted how teams can stifle Manchester City. Before Haaland broke the deadlock, City looked tamed, and it was Wolves who for the most part seemed to dictate the pace.

Of course, individual brilliance is part of a team but against a better opposition, one wonders whether City can avoid being taken advantage of.

Predicted Line-up: Ortega, Walker, Akanji, Laporte, Gomez, Silva, Rodri, Foden, Mahrez, Alvarez, Palmer.


Arsenal is absolutely flying now. They currently sit at the top of the Premier League and having accumulated 50 points at the half-way mark it’s no doubt confidence is at an all-time high.

I must be honest, given the opportunity the Gunners must compete for the league title, I am intrigued to see how Mikel Arteta navigates the rest of the season. It’s been well documented that Arsenal have enjoyed playing at the Emirates this year, but their form on the road doesn’t differ all that much.

They have an attacking line which can compete with the very best in the world, their midfield is both robust and delicate enough to enjoy intricate play and their defensive line enjoys traditional English football physicality.

I know that I have said this pretty much every time I have written about Arsenal this year, but the work that Arteta has done, the patience displayed by the board and the fundamental investment in the team all seems to be coming to fruition.

The FA Cup is giving us a taster for what will surely be a blockbuster fixture when these two meet in the league.

Predicted Line-up: Turner, Tierney, Magalheas, Holding, Tomiyasu, Xhaka, Elneny, Marquinhos, Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

Verdict: Man City + BTTS (47/20)

I see this game being a little more open, both teams have an unbelievable attacking ability and I’m sure we will see it on full display. If I’m completely honest, I am just edging on City coming through this.

Arsenal might want to keep their momentum on track – but I suspect their mental focus might be split given their recently unprecedented domestic season!

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