Arsenal reached their fourth FA Cup final in seven years and wrecked Manchester City’s hopes of retaining the trophy on Saturday courtesy of a 2-0 win at Wembley.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double, with one in either half, stunned Pep Guardiola’s side as Mikel Arteta enjoyed an excellent win over the man he served at City as his assistant coach.
Aubameyang gave Arsenal a surprise lead on 17 minutes and added another 18 minutes from time, leaving Guardiola’s men with no way back, ending their chances of winning three trophies this season following last campaign’s domestic treble.
Arsenal, record 13-time winners of the FA Cup, will play either Chelsea or Manchester United in the final on Aug. 1.
Arsenal coach Arteta made five changes to the lineup that beat champions Liverpool 2-1 in midweek. Aubameyang was among those back in the Arsenal side while FA Cup holders City made five changes of their own.
There was still no place in the squad for Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, however, as his battle with the club continues to cast a cloud over his future.
City began brighter, with Raheem Sterling wriggling free and finding David Silva, who could not quite connect with the cross inside the opening three minutes.
Arsenal should have opened the scoring on 16 minutes when Aubameyang was sent clean through, but his effort was hit straight at Ederson in the City goal.
The Arsenal striker made amends soon after, though, with a superbly taken finish from Nicolas Pepe’s cross that found the net via the post.
In an error-strewn first half, Kevin De Bruyne had a shot blocked after Hector Bellerin needlessly gave the ball away while at the other end, Aubameyang again went close after a shaky City defence failed to clear.
Sterling missed a golden opportunity to equalise three minutes after the restart after a fine cross from De Bruyne but he screwed his effort wide, much to Guardiola’s dismay.
The second half then took on an attack vs. defence shape, with City — unbeaten in 22 domestic cup matches ahead of Saturday’s clash — probing their way through but finding Arsenal’s defence in resilient form.
De Bruyne sent a free kick goalwards just past the hour mark and it rippled the wrong side of the net from a City perspective before Aubameyang landed the knockout blow.
Collecting a fine pass from Kieran Tierney, Aubameyang raced clear of the City defence and slipped a clinical finish under the despairing Ederson to complete a fine victory for Arteta.