Man City vs Arsenal score, result, highlights as Nathan Ake gives Pep Guardiola's men FA Cup win
ETIHAD STADIUM, MANCHESTER — Nathan Ake was Manchester City’s unlikely hero as he snatched a 1-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s side against Premier League leaders Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Mikel Arteta's Gunners, who are five points clear of champions City at the Premier League summit with a game in hand, made six changes to the side that beat Manchester United 3-2 last weekend, but Takehiro Tomiyasu and full-debutant Leandro Trossard each drew fine saves from City 'keeper Stefan Ortega in the home goal before halftime.
Kevin De Bruyne curled a sumptuous 25-yard strike just wide, but the clearest chance of the opening 45 minutes fell Arsenal's way when Eddie Nketiah volleyed wide from Trossard's cross at the near post.
City made the visitors pay for that wastefulness via an unlikely source, with left-sided defender Ake rolling home a right-footed finish from Jack Grealish's pass after substitute Julian Alvarez drilled a shot against the post.
Trossard was the pick of the Arsenal attack as Ake went about his primary job of shackling the in-form Bukayo Saka impressively. In the sixth minute, the Belgium international cut a ball across the City box that Tomiyasu hammered goalwards to draw a superb save from Ortega.
The Arsenal left winger then went it alone to again find City’s cup goalkeeper up to the challenge, handing 18-year-old Rico Lewis the toughest night of his fledgling professional career to date.
De Bruyne going close to the spectacular merely served to underline how peripheral he’d been, certainly in comparison to his effervescent compatriot Trossard, who should have had an assist to his name when Nketiah erred.
It fell to Ake to show the sort of composure that deserted the forwards on display, including Erling Haaland, who endured a frustrating evening. Grealish expertly kept the ball alive after Alvarez struck the upright, drawing Tomiyasu and Saka towards him and opening up the pass for Ake to finish with unexpected nonchalance.
Arsenal pressed hard to force the replay that neither manager could really have wanted, with substitute Gabriel Martinelli a livewire presence who forced Ortega to stay sharp until the last.
Despite finishing up on the wrong end of the scoreline, Arsenal showed City they will not be going anywhere in this season’s title race. A much-changed team had the better of the first half against what was, more or less, Guardiola’s first–choice outfield XI at this moment in time. The Gunners’ character was again on display in the way they responded to Ake’s goal. A narrow defeat, with pride intact and the capacity to focus all energies on the Premier League charge (sorry, Europa League) feels like a pretty good outcome for Mikel Arteta.
Manchester City’s ample depth at centre-back will again be tested after John Stones pulled up with a hamstring injury at the end of the first half. Aymeric Laporte came on for the England man and Ruben Dias remained an unused substitute — an unimaginable state of affairs over recent years. A large part of the reason for this change in the hierarchy is Ake’s form and versatility. Guardiola has praised the Dutchman as his best player this season when it comes to defending the 18-yard box. Ake more than lived up to that billing as he came out on top against the brilliant Saka. His goal was a surprising and deserved cherry on the cake.
City struggled during the first half, with their normally slick passing game disjointed. It’s not the first time that has been the case since the World Cup. The answer may lie with a man who lifted that trophy last month. While some of Guardiola’s players rely on collective rhythm to help them show their best form, Alvarez simply burrows into games, harasses opponents and jackhammers around until he gets what he wants. The Argentina star caused the goal and gave the attackers around him fresh impetus during the decisive phase of the game.
Fulltime: City get over the line. That was hard work for Pep Guardiola's men, who showed the necessary improvement after a pretty listless first half. We'll all try to extrapolate things we've learned tonight in the context of the title race. Arsenal, for their part, were dominant during the first half and pushed City back after going behind. They played with a palpable swagger despite Mikel Arteta making six changes to his starting lineup. City were not at their best, but refused to go away and showed an iron will to win, which might be viewed ominously in north London.
90th minute+2: Stefan Ortega launches a pass out to the right to Kyle Walker — that's been a bit of a game-changing ploy from Guardiola, in all honesty. The England man darts inside and draws a foul from his old mate Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is booked.
90th minute: Four minutes of stoppage time coming up. If only Arsenal had recent experience of stunning a Manchester team in stoppage time...
89th minute: Manuel Akanji comes charging out to challenge Granit Xhaka successfully. The centre-back urges his colleagues to press out with him. Brave defending.
88th minute: Gabriel Martinelli again! He dances around Kyle Walker effortlessly — give him a shout later, Kylian! Ilkay Gundogan gets a half-block in, and Ortega dives on the loose ball like it's a stray grenade.
87th minute: Granit Xhaka slips through a pass for Gabriel Martinelli. Stefan Ortega is out to snaffle it, but City haven't really worked out what to do with the Brazil winger so far.
85th minute: The next corner is cleared, but City are starting to feel a bit like they're hanging on.
82nd minute: Julian Alvarez lines up another shot from outside the box, but this one is straightforward enough for Matt Turner.
78th minute: Jack Grealish loops the delivery just over Aymeric Laporte and Rodri. Julian Alvarez retrieves the loose ball — of course he does — and whips a devilish ball in that Matt Turner is equal to with a fine punch.
77th minute: Granit Xhaka does one of those daft Granit Xhaka fouls we've not really seen this season. Bernardo Silva goes sprawling and City have a free-kick in a good position on the right.
76th minute: Not sure how Fabio Vieira's Brummie is, but Jack Grealish just offered him one or two choice observations.
72nd minute: It's been a strong response from Arsenal, who have remained on the front foot since Ake's goal. Mikel Arteta won't like being behind but, in the bigger picture, it's another big tick for his title aspirants. Bernardo Silva and Martin Odegaard are coming on for their respective sides. Bukayo Saka takes a rest for Arsenal and Kevin De Bruyne's night is also done.
66th minute: Almost the equaliser!!!!! Aymeric Laporte gets a vital touch that goes neither towards his own goal or allows Eddie Nketiah a tap-in. Stefan Ortega pouches the resulting corner to roars from the home support. Oleksandr Zinchenko has replaced Kieran Tierney at left-back for the Gunners.
Julian Alvarez, who has really changed the whole feel of the City attack since coming on, let rip with a low drive from long range that cannoned back off the post. Jack Grealish kept the ball alive, drew a couple of defenders and passed to Ake, who nonchalantly guided the ball home with his weaker right foot.
62nd minute: Searching ball for Bukayo Saka in behind Nathan Ake, but the Dutchman deals with it well.
59th minute: Eddie Nketiah wins a knockdown ahead of Aymeric Laporte, who appears to lose all concept of where the ball is. Fabio Vieira can probably take touch but goes for glory, slicing a 25-yard volley wide.
58th minute: Here come Julian Alvarez and Kyle Walker. Riyad Mahrez and Rico Lewis are the men to make way.
56th minute: Now a collision between Erling Haaland and Matt Turner. Think of Haaland in this situation as the world's biggest, clumsiest toddler. Turner is fine with it, all laughs and giggles between the two. Julian Alvarez is also about to come on for City.
55th minute: Matt Turner stays on and City decide to see how healthy he really is. Kevin De Bruyne gets down the inside right channel and drives a ball into the six-yard box. Turner gets down to deal with it well.
54th minute: Matt Turner is sitting on the turf having his shoulder looked at. This could be the end of Aaroin Ramsdale's night off. Meanwhile. it looks like Pep Guardiola is bringing Kyle Walker on. Walker is now on the receiving end of lots of instructions and pointing. Like Homer just before Mr. Burns sends him out to bat.
52nd minute: Better from City. Just after Matt Turner unconvincingly punches a De Bruyne special clear, Rico Lewis burst into the box but fires into the side netting at the near post.
51st minute: Kevin De Bruyne gets some room to stretch his legs in midfield. He looks for Erling Haaland, but it's a predictable pass and Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba close the door.
49th minute: Booming it to Erling Haaland is still the order of the day from Pep Guardiola — what would Johan Cruyff say?!?! Takehiro Tomiyasu and Matt Turner tidy up on this occasion.
46th minute: We're back underway. William Saliba is on for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta clearly deciding Rob Holding on a yellow against Erling Haaland was too much of a risk.
Halftime: Goalless at the break, with Jack Grealish offering referee Paul Tierney a home truth or two as they plod down the tunnel. Quietly, that's a huge half for Arsenal in the context of what they're aiming for this season. With six changes, they've faced up to City's first-choice outfield line up and been the better team. City back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega is the only reason they're not winning.
45th minute+4: Here's Aymeric Laporte. His supreme range of passing from the back might help City here, because they've been unusually ropey in that department.
45th minute+2: That's the end of John Stones' night. Aymeric Laporte will come on after he's removed his snood and several other layers of clothing. It's that sort of night in Manchester. City continue with 10 men for now.
45th minute: Two minutes of additional time have been signalled, but there'll be more. John Stones is down after grabbing at his hamstring. It doesn't look great for the England defender.
44th minute: Rodri uncharacteristically shells possession in his own half, underlining City's total lack of fluency here. Manuel Akanji thunders into a couple of vital challenges, first on Eddie Nketiah, then on Fabio Vieira. City look to break but the long ball to Riyad Mahrez, somewhat inevitably, skips out for a throw-in.
42nd minute: Wrestlemania MCR between Erling Haaland and Rob Holding continues. The Arsenal man is booked.
40th minute: A hairy moment for Stefan Ortega, who has to crunch into Eddie Nketiah on the right-hand side of his box, but it's a fair challenge. City go up the other end, but Jack Grealish's cross is way over Erling Haaland and, therefore, everyone.
39th minute: Another very un-Guardiola half chance. Haaland dashes after a bouncing ball over the top, barges into Gabriel and the resulting prod is way off target.
35th minute: Haaland takes a heavy touch then puts a simple pass out for a throw. The Arsenal fans respond in the pantomime style.
34th minute: Another chance for Arsenal, who have been the better team. Leandro Trossard down the left and his cross is lovely. Eddie Nketiah can't sort out his body position and skews a volley wide at the near post.
29th minute: Erling Haaland goes down clutching his head after a challenge with Rob Holding. Referee Paul Tierney waves "play on" and the City fans are furious. Tierney then decides, actually, that's a head injury, so halts Arsenal's break. The Gunners' fans are furious. Well done, ref!
22nd minute: Stefan Ortega again! Bukayo Saka launches an Arsenal break and his pass intended for Eddie Nketiah is seized upon by Fabio Vieira. He passes to Leandro Trossard down the left and the winger's shot across goal is brilliantly kept out by the City keeper.
18th minute: Takehiro Tomiyasu scampers after Jack Grealish and fouls him. The City winger isn't best pleased. The game has lost much of its early flow and gotten a little scrappy.
16th minute: For the second time this evening, City's teenage right-back Rico Lewis gets penalised for a foul throw.
15th minute: An Arsenal free-kick is lofted into the box. The ball drops to Bukayo Saka, but his shot is blocked at close quarters.
13th minute: Arsenal let Ilkay Gundogan dribble unchallenged for about 40 yards. Which is nice of them, I suppose. He passes to Jack Grealish, whose left-wing cross is easily snaffled by Matt Turner.
11th minute: It's maybe instructive that City's best moments have come from looking for Haaland early. Despite their six changes, in terms of overall football, Arsenal have been the smoother operators so far.
9th minute: Erling Haaland vs Rob Holding might end up being the whole ball game here. The Arsenal man loses his footing and Haaland looks to be in. Matt Turner comes out of his area to make an expert slide challenge and from the bouncing ball, Haaland tries an overhead kick that Takehiro Tomiyasu is able to mop up. Remember that Zlatan Ibrahimovic overhead kick against England? Sort of that idea.
3rd minute: Arsenal popping the ball around confidently at the back but they overcook it and Jack Grealish intercepts. Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland combine before Rodri blasts harmlessly over from 25 yards.
2nd minute: Interesting. Arsenal set up for a short City goalkick and Stefan Ortega goes long. Erling Haaland and Rob Holding get into an unseemly grapple. The referee gives the free-kick Arsenal's way but expect to see City try that one again.
1st minute: We're off. Arsenal pump one forward from kickoff and Rodri, who had a rather influential final say the last time these teams met, heads clear.
4 mins from kickoff: The (normal) lights are back on and here come the teams. Erling Haaland looking all business. There are nearly 8,000 travelling Arsenal fans away to might right and they're playing a full part in a cracking pre-match atmosphere. Let's go!
10 mins from kickoff: There was a nice reunion during the warmups for Oleksandr Zinchenko, who shared hugs with his old City teammates Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias. The Ukraine star is resting up on the bench tonight.
The smoke machines are pumping at the Etihad Stadium now in preparation for what has become City's customary pre-match lights show at an evening match. Sometime about that Simpsons GIF and Principal Skinner saying "no, it's the children who are wrong".
20 mins from kickoff: Much has been made before kickoff over how significant or otherwise the outcome of this match might be for the title race. Mikel Arteta's much-changed XI suggests he thinks something along the lines of "not very significant". But, it's still an Arsenal side with plenty of talent and imagine the psychological boost the entire squad would get from turning over a City team of this calibre. By the same token, a defeat in these circumstances should be easy to shrug off before returning focus to the league, so long as Erling Haaland doesn't go absolutely ballistic.
40 mins from kickoff: Over recent weeks, Pep Guardiola has been calling on his City players to match Arsenal in terms of hunger and desire. A glance over the two teams shows Guardiola throwing down this challenge to his players once again. Don't be fooled by the likes of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva lurking on the bench, this is more or less Guardiola's first choice XI at this moment in time, with the obvious exception of Stefan Ortega returning for cup action.
58 mins from kickoff: And this is the Arsenal XI. Mikel Arteta makes six changes from last Sunday's dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester United, including handing a full debut to new signing Leandro Trossard.
1 hr from kickoff: The teams are in. Erling Haaland is among the City starters.
1 hr 20 mins from kickoff: Arsenal and City have seven and eight days out of action after this game, at which point they will resume a battle for the Premier League title that has the Gunners in charge to the tune of five points and a game in hand. As such, there's no reason for either Pep Guardiola or Mikel Arteta to make too many changes, other than those perhaps aimed at trying to outfox an opponent each arguably knows better than any other. Guardiola certainly has previous for the odd maverick move in that regard. The all-important teamsheets are just 20 minutes away.
2 hours from kickoff: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News' live coverage of a mouthwatering FA Cup fourth-round clash between Manchester City and Arsenal.
Man City starting XI (4-3-3): Ortega (GK) — Lewis, Stones, Akanji, Ake — De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan — Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish.
Man City substitutes: Ederson (GK), Walker, Dias, Phillips, Cancelo, Laporte, Alvarez, Silva, Palmer
Arsenal starting XI (4-3-3): Turner (GK) — Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney — Vieira, Partey, Xhaka — Saka, Nketiah, Trossard.
Arsenal starting XI (4-3-3): Ramsdale (GK), White, Odegaard, Martinelli, Saliba, Kiwior, Lokonga, Marquinhos, Zinchenko.
Here's how to watch all of the action from this match in some of the major territories:
UK: FA Cup matches in the UK are broadcast live on the BBC and ITV and their respective streaming services. ITV will show City vs. Arsenal.