Arsenal’s hopes of winning a record-extending 15th FA Cup came to an end after they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City in the fourth round.
It was an intriguing cup tie that pitted the top two sides in English football at present against each other for the first time this season, with the Gunners currently holding a five point advantage over the champions in the Premier League.
Arsenal made six changes from the side that beat Manchester United last weekend, with Erling Haaland against Rob Holding quickly shaping up to be an interesting matchup, with the Norwegian seemingly targeting the centre-back from the off.
Despite all the changes, Mikel Arteta’s side still posed a threat, with January signing Leandro Trossard looking particularly lively down the left on his full debut, while Kevin de Bruyne curled a superb effort agonisingly wide in what was an even and goalless first half.
Chances were at a premium in the opening stages of the second half as both sides continued to match each other, though shortly after changing shape, it was Manchester City who took the lead just after the hour mark. Substitute Julian Alvarez saw an effort come back off the post only for the ball to come back out to Jack Grealish. The England international rolled it into the path of the advanced Nathan Ake who produced a composed finish into the bottom corner with his supposedly weaker right foot.
Arsenal introduced Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard in a bid to get back in the tie, and the Brazilian certainly looked lively down the left, though ultimately, the Gunners couldn’t really test Stefan Ortega in the City goal as last seasons beaten semi-finalists progressed to the fifth round.
Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta said his side lacked ‘discipline’ at times, but insisted that he could still take ‘a lot of positives’ from the match.
“Really disappointed. I think we could have got much more out of the game,” he told ITV. “The action decided the game but it was a tight game and that one action changed it all.
“I think we could have dealt with [their goal] much better in terms of our discipline when the ball was in the box.
“We had big situations in the game and we didn’t put them away. We can take a lot of positives, I think the way we approached the game and competed. It is really difficult to win against this team but we went head to head with them.
“In the big moments, in big matches you have the make the difference. That is how you win these games.”
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