Arsenal are through to the finals of English F.A Cup, thanks to a double strike on the break by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang which saw the gunners send Manchester City home from Wembly for the first time in ten successive visits. 

The two sides repeated their fate when they played each other in the  FA Cup semi final in April 2017 were Arsenal, who went on to lift what turned out to be the last trophy of Arsene Wenger’s reign.

As it stands Mikel Arteta is one win away from kickstarting a new era for the Gunners with some silverware after beating his mentor Pep Guardiola’s side and successfully breaking down and frustrating City’s expensively-assembled array of world class talent.

Arteta’s Arsenal, having shown in their midweek victory against champions Liverpool that they have learned how to withstand pressure, ride their luck when VAR failed to award City a penalty to keep the half-time score at 1-0 and then went ahead to seal their victory in the second half.

More significantly, in Aubameyang they have a goalscorer capable of punishing City when the gears in the beautiful juggernaut are crunching.

The Arsenal skipper took only one of his three first-half chances, but it mattered not when he raced clear 20 minutes from the end to make it 2-0.

Oh ye of little faith. Before the game, some Arsenal fans seemed to believe the best-case scenario was defeat with dignity.

As opposed to the 3-0 defeat they had suffered to City in their first game of Project Restart, courtesy of David Luiz’s spectacular 25-minute cameo.

Their fears looked justified for a while. Arsenal’s back three became a back five as they were pinned in their own half and needed some last-gasp clearances to keep City at bay.

Inside 10 minutes Shkodran Mustafi, Dani Ceballos and goalkeeper Emi Martinez were shouting at each other after Mustafi had been robbed in his own penalty area by Raheem Sterling.

It was a surprise when the Gunners created the first big chance of the game. 

Luiz demonstrated the passing and vision which had led a string of managers to forgive his defensive lapses, but Aubameyang, clean through, hit his shot straight at Ederson, who had come out quickly.

Aubameyang made up for it moments later. He stole in behind Kyle Walker to meet a Nicolas Pepe cross on the half volley and sent his finish deftly back across Ederson and into the net.

The first drinks break gave City the chance to get over the shock, and they were soon looking dangerous again. A misplaced Bellerin pass allowed Gabriel Jesus to tee up Kevin De Bruyne for a shot that Granit Xhaka blocked and City screamed for a penalty.

But then Ederson was guilty of a similar lapse at the other end, when his loose ball towards De Bruyne was picked off, only for a hesitant Aubameyang to fail to capitalise.

The game was now more even, with Arsenal enjoying a bit more of the ball but drawing involuntary hisses of concern from the press box as they played out from the back.

A few minutes before the break, Mustafi forced a decent save from Ederson with a header from a Ceballos corner.

And so the first half ended with City having had 62 per cent of the ball, but no efforts on target to Arsenal’s three.

Sterling should have improved that statistic soon after the restart, but skewed his shot wide after a surge and cross from the left by De Bruyne.

Martinez made his first save of note in the 54th minute, a routine one from Riyad Mahrez. 

City were now well on top, with De Bruyne sending a free kick inches wide.

 

Then came the customary VAR controversy. Referee Jon Moss gave a corner after Mustafi’s challenge on Sterling but replays seemed to show the Arsenal man fouling the City man before then winning the ball.

But safe in his Stockley Park bunker, video ref Craig Pawson decided it wasn’t quite clear and obvious enough to over-rule his on-pitch colleague.

Just to rub it in, the corner found Sterling unmarked in the six-yard box but the ball bounced harmlessly off his chest and into Martinez’s arms.

An equaliser would have been the logical conclusion.

Photo/Credit: www.thesun.co.uk