All eyes will be zeroed in at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday when Arsenal face Manchester City in the second FA Cup semifinal, a clash set to be a goal-fest.
The teams have a defence that has bordered on the shambolic this season and while they have flattered deceive in the league, the FA Cup is a last chance to salvage their season.
Whether manager Arsene Wenger signs a contract extension at the end of the season may well be hinging on the Gunners’ result on Sunday.
The North Londoners are facing the possibility of having no Champions League football this season, trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by seven points with just seven games remaining.
So can they beat a confident Manchester City? It is difficult but as usual, the onus will be on talisman Alexis Sanchez and the mercurial Mesut Ozil. Both haven't been in top form of late and if the Gunners are to book their place in the final, they will need to deliver a performance that justifies their current wage demands.
Wenger, now, faces another dilemma, as he is still unsure whether he should start with three at the back, like he did in the win over Middlesbrough on Monday. Whatever his final decision, he will have to pay attention to their defensive organisation on set-pieces and implore defensive stalwart Laurent Koscieny to not make a major error in such a high-stakes clash.
What they are saying: “It is a match between two Premier League teams who are very close to each other in the table, so that means it’s very open and certainly you will be a bit more on your toes mentally,”Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (as per www.arsenal.com)
Injury concerns: Shkodran Mustafi (Thigh), Danny Welbeck (Toe), Santi Cazorla (Ankle), David Ospina (Back), Lucas Perez (Thigh)
Suspension Alert: None
It’s been a tough first season for Pep Guardiola in the English Premier League and now he is a far cry from contending for trebles as he accustomed to.
While Champions League qualification is almost assured, the Catalan was hired to win trophies and see them emerge as major power players in Europe and not finish third in the league. His side are brilliant going forward, with young wingers Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling emerging as standout players this year. Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero have had a muted season by their lofty standards but overall, the quality in their squad is immense and they should outclass Arsenal in theory.
Captain Vincent Kompany is fit again and as long as he continues to play, City can keep it relatively tight at the back but the big boost is that forward Gabriel Jesus has been included in the squad and could feature. With John Stones effectively ruled out, the Nicolas Otamendi is likely to partner Kompany in the centre of defence.
What they are saying: “I think it’s going to be a beautiful game. We expect that as players, the fans expect for sure because the two games we’ve played against Arsenal there were a lot of goals. Overall, I think we are the team who produce the most beautiful games in the Premier League, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure (as per www.mancity.com)
Injury concerns: John Stones (Knock), Bacary Sagna (Doubt), Gabriel Jesus (foot), Ilkay Gundogan (Knee)
Suspension Alert: None