On Saturday evening, Arsenal faced Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final. Here are five things we learned from the astounding 2-0 victory.
In a remarkable FA Cup semi-final, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal faced the brilliant Manchester City and handled them superbly. Defending stoutly and counter-attacking ferociously, they repelled City’s relentless waves of attacks before breaking forward with pace and precision. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice, the team worked tirelessly, and Arteta’s masterplan came to fruition. This is a great day to be an Arsenal fan.
Here are five things we learned.
5. This is what Lacazette gives you
Alexandre Lacazette was the best player on the pitch in the first half. Playing in a false-nine-type position, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe flanking him and pushing high, the Frenchman excelled as he dropped into the midfield to receive the ball with his back to goal, hold off a pressuring defender, and then move the ball wide for Arsenal to progress play forwards.
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Time and time again, Lacazette demanded difficult passes from his teammates. Not only did he control them; he would off the City defender, spin into space, and then play a pass into another teammate in space. Lacazette won several fouls, allowed Arsenal to release building pressure from the relentless waves of City attacks, and was the focal point of the Gunners’ counter-attacks. And then, without the ball, he played a crucial role in nullifying the control impact of Ilkay Gundogan. The German played at the base of the City midfield. There to dictate the tempo and control the play, Lacazette simply followed him when the City centre-backs and goalkeeper had the ball. He did not allow City to play through the thirds and forced them to go long. This is what a confident, fully fit Lacazette can give you.