In a duel of giants this season, Manchester City beat Arsenal (1-0) in their FA Cup round of 32 match.
City thus advanced to the round of 16 in the FA Cup against an Arsenal that is leader in the Premier League, with a five-point advantage and a game played less than Josep Guardiola’s team.
With Matt Turner in goal, Rob Holding in defence, Fabio Vieira in the center and Leandro Trossard starting for the first time in attack, Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, opted for rotations for this game, while Guardiola chose an eleven more classic, with Erling Haaland at the top and the presence of figures like Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish or Ilkay Gündogan.
Despite this, Arsenal came to be superior at the start of the match, with good chances from Takehiro Tomiyasu (5) or Trossard (21).
Little by little, the trend began to change, especially in the second half, when Arsenal faced without Thomas Partey, changed at half-time.
The Londoners were ceding control of the game to City, who went to a 4-4-2 scheme with the entry of Julián Álvarez in place of Mahrez in minute 58.
The Argentine world champion sent to the post, shortly before Grealish assisted Nathan Aké, whose shot from low to the ground surprised Turner (1-0, minute 65).
Arsenal then tried to react. Arteta opted for the tricks of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Martinelli or Martin Odegaard, but City’s substitute goalkeeper, Stefan Ortega, was very attentive and avoided a tie.
Guardiola, the teacher, thus won the battle in this game against Arteta, his outstanding student and former assistant, although both showed that their teams aspire to the maximum and the fight for the Premier League looks exciting.
In the league, the duel between the two will be on February 15, at Arsenal’s home.
The FA Cup round of 32 continues this weekend.
Liverpool visit Brighton, while Manchester United host second division Reading. AFP