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FA Cup Preview: Can the London clubs upstage the Manchester giants?

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It will be London taking on Manchester in this year’s Emirates FA Cup semifinal as Chelsea battle Manchester United while defending champions Manchester City will take on record winners Arsenal.

Here’s our in-depth preview of these two tantalizing encounters:

Arsenal vs Manchester City

Head-to-head: Arsenal 96-57 Manchester City, 45 draws

The first semifinal between Arsenal and Manchester City will be the repeat of the match between the two sides from 2016-17, where goals from Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez saw the Gunners upstage Pep Guardiola and men.

However, since then, it has been all Manchester City, as the Cityzens have recorded seven straight victories over the 13-time FA Cup champions. City have scored thrice in six of those seven fixtures and have conceded just twice – an overall aggregate score of 20-2.

The defending champions are aiming to be the first team to win the FA Cup back-to-back since their opponents did it back in 2015. 

Arsenal latest news and injury updates

Gabriel Martinelli, Pablo Mari, Bernd Leno and Callum Chambers will all miss out through long-term injuries. Mesut Ozil, who has been sidelined due to a back injury, might be fit for this match. 

Eddie Nketiah will be suspended as he serves the third of his three-match match for his red card against Leicester City in the Premier League.

Arsenal have three more matches to pick up at least two more points to avoid finishing with their lowest points tally in the Premier League era and need to pick up six more to at least match their second-lowest.

Manchester City latest news and injury updates

Talisman Sergio Aguero remains the only long-term absentee for Manchester City. 

City may have lost their Premier League title to Liverpool but are the favourites to win the FA Cup, having secured second place on the PL table, and are still in the hunt to win that elusive Champions League title.   

Kevin De Bruyne, the consensus Premier League Player of the Year, is closing in on Thierry Henry’s 17-year-old assist record of 20 in a season and needs just two more to match the great Frenchman.

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Head-to-head: Chelsea 54-81 Manchester United, 55 draws

Frank Lampard’s streaky Blues will take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s in-form Manchester United side for the fourth time this season when the two lock horns on Sunday. 

The Red Devils did the double over Chelsea in the league and also eliminated them from the League Cup thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford. Ole’s men have scored eight times in three matches against the Blues while Chelsea have scored just once in those encounters, indicating that the Norwegian truly has Lampard’s number as a manager.

United also eliminated Chelsea from the FA Cup last season and will head into the contest as the favourites to book their place in the final on August 1st.

Chelsea latest news and injury updates

Center back Fikayo Tomori is likely to miss the match with muscle problems, however, midfielder N’golo Kante is set to feature in what is a big boost to Frank Lampard and his side.

The match against United will the first of what is a tough run of fixtures for the Blues. Following the semifinal, Chelsea will travel to Anfield to take on champions Liverpool before ending their season with a trip away to Molineux to battle Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

They also have to travel to Munich and try to overturn a 0-3 deficit against the eight-time reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in their Champions League round-of-16 tie, and a victory against United will see them take on either Arsenal or Manchester City before the trip to Germany.

This run of fixtures will certainly be the toughest test of Frank Lampard’s young managerial career. 

Manchester United latest news and injury updates

Except for Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe, Solskjaer is expected to have a full squad at his disposal for the match against Chelsea, barring any injuries that the players might pick up against Crystal Palace on Friday.

Luke Shaw and Brandon Williams picked up injuries in their 2-2 draw against Southampton but are likely to be available for selection for the semi. 

Striker Anthony Martial and midfielder Bruno Fernandes have formed quite a partnership for United upfront, while teenager Mason Greenwood has also been in sensational form for the Red Devils in his historic first full season in the Premier League.

Rashford and Paul Pogba are getting in their groove after their lengthy layoffs and will be crucial if United are to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and win the FA Cup as well as challenge in the Europa League. 

What time and where to watch?

The Emirates FA Cup 2019-20 first semifinal between Arsenal and Manchester City will kick-off at 12:15 am IST on Sunday, 19th July and the second semifinal between Chelsea and Manchester United will commence at 10:30 pm IST on the same day.

Both matches will be broadcast live on the Sony TEN Network and SonyLIV app.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Catherine Ivill

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