Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Strong Arsenal and City XIs leave Saka and Foden benched

SoccerNews in English Premier League 18 Jul 2020

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will start together in attack for Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, although Bukayo Saka must be content with a place on the bench.

Record signing Nicolas Pepe has been preferred to teenager Saka by head coach Mikel Arteta.

Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka will look to build on their promising alliance in central midfield, while David Luiz must try to put a nightmare outing from his last encounter with City behind him.

The experienced centre-back was at fault for Raheem Sterling’s opening goal in a 3-0 win for City at the Etihad Stadium last month, where he also gave away a penalty and was sent off.

As revealed by Pep Guardiola on Friday, regular number one Ederson starts in goal for the holders.

Claudio Bravo has featured in the domestic cups for City this season, including in their EFL Cup final win over Aston Villa in March, but the veteran Chile international is sidelined with a muscular complaint.

Teenage centre-back Eric Garcia partners Aymeric Laporte in the heart of defence, with Ilkay Gundogan anchoring the City midfield behind dual playmakers David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.

Riyad Mahrez gets the nod to start on the right of a front three completed by Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, with Phil Foden having to be satisfied with a place on the bench alongside Bernardo Silva.

Arsenal beat City 2-1 after extra time at the same stage of this competition three years ago, although Guardiola’s side have won each of the subsequent seven meetings between the teams.

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