London, Jul 18 (efe-epa).- Mikel Arteta bested coaching mentor Pep Guardiola here Saturday as Arsenal defeated holders Manchester City 2-0 in the FA Cup semifinal.
After playing a major role as Pep’s assistant in City’s back-to-back Premier League titles and last year’s domestic treble, Arteta spoiled his old boss’ bid for a Carabao Cup-FA Cup-Champions League trifecta in 2020.
The Gunners, who lead all clubs with 13 FA Cup trophies, are headed to the final of the world’s oldest national soccer competition for a record 31st time.
Arteta, a former Arsenal captain, took charge of the team last December and had only a few months to work with the squad before professional sports shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And the re-start did not begin well for Arsenal, who lost three Premier League matches, including a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of City, before winning their FA Cup quarterfinal against Sheffield United to book their spot in Saturday’s contest at Wembley Stadium.
But the Gunners are 4-1-1 in their last five league games and defeated champions Liverpool on Wednesday.
Man City spent the first 10 minutes of the cup semifinal camped out in Arsenal’s end of the pitch, though without ever putting posing any serious problems for goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Arsenal soaked up the pressure and waited for opportunities on the counter, such as when defender David Luiz collected a loose ball in midfield and filtered a pass deep to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose shot was handled comfortably by keeper Ederson.
City’s next giveaway would prove costly.
Nicolas Pepe sent a cross into the area that found Aubameyang unmarked at the far post and the Gabonese striker put the Gunners ahead 1-0 in the 19th minute.
Ederson stopped a Shkodran Mustafi header to prevent Arsenal from taking a 2-0 advantage to the dressing room at half-time.
City, who ended the match with 70 percent possession, created chances in the second half. Raheem Sterling fired wide after getting the ball from Kevin de Bruyne in the area before Riyad Mahrez forced a fine stop from Martinez.
As City continued to press for an equalizer, an uncharacteristically poor corner kick by De Bruyne set up another Arsenal counter.
Kieran Tierney worked a give-and-go with Pepe and then sent the ball deep to Aubameyang, who enticed Ederson off his line and shot between the keeper’s legs to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute.
The closest City came to scoring was a blast from distance by Aymeric Laporte with seven minutes left that went just wide of the post.
Manchester United and Chelsea will clash on Sunday to determine who faces Arsenal in the Aug. 1 final at Wembley. EFE msg/dr