Explaining his team selection, he says: “We have to rotate the squad and we also had some injuries, some people we had to leave behind. It is still a really competitive team. We have added players who have performed very well this season in other competitions, so I am very excited. ”
Asked how long he expects Martinelli to be able to play today, he replies: “We’ll see how he copes. He’s been away a long time. But he is full of passion and energy and I think he will bring something different to the squad ”.
In short, he says, “We need to show competitive advantage … individual battles are key to winning these games.”
The winners of these quarter-finals could face Brentford in one of the semi-finals, as Thomas Frank’s team just eliminated Newcastle. The other potential opponents will be in action in tomorrow’s quarter-finals: Stoke v Spurs and Everton v Manchester United.
The news ahead of the game is good for Arsenal as 19-year-old Gabriel Martinelli is back in the starting lineup for the first time since he suffered an injury in March. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of shape before his own recent injury, this is an opportunity for the youngster to provide at least part of the answer to the goal-scoring problem that has plagued Arsenal this season. That still leaves the question, of course, as to how Arsenal are going to create opportunities for anyone to score …
Unbelievably, that’s a problem that has plagued City this season as well. Guardiola gives Mahrez, Silva, Foden and Jesus a chance to tackle that today, and he has fearsome options on the bench, to boot.
City: Steffen; Cancelo Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodrigo, Fernandinho, Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden
Subs: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Gundogan, Torres, Sterling, Aguero
Arsenal: Runarsson; Mustafi, Gabriel, Kolasinac; Soares, Elneny, Ceballos, Willock, Maitland-Niles; Lacazette, Martinelli
Subscribers: Leno, Tierney, Mari, Smith-Rowe, Pépé, Balogun, Nkettiah
Referee: S Attwell
Hi. Manchester City used to be Mikel Arteta’s happy place. He did his job, people praised him, and the team he coached generally won. Heady days. Now Arteta returns to City in charge of an Arsenal team that has not won a game in a national competition for almost two months and doubts abound as to whether the coach knows what to do and how to get players back on board with his method and conduct. After a brilliant start at Arsenal, Arteta seems mired in sadness. But a look at the silverware would bring some cheer before Christmas.
Arsenal beat Leicester and Liverpool (the second teams) in this tournament earlier in the season, but City is likely to prove more difficult. They tend to take this tournament seriously, winning it in five of the last seven years. So while Pep Guardiola will probably not display his strongest side available, he will show little mercy to his former assistant. As for Arteta, do you already know what her strongest side is?
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