Branded as the underdogs once again just like they were when they faced Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinal in 2016-17, Arsenal managed to come out on top with a sensational 2-0 win to knock out the holders to reach the final.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both goals for Arsenal in the game. The kind of goals Arsenal scored against Manchester City was an example of how much the Gunners have improved under Mikel Arteta in such a short period. The first goal saw Arsenal play out from the back while the second goal was a typical counter-attack after winning the ball from a Manchester City corner.
With the win, Arsenal will play in a record 21st FA Cup final where they'll chase a 14th title in the competition - the most by any club.
On that note, here are five takeaways from the Arsenal vs Manchester City FA Cup semifinal clash.
Five takeaways from Arsenal's FA Cup semifinal win over Manchester City
#1: Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus is not good enough
Gabriel Jesus is undoubtedly a top player and he has a bright future, but it is highly unlikely the Brazilian will be the heir to Sergio Aguero at Manchester City. The Argentine will leave City soon. While Jesus would be the ideal candidate to replace Aguero, he has not shown he has what it takes to lead Pep Guardiola's front line.
Jesus is highly inconsistent and often goes missing in big matches. Even if he does stay at Manchester City, he will continue to be second choice. That is because Guardiola is on the lookout for another top striker to replace Aguero, with Lautaro Martinez the latest to be linked in this regard.
#2: The Ceballos-Xhaka partnership flourishes for Arsenal
Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka both struggled quite a bit at the start of this season; Ceballos struggled with injuries while Xhaka had an infamous bust-up with the Arsenal fans.
However, since Arteta took over, Xhaka has rejuvenated his Arsenal career and has become an important cog in the team's midfield. It has been a similar case for Ceballos too who is finally finding his feet at Arsenal.
Xhaka and Ceballos seems to have formed an excellent partnership as they feed off of each other. In this regard, tying down the Spaniard either on loan or on a permanent basis should be a priority for Arsenal.
The two of them have been crucial for Arsenal since the restart. Xhaka has shown his ability to sit back, break up play and find long passes while Ceballos has moved the ball forward and has displayed his creativity too.
#3: Arsenal should offer Aubameyang whatever he wants
Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have been on a contract standoff for most of this season, but Arsenal's progress under Arteta is highly dependent on the Gabonese signing a new contract.
Aubameyang's goals have been nothing short of instrumental since his arrival at Arsenal. The fact that he is the first Arsenal player since Thierry Henry to score 20 goals in back-to-back seasons shows his importance.
Arsenal will never be able to replace Aubameyang's goals, no matter who they sign and how much money they spend. The Gabon international is a different breed of a striker and has a knack of scoring important goals.
The 31-year-old is reportedly looking for a £250,000-a-week and a three-year extension to his current agreement, but the two parties haven't found a middle ground yet. However, after today's performance, it is of paramount importance Arsenal offer him whatever he wants.
#4: Arsenal's defence has improved tenfold
Arsenal's defence has been a source for concern this season, and it is hard to remember when the Gunners last defended stoutly. However, since Arteta's arrival, things have massively improved on that front.
Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz were criticised by the Arsenal fans for their frailties but looking at the duo's performances since the restart, Arteta's influence can be clearly seen. Also, considering Arsenal managed to defeat Liverpool and Manchester City back to back just goes to prove my point.
#5: Arteta, the student has become the master
Mikel Arteta learned all he needed to learn about management from the best in the world, and Arsenal's 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola's Manchester City proved just that. Arteta got his tactics on point, and he needed to after the 3-0 loss Arsenal suffered against Manchester City on the day of the restart.
However, things could have happened differently in that match too if Arsenal had not suffered injuries to key players, which most likely messed up their gameplan. Nevertheless, it is clear that Arsenal have improved by leaps and bounds under Arteta, and Pep himself feels Arteta can make Arsenal title contenders again. Pep said:
"I see from the side how they celebrate goals, how they fight for every ball. They have begun to create something special for the club. Arsenal were one of the elite clubs in English football for the last 20, 30 years. When the club supports him there is no better person to do the job than Mikel. I have the feeling he is creating something unique. If he can be supported by the club with investment, get the players they need, they can be contenders for the next years."Published 19 Jul 2020, 19:10 IST