A place in the FA Cup fifth round will be up for grabs when Manchester City entertain Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Friday evening.
The Sky Blues have overcome the derby day disappointment at Old Trafford well by beating Tottenham and Wolves in their last two Premier League games. Erling Haaland scored his fourth hat-trick of the season on Sunday as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Wolves 3-0 to trim the gap between them and league leaders Arsenal to two points, although the Gunners beating Man United later on the day stretched it to five points again.
Pep Guardiola, whose City team smashed Chelsea 4-0 in the last round, knows the importance of the cup competition and is likely to field a strong side against an Arsenal side in imperious form.
Manchester City Team News
John Stones and Ruben Dias are fit again, with the former completing the full 90 minutes in the last two games against Spurs and Wolves, respectively. This means Manchester City have a completely clean bill of health heading into the FA Cup game against Arsenal.
Predicted Man City Lineup vs Arsenal (3-2-4-1)
Stefan Ortega was in goal when Man City trounced Chelsea 4-0 in the FA Cup third round, but Pep Guardiola could go with Ederson on Friday against Arsenal. Ederson kept a clean sheet against Wolves which should boost his confidence ahead of the big cup tie.
The City boss is expected to stick with the same three-man backline that started in the 3-0 win over Wolves at the weekend, meaning John Stones, Manuel Akanji and Aymeric Laporte all feature from the offset against Arsenal.
Akanji will be at the heart of the back three, with Stones and Laporte on either side of the Swiss international. They have to be at their best throughout the game to keep a highly motivated Arsenal side quiet.
Young Rico Lewis was taken off at half time against Wolves following his struggles. He is likely to start on the bench on Friday, with Kyle Walker expected to get the nod in a deeper midfield role alongside Rodri against Arsenal.
Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan will be tasked with providing creativity, energy and flair from advanced midfield roles. Riyad Mahrez has been one of City’s best players since the Premier League’s resumption and should start out wide on the right, whereas Jack Grealish hopes to catch the eye from the other wing.
Bernardo Silva, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden should offer cover for midfield positions from the bench.
Julian Alvarez is an option up front but it is highly unlikely Guardiola will dare to keep Erling Haaland on the bench, especially after his hat-trick against Wolves. Haaland will be eager to continue his rollicking form in front of goal and help City beat Arsenal.