Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Thomas Bristow

Arsenal squad arrive for huge Man City FA Cup clash and rehearsal for title showdown

Arsenal's stars have arrived in Manchester for their crunch FA Cup clash with Manchester City.

Seemingly not taking a backseat with the FA Cup, Mikel Arteta has named a strong squad with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka all among those pictured on Thursday evening. Emile Smith Rowe was not spotted.

The two sides will face off at the Etihad on Friday night in the fourth round tie which could have a knock-on effect in their Premier League title race. Five points separate Arsenal in first and Manchester City in second - but the Gunners have a game in hand.

Whichever way the result goes, it could play on the minds of both teams when Arteta and Pep Guardiola meet again on February 15. Despite it being late January, the season is only halfway through thanks to the month-long World Cup break in November and December, with there being plenty of games left to play.

Bukayo Saka arrives in Manchester with his Arsenal team-mates (Eamonn and James Clarke)
Oleksandr Zinchenko is a part of the squad (Eamonn and James Clarke)

Despite this Arteta has played down any potential impact from the fixture. He said: "I think there are going to be two very, very different games, and to put similarities into them is very unreal. Maybe because of the players on the pitch, but as well the context is extremely different. Let’s see - obviously it is important to win and play well.

"That gives you more momentum, more confidence and prepares you better for the next match, and that’s our focus to do that on Friday. It’s a big match, and a big test for us against in my opinion the best football team in the world. I’m looking forward to it because it will tell us a lot about where we are."

Guardiola will come up against his old assistant, not for the first time, and discussed his exit from Manchester City. "I am pretty sure if I would have left, he would be here and he would be the best, absolutely," he said.

"But I extended the contract - I am sorry - and he didn't wait. I am not a guy to say, 'no, you have to stay with me'. Everyone has dreams. We felt if one team could offer him (the chance) to be manager he would leave.

"I know he went to 'his' club, the team he dreams of. He's a supporter, for the fact he played there, he was a captain there. He loves the club. I remember when we were together here, when we scored goals, he'd jump a lot and celebrate - except against one team. It was Arsenal.

"Like me, if I'm training as assistant and Barcelona call me, I will go. My club. People have to fly when he believes is the best. Life is too short. Spend time in a place you believe suits you better. If it's a bad place or you don't like it, leave."

He said: "I don't know my part on him but his influence on me was great, massive, so important in becoming a better manager."

Arsenal squad : Aaron Ramsdale, Karl Hein, Matt Turner, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Jakub Kiwior, Gabriel, Rob Holding, William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kieran Tierney, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Martin Odegaard, Fabio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, Marquinhos, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.