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Man City last suffered a fourth-round FA Cup exit in 2014/15, before the arrival of Pep Guardiola, as they’ve reached the semi-finals in five of his six full seasons in charge. They may have only lifted the trophy once during this period, but have added four League Cup triumphs, as City certainly possess the strength in depth to go far in every tournament.
Arsenal of course have serious pedigree in this competition and despite their struggles in the late Arsene Wenger period and beyond, they’ve still won four of the last eight editions. Admittedly, they’ve only gone past the fourth round once since 2017, though that did come under current management as Mikel Arteta led them to victory in the 2019/20 season – beating Pep’s City in the semi-finals en route.
That result does however go against the grain of recent head-to-heads, with City claiming victory in 12 of 13 clashes since 2017/18 by an aggregate 33-6 scoreline. Of course, the Gunners are a different proposition this season, with the two sides yet to meet, as Arsenal’s latest victories over North London rivals Tottenham and a rejuvenated Man Utd have seemingly answered any lingering doubts regarding their title credentials. It means that since a defeat at Old Trafford in early September, Arteta’s men have won five of six unbeaten clashes with the traditional “Big Six” and Newcastle, scoring three times in half of those games as four them featured a minimum of four goals in total.
Man City haven’t exactly fared badly against quality opposition either. Since the start of November, they’ve taken a trio of victories over Chelsea, as well as wins over Sevilla, Liverpool and Tottenham. They did however lose the recent Manchester derby and were dumped out of the League Cup by Southampton, leaving them with just four clean sheets from their past 13 appearances. Still, a W20-D1-L1 record at the Etihad dating back to April 2022 has helped them to the tag of favourites in this tie.
Arsenal Draw Double Chance
Arsenal have won all five games on their travels since the start of November, but whilst this does include a comfortable 3-0 win at Oxford Utd, they also kept clean sheets at Chelsea, Tottenham and Wolves. With 12 goals off their own across the five games, and with a vastly better record against the top sides now, the Gunners should hope to improve upon the two goals they’ve mustered across their last five clashes with City.
Arsenal may be much improved defensively this season, with only Newcastle boasting a better record at the back this term, but City last failed to score at the Etihad in March 2022. Ominously, Erling Haaland has rediscovered his finishing touch following a brief run without a goal, as Pep Guardiola’s squad have a near clean bill of health. Phil Foden missed the clash with Wolves with a foot problem and it remains to be seen if he features here, but Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva returned to the bench in that game.
Gabriel Jesus remains the most notable absentee for the Gunners, with bit-part players Reiss Nelson, Mohamed Elneny and Cedric Soares also sidelined. New signings Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior could be in line for their first starts, though Arteta is unlikely to rotate too much against such strong opposition, even if a first league title since 2004/05 is the core focus for the London outfit this season.
ARSENAL DRAW DOUBLE CHANCE
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