Manchester City sent Premier League title rivals Arsenal FC out of the 2023 FA Cup at the fourth round. The Sky Blues got by the Gunners 1-0 on a second-half goal from Nathan Aké. Here we take a look at the trending storylines from under the Friday night lights at the Etihad.
Nathan “the Rock” Aké - Steady as she goes. Aké has easily been City’s most consistent performer throughout the season. While others in the squad have suffered injury and stretches of poor form, the Dutch defender has been the one undroppable back line player for Pep. Scoring the goal that put City’s biggest competition for the league out of the FA Cup just puts a nice bow on the gift that Aké has been for the Sky Blues.
Ortega Time - Stefan Ortega Moreno was a bit of an afterthought in the summer transfer window. City signed the biggest name of the summer, a South American striker, and, oh yeah, this backup goalkeeper guy we got on a free. Ortega has come into the club and been better than could be expected from a second-choice goalie. He has been Pep Guardiola’s preferred man in cup competitions, and he has kept a clean sheet in both FA Cup matches.
In-form Jack - There has been no shortage of criticism leveled at Jack Grealish in his time in Manchester. He clearly struggled to find his place in Pep’s system. Since his return from the World Cup, however, Jack has been enjoying the best form of his City career. He has become the nailed-on starter at left wing, and his form has found him making the kind of goal contributions that one might expect from a £100 million player.
Defender Fitness - Good news everyone. Rúben Dias is finally fit and available for selection. Bad news, John Stones left the match against the Gunners after apparently injuring his hamstring. City may soon be installing a revolving door to the trainer’s room for it’s defenders. It has seemed that as soon as one City backline gets healthy, another goes down injured. Here’s to a speedy recovery Stonesy.
Arsenal B - Former City Lieutenant Mikel Arteta put a heavily rotated team on the pitch against his old boss. Arteta started six players who had not been in the squad that faced Manchester United last Sunday. With William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard, and Etihad darling Oleksandr Zinchenko on the bench, many wondered if the side could stay with a representative City side. Arsenal were indeed very good on the night. City won the match and move on in the cup, but Arsenal looked like a squad ready to defend their league position against the Sky blues title push.
There you have it Cityzens. What are the stories your watching coming out of the match? Let us know in the comments.