Ake the star as Haaland flops! Winners and losers as Manchester City knock Arsenal out of FA Cup

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Nathan Ake Manchester City 2022-23
The Dutch defender fired in the decisive goal as Pep Guardiola secured another win over his former assistant

Manchester City drew first blood in the battle of the Premier League’s top two with a narrow 1-0 win against Arsenal in the FA Cup on Friday night.

Whether the result has any impact on the upcoming league meetings between the two sides remains to be seen, but Pep Guardiola will be delighted to have got one over Mikel Arteta once again.

Nathan Ake’s second half goal proved to be the difference during an incredibly tight contest, with the defender curling a fine finish into the far corner after being set up by Jack Grealish.

Arsenal did have their chances, especially in the first half when they were the better side, but Stefan Ortega did well to keep out stinging drives from Takehiro Tomiyasu and Leandro Trossard.

Mikel Arteta made six changes from the team that started against Manchester United on Sunday and Trossard, making his full debut following his move from Brighton, looked very impressive before half-time.

But City improved after the interval and it was Ake’s fine finish that eventually ensured it was the home side who progressed through to the fifth round.

  1. Winner: Nathan Ake

    Winner: Nathan Ake

    The Manchester City defender was the arguably the game’s stand out performer. Even before his goal he had enjoyed a very good night up against Bukayo Saka. Not many defenders have been able to keep the Arsenal winger quiet this season, but Ake did exactly that. He stayed really tight to Saka and did not ever allow himself to get isolated so he could be attacked one on one. It was a fine display by the Dutch international, who capped it with his crucial goal in the second half. The shot may have taken a slight deflection off the toes of William Saliba, but it was still a fine finish which proved to be the decisive moment in a very tight contest.

  2. Loser: Erling Haaland

    Loser: Erling Haaland

    He’s not had many of them, but this was a very quiet evening for the prolific Manchester City hitman. He was involved in a running battle with Rob Holding in the first half and certainly didn’t have things all his own way, even though he gave as good as he got physically. He did have one half chance when his pace caught Gabriel Magalhaes napping, but could only prod his lobbed effort high and wide. Other than that he was feeding off scraps all night and looked a frustrated figure by the end.

  3. Winner: Leandro Trossard

    This was Trossard's first start since his move from Brighton and he looked like he'd been part of the Arsenal furniture for years. He was bright, direct and looked by some distance the player who might make something happen for the visitors. He caused John Stones all sorts of problems before the City defender was forced off injured just before half-time.

    Trossard's touch was excellent and his ability to use both feet made him very difficult to control. He was very unlucky not to open the scoring in the first half with one stinging effort which was saved and he also set up a good opportunity for Eddie Nketiah with some more excellent wing play. It's still early days for Trossard at Arsenal, but if this showing is anything to go by then he is going to prove to be an exceptional piece of business by the Gunners.

  4. Loser: Bukayo Saka

    Loser: Bukayo Saka

    Arsenal's star winger just couldn't get himself into the game. That was mainly down to the excellent performance of Ake, but Saka will still have been disappointed not to have made more of a mark on the game. The few times he did get on the ball in a bit of space, he was unable to cause the sort of problems he usually does down the right hand side of Arsenal's attack. Saka was eventually replaced by Martin Odegaard for the final quarter-of-an-hour, which summed up the frustrating night he had endured.

  5. Winner: Pep Guardiola

    Winner: Pep Guardiola

    Guardiola and Mikel Arteta may be the best of the friends, but the Manchester City boss will be delighted to have got one over his former assistant. Aside from the FA Cup semi-final in 2020, Guardiola has beaten Arteta on every occasion that they have come up against each other and this was arguably the most important of the meetings so far.

    It may not count for anything in terms of the Premier League points tally, but Guardiola would have known what an Arsenal victory at the Etihad would have meant. It would have given the Gunners a massive boost belief wise, so the City manager will be ecstatic to have halted their momentum.

  6. Loser: John Stones

    Loser: John Stones

    This was not a night the England defender will look back on fondly. He was given a fairly torrid time by Trossard in the first half, with the Arsenal winger causing him real difficulties with his pace and trickery down City's right hand side. And to make matters worse for Stones, he was then forced off injured with what looked like a hamstring issue just before the break. Given the important games that Guardiola's side have coming up, that will be a big concern.