Arsenal V Manchester City Preview and Line-up | Let the Spirit of the Invincibles guide us to Victory

Arsenal v Manchester City – FA Cup Semi Final – July 18th, 2020 

There are so many stories to tell about our FA Cup semi finals.

Here’s one that sticks in my mind.

Stoke City’s old style of play upset many opponents, none more so than Arsenal, the Premier League’s aesthetes, who visit on Sunday.

In recent times, this fixture has become defined by leg-breaks, headlocks and a keen mutual dislike. It is not a new rivalry, however, but an old one resurrected.

“The bad blood goes a long way back,” explains long-time Stoke supporter Ian Webb – to the 1971 FA Cup semi-final, to be precise, when a controversial late penalty earned eventual Cup-winners Arsenal a replay. A year later, history repeated itself at the same stage of the competition, in more preposterous circumstances.

“We were both playing in away strips, Arsenal in yellow and blue, Stoke in an all-white kit. The score was level when late on our defence was opened up and one of their players – it might even have been Charlie George – was yards offside as the ball was knocked through.”

Linesman Bob Matthewson kept his flag down, however, and allowed a cross from the byline to find striker John Radford, who lunged to score past a stranded Gordon Banks. The goal stood. Stoke’s players and support were incensed.

According to Banks’s autobiography, team-mate Jackie Marsh shot a tirade at the official that “would have made a navvy blush”. Arsenal’s physio Fred Street, who had joined the club from Stoke, was discouraged from consoling his former colleagues after the game because they were “a bit violent at the moment”.

Matthewson’s decision seemed indefensible until, as Webb recalls, an explanation emerged. “He had mistaken an ice-cream seller in white overalls for our last defender.”

Actually, according to most accounts it was a programme seller; others suggest he was peddling nuts. The minor details were forgotten but the ill feeling remained.

Another is described is an article from the Liverpool Echo.

To paraphrase Monty Python’s famous Yorkshire men sketch ever so slightly . . . “Three games against the Arsenal in six days? That were nothing! We played them five times in 19 days, with the same team. And there were only one goal between us at the end.”

Except it’s not a parody.

Liverpool and Arsenal really did meet five times in less than three weeks.

And after an intense marathon of matches between April 12 and May 1 1980, just a solitary goal separated the Gunners from Bob Paisley’s all conquering side.

12.04.1980: 0 – 0 Arsenal (Hillsborough) FA Cup semi-final

16.04.1980: 1 – 1 Arsenal (Villa Park) FA Cup semi-final replay

19.04.1980: 1 – 1 Arsenal (Anfield) 1st Division

28.04.1980: 1 – 1 Arsenal (Villa Park) FA Cup semi-final 2nd replay

01.05.1980: 0 – 1 Arsenal (Highfield Road) FA Cup semi-final 3rd replay


After our victory against Liverpool our team should have its tail between its legs and realize that no team is unbeatable. We went into the Liverpool game as seeming no hopes – they were by far the better team and were 43 points ahead of us in the league, yet we squeaked out a 2-1 victory after being 1-0 down.

Now we head into another game where we are the undisputable underdogs – but this is the FA Cup and you can never count out the underdog.

This is our record against City in the last 12 games we’ve played.

21-Dec-15 W Premier
08-May-16 D Premier
18-Dec-16 L Premier
02-Apr-17 D Premier
23-Apr-17 W FA Cup
05-Nov-17 L Premier
25-Feb-18 L League Cup
01-Mar-18 L Premier
12-Aug-18 L Premier
03-Feb-19 L Premier
15-Dec-19 L Premier
17-Jun-20 L Premier

Here is a look at our illustrious history in FA Cup Semi Finals.

P Arsenal FA Cup Semi Finals F A W L
1 1906 W. Arsenal Newcastle United 0 2   1
2 1907 W. Arsenal The Wednesday 1 3   1
3 1927 Arsenal Southampton 2 1 1  
4 1928 Arsenal Blackburn Rovers 0 1   1
5 1930 Arsenal Hull City 2 2    
    Arsenal Hull City 1 0 1  
6 1932 Arsenal Manchester City 1 0 1  
7 1936 Arsenal Grimsby Town 1 0 1  
8 1950 Arsenal Chelsea 2 2    
    Arsenal Chelsea 1 0 1  
9 1952 Arsenal Chelsea 1 1    
    Arsenal Chelsea 3 0 1  
10 1971 Arsenal Stoke City 2 2    
    Arsenal Stoke City 2 0 1  
11 1972 Arsenal Stoke City 1 1    
    Arsenal Stoke City 2 1 1  
12 1973 Arsenal Sunderland 1 2   1
13 1978 Arsenal Leyton Orient 3 0 1  
14 1979 Arsenal Wolves 2 0 1  
15 1980 Arsenal Liverpool 0 0    
    Arsenal Liverpool 1 1    
    Arsenal Liverpool 1 1    
    Arsenal Liverpool 1 0 1  
16 1983 Arsenal Manchester United 1 2   1
17 1991 Arsenal Tottenham 1 2   1
18 1993 Arsenal Tottenham 1 0 1  
19 1998 Arsenal Wolves 1 0 1  
20 1999 Arsenal Manchester United 0 0    
    Arsenal Manchester United 1 2   1
21 2001 Arsenal Tottenham 2 1 1  
22 2002 Arsenal Middlesbrough 1 0 1  
23 2003 Arsenal Sheffield United 1 0 1  
24 2004 Arsenal Manchester United 0 1   1
25 2005 Arsenal Blackburn Rovers 3 0 1  
26 2009 Arsenal Chelsea 1 2   1
27 2014 Arsenal Wigan Town 1 1 1  
28 2015 Arsenal Reading 2 1 1  
29 2017 Arsenal Manchester City 2 1 1  
30 2020 Arsenal Manchester City        
      Totals: 49 33 20 9

Arsenal v Man City 2

We have met Manchester City twice in FA Cup semi finals and we have been victorious on both occasions, we won 1-0 in 1932 and 2-1 in 2017. We always seem to summon up something special having won 20 out of our 29 semi finals.

 Here is a reminder of our victory against them in 2017.


Enjoy the game – and may the gods of the FA Cup look down favourably upon us.


TA’s team to beat the Blue Mancs


88 thoughts on “Arsenal V Manchester City Preview and Line-up | Let the Spirit of the Invincibles guide us to Victory

  • Ian Webb says that our penalty in 1971 was ‘controversial’, really, what a knob, I mean what’s controversial about a Stoke player punching the ball away as it was entering the net, typical delusional nonsense from a Stoke fan, but not surprising.

  • Great post GN5, I hope all the medical stuff was sorted out positively.

    Yep, Arsenal don’t have a prayer do we, according to the media, and they’re never wrong, it’s going to be an all Manchester final, so Arteta might as well give our players the day off?

    Yeah Guardiola has beaten Arsenal in every game since we beat them at Wembley in 2017, included in that winning run was my last cup final, Mustafi was fouled for their first goal, I was right in line with it so don’t worry about what the TV said, it was a foul, but Aubameyang had his least effective game in an Arsenal shirt, Lacazette wasn’t available I can’t remember why? It was the heaviest defeat up till then that an Arsenal team had suffered in a major cup final and I had a thoroughly miserable day. Visiting Wembley again isn’t very on my to do list for the next few years when we’re clear of Wuhan.

    Arteta has a very difficult selection issue to deal with because we’re gonna be under the cosh for most of this game. I’m not at all comfortable about the referee Fatty Moss, he’s not one I’m ever sure about when it comes to being fair to both sides and especially Arsenal.

    It’s the FACup and you never know, but I’ll go into today’s game more in hope than anything, but as long as we’ve got hope then we’ve got a chance….

  • Great post, GN5. Nice research, statistics and anecdotes – as always.

    TA, that’s a damn strong line-up. I would gladly go with that XI against City, but I’m afraid Arteta won’t, as the team has little experience with the 3-5-2 formation. (Or the 3-3-4, as both Saka and Nelson are natural born attackers.)

  • Will 17ht be doing the commentary blog?
    Take a well deserved family time, TA.

    GN5, that is a hilarious one. Will we see Ozil today?

  • I guess all the usual BS about Aubameyang being a flat track bully will be trolled out today as it’s repeated that PEA has never scored against Man City, well let’s see eh?

    Having all these games to watch ‘free’ since the re start has given me the opportunity to watch a lot of Man City, mainly because I’m looking for similarities and clues about how Arsenal are changing and evolving and maybe thinking wistfully that Man City could be Arsenal in 2 or 3 years? Anyway they are one hell on a brilliant team, I always rated David Silva, I wanted Wenger to get him when he was at Valencia, he would have been brilliant for us, I also wanted Wenger to get David Villa as well but it is what it is, or was…

    Man City are relentless, Stirling is a pest, De Bruyne is a Rolls Royce footballer, one of the best of the last 10 years and shows how little Mourinho knows about developing footballers.
    There midfield is like a Rotary watch, everything moves in perfect symmetry with itself and their defence isn’t bad even if I think that referees go easy on them with their rotational fouling.

    The smart money will be on City of course it will, but this is the Cup….

  • Thanks GN5. A rollicking preview.
    TA, the XI you’ve picked– I like it. The FA Cup is a route into Europe– and Arteta will hold nothing back today. The two snipers who find the net against Arsenal most are KDB and Sterling. Over the years we’ve dealt fairly well with David Silva– but if Phil Foden is Pep’s pick? Foden looks so focused for so young a player. He’s ready now to step in for Silva.

    Looking for composure today. Couple of goals would help too!


    PS– Positive thoughts sent your Dad’s way from over here too TA.

  • Morning Guy’s,

    Thank you for your comments, It’s my daughter’s 51st birthday so we will be spending the day with her and the rest of our family here in Canada. I’m recording the game to watch either later this evening (depending on how much wine I drink) or early Sunday morning.

    So I will be unable to make any more comments today other than “Wish and Hope” that we turn them over.

  • I hope your father is turning the corner TA and that he is on the path to have a happy and healthy life.

  • I will be putting a post up on Monday for the Aston Villa game. While TA is off visiting his father it cannot be put up as a new post – so I will put it up as a comment.

  • 18.50
    us :

    them :

    but after all THEY’re only ordinary men


  • Fine preview, as always, GN5. Glad to know your medicals went okay. TA, have good trip; best wishes for a quick recovery to your Dad.

    There’s no reason we shouldn’t be positive today. It’s the cup and anything is possible; plus, it’s Arteta in the dug-out. Surely, he must be itching to have one back on City. I feel it will be an even game where we will give (almost) as good as we get. I like the choice of AM-N who has been effective whenever he’s come on for us. Deserved a start in a cup game and between he and Tierney, Mahrez can be kept in check. It is the overloads that I worry about, which will stretch our defenders and midfielders.

    One thing we must not do is sit back and soak pressure. City are no Liverpool and always find a way to unlock block defending. What they aren’t good at is handling a good forward press, so expect us to do so and force some errors. Look forward to a good match and the win!


  • LE GALL, that was a hilarious link. There I was looking forward to see a video of the players strutting their stuff in the warm up. Hahahaha!

  • JW really nice of you to put up the info on where to see the game. I’ll try to find a stream , but if not,I’ll go for t hat b/r option which I wasn’t aware of….. I will never pay a penny to ESPN, even though I’m going to have a dozen streaming services soon.

  • Kev, I like your point about deBruyne. I always ask people who they would pick as the first player if It they were starting a club and want someone to build around.. in my mind, there’s nobody even close to him as the answer. So influential, week after week. Watching some older matches during the lockdown, I was reminded of the last player that amazed me so consistently with class, and that was our young Cesc.

  • Full Team news
    Arsenal: Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Tierney, Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

    Subs: Macey, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Smith, Willock, Nelson, Saka

    Man City: Ederson, Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy, Gundogan, D Silva (C), De Bruyne, Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

    Subs: Carson, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo, Rodrigo, Fernandinho, Cancelo, Otamendi, Foden

  • 19.50 gret clearance by kieran – corner kick
    pépé constantly lettting mendy sneak behind his back – i’m annoyed already

  • 19.55 granit bails shkodran out
    corner kick 2
    19.56 goal line clearance – granit
    possession mc 99 arsenal 1
    but 0-0, so far so good

  • 20.03 incredible opportunity for auba
    not composed enough though, and ederson did well
    f..k we won’t have 10 like this tonight

  • 20.10
    shkodran dodging a yellow for a tackle on silva’s achilles – must be moss’s clone refereeing
    don’t want to scare the living daylights out of you, lads, but this looks like the beginning of a very shkodranesque performance

  • horror pass towards the edge of our box by hector
    de bruyne preys on it, but great block by … granit, i think? he’s been IMMENSE so far
    de bruyne plays like juve’s pirlo
    what a player – you were damn right, kev

  • we make them un-play
    we look like a great team, really
    emi has just dribbled his way past two citizens in his 6-yard-box
    not making this up, have not smoked anything; i swear

  • HT
    1-0, and i’m almost disappointed we’re not 2 goals up
    impossible to single one lad out – they are the spartan 300
    wish there had not been a ht; now i’m thinking of our second half against leicester
    guess pep will bring bernardo in, and him i fear a lot
    having said that, mikel probably know exactly what the blues’ reorganization will be
    so … beer, now, back in a few minutes

  • My boy Pepe with the fine assist. I cant believe Auba didn’t return the favour with a missed opportunity to tee up Pepe with an almost open net. That missed pass is as egregious as any missed scoring chance hope it doesn’t come back to bite us. AMN playing well but he also screwed up a real chance for an assist to top off a great counter attacking move. Ceballo and Xhaka have been immense defensively and Laka playing very well.

  • To be fair almost the whole team playing excellent Tierney and Luiz with some great interceptions and defending. I worry about Bells and Mustafi being targeted more 2nd half here we go.

  • we give the ball away too fast
    guess it was to be expected
    they’re piling corners up on top of one another
    gonna be one of the longest half-hour in an arsenal fan’s life
    this one’s cleared by laca; what a warrior this lad is

  • We are weathering the storm just need to make better decisions with the ball

  • 21.06
    de bruyne
    just wide – maybe even kissed the post
    sterling in our bow, wonderful tackle by shkodran
    wait!!!!! VAR!!!!!
    nothing given
    definitely pgmol clones

  • This break could not have come at a better time for us need something to change.

  • 21.10
    rodri-foden in
    gündogan-mahrez out
    first ball for foden – ainsley, like a berlin wall
    water break – burgundy for me, thank you

  • AUBA!!!!!!!!!!! 2-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    wonderful holdup play by pépé
    keran initiated the move; then provided a devilish through pass to assist our king of the day
    might we …?
    could we …?
    will we …?
    get me a time machine, quick

  • I could see Laca was knackered great shift good sub lets see this out Gunners!!!

  • by the way … auba nutmegged ederson!!!!!
    must be in the twilight zone
    gonna wake up soon; atkinson will have awarded a second penalty to pulis’s stoke after we hit the bars four times

  • Mustafi down hopefully not too bad he almost got an assist would have been awesome if Auba got the hattrick against a big opponent after all the criticisms that he doesn’t score in the big games.

  • shkodran pirloed a long ball over city’s defense
    auba, gentle soul as he is, didn’t deliver the fatal blow
    i just don’t care – wembley kings, that’s what we are

  • Nice game.
    Much more convincing than the victory against Liverpool, albeit the scoreline was the same.
    Luiz was the Man of the Match; Xhaka is the Man of the Season.

  • Im hoping for Chelsea in the final the boys and Mikel were absolutely brilliant. Hard to pick a M.O.M but im giving it to Luiz and AMN.

  • Great job, LE GALL and Makayah for the live blogging. It wasn’t a day to take eyes off the screen, for me. I was virtual-defending with the lads, hurt my shin in the process of blocking that Sterling attempt with David Luiz. Lol. I slid and knocked a mahogany stool over but that hurt.

  • I was happy to see AMN on for Saka today. He is more comfortable defending and stronger against quick footed wingers. David Luiz was MoTM, for me with Xhaka and Tierney closely following.

    I know he gave an assist and was involved in the 2nd goal too, but Pepe isn’t the player for a game where we don’t get to have too much of the ball. It must be said Arteta has drilled some defensive discipline into the boys, at the cost of our usual possession game. Plus, we are so much more confident playing out from the back, these days.

  • Don’t care who we get in the final. We’ve got to win it to be in Europe so, win it we must. Even if we have to play the same way; if it’s working, it may become habit. Baby steps to the emergence of a team that will compete.

  • !Management has taken a lot of stick and rightfully so but it was a masterstroke hiring Mikel. I had wanted him first time round but I reckon it did him good learning more from Pep and prepared him a little better. It is staggering how well he has done under the circumstances come in so late in the season after the shambles that Unai left us in. He has done so well rehabilitating Mustafi, Luiz and even Xhaka, who had looked to leave, while improving players like Danny and Pepe. Just hope Kroenke backs him up and that we make the right moves in the market. Come on you Gooners!!

  • Brilliant tactic defensively– so it seemed.
    I mean– Mendy must have had about a hundred touches on the left. The one guy who can’t really hurt you from that space. Surprised after half that Pep didn’t make some type of adjustment. Even at the water break.
    OK had to look it up on WhoScored. Mendy had 96 touches. 70 passes (89%).
    One– countem’ 1– key pass.

    City had 43 crosses. 12 corners. 16 shots/1 on target. Those are amazing numbers. Wonder what odds you might have gotten on Arsenal holding Pool, then City to 1 goal total– over 200 or so minutes?

    While hard to disagree on Luiz or Xhaka or even Tierney or AMN or some combo as MOTM?
    Somewhere in that mix? Belongs Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. 3 shots/3 on target. 2 goals. To add– Arsenal took 5 shots/5 on target.

    Just a fantastic one to watch. 😁


  • ta, i think you have some good music in your spams …
    man, we’re over the moon about a football game; doesn’t mean we’re forgetting about your ‘pa
    send us good news, asap

  • Well, after scoring two goals, Auba would probably be named MoTM but, for his performance, Luiz deserves a shout.

  • Seems that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and why not, performances of that magnitude don’t come our way very often anymore although I sense that that is going to change.

    Luiz summed it up for me when he said the teams performance was in his words ‘modern football’ and that they ‘understood’ what is required. I see it as pragmatic, common sense, a bit like George Graham in that it’s not only about aesthetics it’s about the result. Yes, it’s great to play free flowing football for 90 minutes and winning with a swagger but we can’t throw a billion dollars/euros/pounds at our team, so we have to play smart and that’s exactly what we did, we stopped them, let them have possession when it wasn’t dangerous but look at our first goal, 19 passes and then a prod with the outside of his foot to beat one of the best goalkeepers in the world, that was quality and we did that whilst under constant City pressure. It takes talent, technique, courage and confidence to out-pass one of the best teams in the world and score.

    Even De Bruyne looked confused, he didn’t know whether to stick or twist and not many teams will do that to him and control him like we did in this game. Isn’t that right Johnnie?

    Le Gall, kudos to you for the running commentary and Makayah, well done fellas.
    I found the game all consuming and needed to make a cup of tea at half time to have a rest, so no comments but for me it was great to read all yours.

    Immensely proud of my team…

    Hey Total, give us an update when you can as we all wanna know how it’s going.

  • Hey guys, what a win last night. Listened to radio on Arsenal. com and that was a joy. So proud of the boys.

  • Kev and others thanks for kind words re my dad. I saw him last night and it did him good. He is on the mend but has been weakened by those heart attacks and operations. He can see light at the end of the tunnel again now and we will be working on a recuperation plan with the doctors and superb nurses here.

    Long visits are still too much for him but we hope to watch a bit of the Chavs V Mancs game tonight.

    Take good care guys,

    TA (cannot log on under normal name)

  • Wembley has always been our favourite ground and we found some extra oomph there everytime to win the FA cup. We had our backs to the wall moments, but we had more opportunities going forward compared to the Liv game.

    Good start to end the season on a high

  • very glad to hear your dad is in such good hands, ta
    hospital staffs are heroes; everybody knows that now – that may be the one good thing about this COVID-b…h
    these nurses you mention may not have had one day off for four months; they are clare’s true “maidens in the sun”

  • Nice to hear your Dad is on the mend, TA. Regards to the medical staff who take care of him. LE GALL has said it right; heroes, all.

    Enjoy the game tonight…..always nice when the tension isn’t necessarily with you watching such games. 🤨

  • Total, so pleased to hear that Total Senior is on the mend and as for you yourself you are obviously blessed and very lucky to have inherited such strong genes from your Papa.

    Yes, I had a lot of interactions with nurses and doctors back in 2007/8 and they really are a breed apart, wonderful people…

    Enjoy the game with him tonight.

  • Best of news TA. Very glad to hear it.
    Again, I have to echo LG and Kev’s sentiments. Thinking about the hospital folks who helped my Dad (and counseled me) in 08-09. Difference makers, every day, in the most difficult of times for most.

    And you TA. Take good care of yourself as well.


  • ESPN 10.17 BST: Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “pretty convinced” he will stay at Arsenal but admitted winning the FA Cup would strengthen the club’s attempts to tie him to a new contract.

    “The way I look at him when I speak with him, he sounds pretty convinced,” he said. “But obviously if he can see that success and the direction we are taking is the right one, I think he will be more positive about it yes.”

    Mikel seems always to choose his words to the press wisely. Like the tone of this.
    In the current situation? A buyers market. Keeping Auba seems the best idea.


  • From another site that’s been around awhile– and I have to agree:

    Mikel Arteta – 10
    First ever ten I have given. He got everything right, the tactics, team selection and there is absolutely nothing I can fault him for in this game.

    Yeah. Gotta’ give that a thumbs-up. 👍


  • doesn’t look good at all for bailly
    hate seeing this
    this guy must be the unluckiest player on the planet
    thinking that one of these two sleeping-pill-sides – maybe both – will play in the champions’ league next year, really hurts

  • sure hope it won’t be baku reloaded
    whatever may happen that day, come august 1st i think i’ll miss aaron though – he had definitely broken the wembley code

  • I think Holding and Luiz could give Giroud a hard time.
    I like the guy, but we can’t let him becoming a 5-time FA Cup winner.

  • New Post…

    With TA out of town, I took the liberty to write a post. As always, it’s too long, but I guess I’ve been holding my peace for a while now…

    TA (or MA08…) I hope that’s OK…And I want to wish you and your father the best. Listening to the game yesterday seems like it must’ve been a nice thing… Watching it was good too…

    Likewise J-Dub, I’m very sorry about your recent losses. We’re dealing with a (semi) recent one as well–and one which was very sudden and unexpected which is a(nother) reason (maybe) for not participating in recent weeks on the blog. In general, because of my bad attitude and long-winded-ness (see–and try to read–the next post, if you have the time/energy…) I kinda think the blog functions better without me…

    Anyhow, it seemed like a good enough time to write something, so there it is… Cheers…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s