1. Team form
Manchester City is currently having a dream run in the Premier League. The Citizens have won 23 of 27 games this season. The shock FA Cup loss to Wigan notwithstanding, City will be on the prowl for silverware. Arsenal start the game as underdogs despite their decent record at the Wembley Stadium. They will be buoyed by their win over City in last season’s FA Cup semi-final. City’s loss to Wigan has shown some weaknesses that Arsenal would like to exploit.
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2. Goal scorers
City’s Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling are among the league’s top scorers this year. Despite the fracas at Wigan, Agüero may be cleared for the final. The strikers will look to Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sané for assists. Arsenal would be stressing over Aaron Ramsey’s fitness which means more pressure on Alexandre Lacazette. Watch out for a keen battle between De Bruyne and Mesut Özil for midfield supremacy.
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3. Keeping the faith
Coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed his faith in Claudio Bravo. The goalkeeper was the hero in penalty shoot-out wins against Wolves and Leicester City. Bravo’s brilliant reflexes could prove decisive for a City victory. The Gunners are expected to field David Ospina in goal for the final. Ospina has also been their first choice in the Europa League. He is known for his vital saves as much as his unbelievable blunders.
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4. Big game blues
Arsenal’s form against the Premier League’s big teams is a cause for concern. The Gunners have eight losses and six draws this season. The heady days of their 2003-04 campaign are firmly behind them. City has steamrolled most opponents with just three draws and one loss this season. Other than Liverpool, they have not lost to any of the ‘big six’ clubs in the Premier League.
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The addition of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will benefit Arsenal. They
are expected to pose a big threat to City’s defence prowess. City has been performing
consistently throughout the season. An exciting match beckons but we reckon the Citizens will
have bragging rights.