Three talking points from the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final action
The weekend’s FA Cup semi-final action saw Arsenal spring a surprise over Manchester City as they picked up a 2-0 win. The Gunners were on a seven-match losing streak against the Cityzens, but they managed to put up a resolute display to outsmart the reigning champions. The north London side progressed to a record 21st FA Cup final.
Meanwhile, Chelsea ended a losing run of their own against Manchester United. Prior to the game, the Blues were winless in six meetings against the Red Devils which included three successive losses this term. The capital outfit were able to arrest the winless streak with a comfortable 3-1 victory.
Three Talking Points from the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final action:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace: The Gabon international has tended to struggle when it comes to the games against the so-called big six and that has led to criticism from pundits. Against City, the 31-year-old squandered his opening chance when he was put through on goal by David Luiz, but he made amends thereafter with a match-winning brace. The forward’s future with the Gunners remains uncertain beyond the summer with his contract expiring in 11 months’ time, but that has not had any impact on his performances on the field of late.
Olivier Giroud’s revival at Chelsea: Giroud started the season as the third-choice striker behind Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi and he hardly got the opportunity to start games. He seemed on the cusp of leaving the Blues in January after not playing for several weeks, but the club blocked his departure as they could not pursue a replacement. That decision has proved a blessing in disguise for the club, given the Frenchman has since been able to revive his career. On either side of the COVID-19 break, Giroud has bagged seven goals from 13 appearances and that includes the opening goal against United on Sunday.
Arsenal – Chelsea final: The Gunners were the winners (2-1) in their previous FA Cup final against the Blues in 2017. However, the west London side avenged the result last season as they secured a comfortable 4-1 victory in the Europa League final which denied the Gunners a route into the Champions League. Both teams possess plenty of quality attacking options, but next month’s final could be more of a tactical battle of the defences. It won’t come as a surprise, if both teams line up with a 3-4-3 formation, which brought the best out of them in the semi-final stage.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com