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Monday, 24 April 2017

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City AET: Alexis Sanchez pounces in extra-time to secure FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea



Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City AET: Alexis Sanchez pounces in extra-time to secure FA Cup final meeting with Chelsea

  • Subsitute Raheem Sterling had a goal ruled out in first-half following intervention from linesman Steve Child
  • Sergio Aguero fired his side into the lead just past the hour mark following deft assist from Yaya Toure 
  • Nacho Monreal finished from close-range to make it 1-1 with 20 minutes of the contest remaining 
  • Alexis Sanchez showed great composure to fire home at Wembley after a scramble in the penalty area
If this was one of Alexis Sanchez’s last meaningful acts in the famous red and white shirt, it may be the one that keeps Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager next season.
The club want a reason to keep him, and here it is. A swing at a third FA Cup victory in four years, the opportunity to make history as the only manager to win the tournament seven times and evidence of meaningful evolution at Arsenal this season, with the new back three formation.
When the final whistle blew, Wenger pumped both fists, looked to the sky and roared. He knew this was big. He knew this was necessary. If this season is to be the first out of that precious top four since 1996, he needed to put down a marker. Facing Chelsea in the final game of the domestic season on May 27 could be it. 
After a frantic scramble in the penalty area, Alexis Sanchez showed admirable composure to find the back of the net 
After a frantic scramble in the penalty area, Alexis Sanchez showed admirable composure to find the back of the net 
Sanchez races away to celebrate as his extra-time strike secured Arsenal's place in the FA Cup final
Sanchez races away to celebrate as his extra-time strike looked to have secured Arsenal's place in the FA Cup final 
Sanchez and Gunners team-mate Gabriel slide on the Wembley turf as the post-goal celebrations continue 
Sanchez and Gunners team-mate Gabriel slide on the Wembley turf as the post-goal celebrations continue 
Sergio Aguero finishes off a sublime counter-attack and chips Petr Cech to fire City into the lead just past the hour mark 
Sergio Aguero finishes off a sublime counter-attack and chips Petr Cech to fire City into the lead just past the hour mark 
Aguero raced onto Yaya Toure's perfectly-weighted through ball before applying the calmest of finishes past Cech 
Aguero raced onto Yaya Toure's perfectly-weighted through ball before applying the calmest of finishes past Cech 
Pandemonium ensures among the City squad after Aguero's breaks the deadlock with less than 30 minutes remaining 
Pandemonium ensures among the City squad after Aguero's breaks the deadlock with less than 30 minutes remaining 
Arsenal hit back 10 minutes later when defender Nacho Monreal pounces from close-range to make it 1-1  
Arsenal hit back 10 minutes later when defender Nacho Monreal pounces from close-range to make it 1-1  
Monreal  and Olivier Giroud roar with delight after Arsenal left back's 71st-minute strike keeps Arsenal's FA Cup hopes alive
Monreal and Olivier Giroud roar with delight after Arsenal left back's 71st-minute strike keeps Arsenal's FA Cup hopes alive

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE 

Arsenal (3-4-3): Cech 6.5, Gabriel 8.5, Koscielny 9, Holding 8.5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 8.5 (Bellerin 115, 6.5), Ramsey 6.5, Xhaka 6.5, Monrea 7.5, Ozil 7 (Coquelin 118), Sanchez 7, Giroud 6 (Welbeck 83, 6.5) 
Subs not used: Martinez, Gibbs, Walcott, Iwobi
Goals: Monreal 71, Sanchez 101 
Booked: Xhaka, Sanchez 
Manager: Arsene Wenger 8 
Man City (4-2-3-1): Bravo 5, Jesus Navas 6, Kompany 7, Otamendi 7, Clichy 6.5, Toure 8.5, Fernandinho 8.5 (Fernando 99, 6), De Bruyne 6.5, Silva 5 (Sterling 23, 6.5) (Iheanacho 116, 6 ), Sane 7.5, Aguero 7.5 (Delph 99, 6)
Subs not used: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov
Goals: Aguero 62 
Booked: Otamendi, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Sane, Delph 
Manager: Pep Guardiola 6.5 
Referee: Craig Pawson 
Attendance: 85, 725 
Man of the match: Koscielny
Player ratings by Sami Mokbel 
 Alexis Sanchez's extra-time strike proved the match-winner at Wembley. CLICK HERE for more from our MATCH ZONE 
 Alexis Sanchez's extra-time strike proved the match-winner at Wembley. CLICK HERE for more from our MATCH ZONE 

Chelsea may be chasing the Double by then, just as Arsenal were when the teams last met in an FA Cup final, in 2002. That year Arsenal won 2-0, wrapping up the title the following week — this year they could be cast as spoilers, Antonio Conte the bright, new broom manager that Wenger was them.
Yet if this performance said anything it was that you are never too old to learn; or, in Wenger’s case, change. Whether a back three was something he was always considering, or felt pressured to introduce, really does not matter right now. It worked, that much is clear, restricting Manchester City to a single goal, scored from a second-half breakaway.
That, by the end, City were depleted by injuries — most crucially to David Silva and Sergio Aguero — clearly made a difference. For much of the game, probably the first 80 minutes of it, they had the best chances, taking the lead and hitting the woodwork twice. Yet how many times have we seen Arsenal dominate, only to lose, and how many times have we praised the cussedness and determination of their opponents in those circumstances?
On Sunday, Arsenal demonstrated precisely those traits — hanging in there when City were on top, scoring an excellent equaliser against the run of play, finding a way through in extra time as the opposition tired. They defended well, too, the back three efficient and single-minded, the wing-backs combining superbly for the equaliser.
These were testing circumstances against one of the strongest attacking teams in the country and Arsenal were rarely on top. Yet, with 101 minutes gone, Sanchez conjured a scruffy, if instinctive, winner. It came from a Mesut Ozil free-kick, headed down by Laurent Koscielny. Danny Welbeck took a swing and missed, but so did Gael Clichy, who had a chance to repel Arsenal, before Sanchez proved too quick for Vincent Kompany, taking the ball off his toes with his first touch, finishing from close range with his second. 
Raheem Sterling, on as a 23rd-minute replacement for David Silva, looked to have broken the deadlock from close-range 
Raheem Sterling, on as a 23rd-minute replacement for David Silva, looked to have broken the deadlock from close-range 
Sterling struck from close-range after Leroy Sane had done brilliantly to cross before Aguero's shot was saved 
Sterling struck from close-range after Leroy Sane had done brilliantly to cross before Aguero's shot was saved 
But linesman Steve Child wrongly flagged Sane's cross had gone out of play, much to German star's dismay 
But linesman Steve Child wrongly flagged Sane's cross had gone out of play, much to German star's dismay 
City, by then, were stretched. Kelechi Iheanacho became the first fourth substitute to be used in FA Cup history, coming on for Raheem Sterling in extra time, as per the new rule, but it made no difference. Confounding those critics who doubt their resilience — and they are not small in number — Arsenal left nothing out there. City will be exhausted with four days to go before a defining Manchester derby.
That Arsenal got to extra-time at all was something of an achievement. At the time when Nacho Monreal pulled them level, Wenger’s team looked to be flagging. It was further vindication of the new three-man defensive system with both wing-backs part of the goal.
City led for just nine minutes before Arsenal equalised. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up the ball on the right and his deep cross flew over the head of Olivier Giroud but was read perfectly by Monreal. He drove hard to the far post, meeting the ball sweetly first time with a low shot that left Claudio Bravo no chance.
Arsenal were back in it, having looked out of it when Aguero scored. It had been a sucker punch of a goal, but not undeserved. Aaron Ramsey was at fault initially, losing the ball on the edge of City’s area, allowing Yaya Toure to bring it out and float a lovely long pass upfield for Aguero to chase.
Aguero outstripped Monreal in his chase for goal. He got lucky, first by missing his controlling touch, which allowed the ball to run on rather than slow him down, then with a heavy touch when he did reach it, confounding Petr Cech who did not know whether to try to intercept or stay in place. Aguero simply chipped it by him, Lionel Messi-style. 
Arsenal star Sanchez got plenty of early attention from City during a furious opening quarter at Wembley
Arsenal star Sanchez got plenty of early attention from City during a furious opening quarter at Wembley
Sanchez is not pleased with some of the early treatment as City sought to unsettle the Chilean forward
Sanchez is not pleased with some of the early treatment as City sought to unsettle the Chilean forward
City boss Pep Guardiola (left) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger keep a close eye on proceedings in the first-half 
City boss Pep Guardiola (left) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger keep a close eye on proceedings in the first-half 
It looked like City’s game from there and could have been, had two second-half chances gone in. Toure hit the post, Fernandinho the bar. Arsenal also had late opportunities in normal time through Welbeck and the excellent Rob Holding.
City had left the field at half-time carping in the ear of referee Craig Pawson, and with some reason. He had disallowed a good goal, waved away a decent penalty shout and was rather lenient towards some heavy tackling by Arsenal.
The poorest call came from assistant Steve Child, who wrongly flagged a Leroy Sane cross out of play. Aguero met it with a shot that was blocked by Cech behind the line, and Sterling netted the rebound anyway. The margins were tiny, but then Child should not have flagged without being certain. Against this, Arsenal will argue their defenders had stopped playing by the time the ball went in. Either way, it was a mess.
The penalty area foul by Oxlade-Chamberlain on Aguero in the 29th minute was less certain, but it did look as if the Arsenal man clipped him before Aguero fell over his own feet. As for Arsenal’s physicality, Gabriel’s early hit on Silva saw City’s playmaker limp off after 22 minutes. He would be a big miss against United, with Champions League football at stake, this already being Pep Guardiola’s first season without a trophy.
Giroud heads towards goal, thanks to a great cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Frenchman fails to score
Giroud heads towards goal, thanks to a great cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Frenchman fails to score
Arsenal keeper Cech is forced into action to deny Silva as the Spanish forward takes a shot at goal
Arsenal keeper Cech is forced into action to deny Silva as the Spanish forward takes a shot at goal
A whirlwind start to the contest sees both sets of players charging into tackles as Vincent Kompany and Giroud get tangled up
A whirlwind start to the contest sees both sets of players charging into tackles as Vincent Kompany and Giroud get tangled up
Gabriel’s early foul on Silva saw City’s playmaker limp out of the game after 22 minutes with a dead leg, replaced by Sterling
Gabriel's early foul on Silva saw City's playmaker limp out of the game after 22 minutes with a dead leg, replaced by Sterling
Fernandinho, the City midfielder, takes a tumble after a robust challenge from Sanchez  just before the half hour mark
Fernandinho, the City midfielder, takes a tumble after a robust challenge from Sanchez just before the half hour mark
Sanchez then picks up a yellow card from referee Craig Pawson as he looks to calm an ill-tempered affair
Sanchez then picks up a yellow card from referee Craig Pawson as he looks to calm an ill-tempered affair
The challenges continue to fly in from both sides, however, as Aguero cops a hefty tackle from Laurent Koscielny 
The challenges continue to fly in from both sides, however, as Aguero cops a hefty tackle from Laurent Koscielny 


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4437458/Arsenal-2-1-Manchester-City-AET-Sanchez-hits-winner.html#ixzz4f89jho9u
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