In just a couple weeks, Manchester City will take on Arsenal in one of the more impressive FA Cup semi-final pairings in recent memory. This tournament doesn’t feature typically such a collection of heavyweights, but 2017’s version is stacked with top clubs. The winner of this pairing will take on either Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur in what ought to be an electric final. Here are a few of our own early thoughts about Man City’s prospects.
Arsenal Look Weak
At the risk of starting on a note of over-confidence, we may as well get this out of the way right from the beginning. The Gunners look somewhat out of sorts. They started the calendar year well, but have since fallen off to the point of not truly looking like a top Premier League club. This site’s article for supporters looking for an edge in the FA Cup pairings suggested there was a distinct possibility of a Lincoln City upset during the quarter-finals. While Arsenal got past that contest it hasn’t looked particularly inspired elsewhere. A recent drubbing at Crystal Palace should only further concerns about a club that’s simply out of form.
Premier League Game Week 33 Is Big
We need to worry about the semi-final first, but Week 33 has major FA Cup implications. Man United is hosting Chelsea, while Tottenham hosts Bournemouth. Should Chelsea lose while Tottenham wins, there’s a chance the two might meet in the FA Cup semis with only four points separating them in the domestic standings. That may mean that both hold back somewhat with a focus on the top domestic prize, but it almost certainly means Chelsea would be doing so. With both the EPL and Champions League out of the picture, Man City and Arsenal have everything to play for at the FA Cup. Chelsea and Tottenham could be in very much the opposite situation, which would make for a curious imbalance in the semis.
Arsenal Will Be Comfortable
The official club page points out that it was just three years ago in the FA Community Shield when the Gunners earned a comfortable 3-0 win over City at Wembley. That was the last time these two clubs met on this stage, and coupled with the Arsenal’s decent form against Man City in general it should lend them some confidence. Again, they’re in relatively poor form of late, but this is a nice opportunity for them to snap out of it.
Keep An Eye On Sané
It’s not a crazy streak, but Leroy Sané has scored in each of his the last two matches against Arsenal. And as one report naming him “Man of the Match” in the 2-2 draw earlier this month noted, he had a recent streak of five goals in eight appearances. If City are to come out on top of the Arsenal in the semis, it seems likely Sané will be a big reason why.