Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal beat Pep’s City to reach FA Cup final

Arteta’s Arsenal defeated Guardiola’s City 2-0 at Wembley to reach the FA Cup final

Mikel Arteta offered further evidence that Arsenal may have found the manager to lead them back to glory as he masterminded a 2-0 win over his former club Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.

A month after his first head-to-head against City boss Pep Guardiola ended in a 3-0 Premier League defeat, Arteta proved he is a fast learner as he conjured the perfect strategy to get the better of the man he served as assistant until December.

While Arsenal’s first goal had the stamp of Guardiola’s style of play all over it – an 18-pass move finished off by striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — this was not a case of the apprentice beating the master at his own game.

Guardiola’s side relies heavily on possession based football along with quick passes and a killer instinct in front of goal. Yet, it was Arteta’s Arsenal which made the most of their four attempts, scoring two goals while Man City had 16 attempts with none of them reaping any rewards.

Arteta’s side perfectly executed the kind of game plan so often used by Guardiola’s old rival Jose Mourinho in his prime with Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Defensive discipline, shape and unwavering concentration have not been associated with Arsenal in recent years as their stock fell in the latter Arsene Wenger era and under Unai Emery. But they displayed those attributes in abundance at Wembley with Luiz, Xhaka, Mustafi, Ceballos and Tierney outstanding in a rearguard action.

After Pepe’s initial cross in for Aubameyang’s side footed goal, Kieran Tierney set the Arsenal captain off on his bike once again, resulting in a finesse finish through Ederson’s feet to round off a 2-0 victory.

In the space of a few days Arsenal have beaten Premier League champions Liverpool and former champions Manchester City. A look at the league table looks grim for Arsenal, being ninth. However, just months into his first managerial role, Arteta could well be on course to claim his first trophy.

He said after the game that that there was still a “big margin” between Arsenal and the likes of City and Liverpool.

But the team appear to be heading in the right direction again after seasons of drift.

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