With their season on the line, Arsenal face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday evening. Here are five key players to watch.
After a difficult two weeks was put to bed with Wednesday’s 2-1 shock victory over Liverpool. Arsenal now face one of the most defining matches of their season: an FA Cup semi-final against a Manchester City team that has been in fine fettle since the restart. It is a daunting task, but it is one that the team has met before. Arsene Wenger’s Gunners famously beat Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on their way to the 2017 title. Can Mikel Arteta now replicate his former boss’ success?
Here are five key players to watch.
5. Hector Bellerin
Raheem Sterling has been in superb form of late. While questions were asked of his performance level earlier in the season, quietly, he has produced the best goalscoring campaign of his career. He has 26 goals in all competitions including 17 in the Premier League. He needs two more league goals to set a new Premier League mark in his career.
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Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, is not in his best run of form. The Spaniard has looked substantially sharper since Cedric Soares’ return from injury and he has consistently been defensively sound throughout his recovery from last year’s ACL tear, but he is not nearly as sharp as he has been in previous seasons.
Whether he plays right-back or right wing-back, up against the brilliant Sterling, who should start off the left flank for City will be a mighty test. Bellerin has the speed to keep up with Sterling, but can he contain him smaller, tighter spaces where Sterling’s awareness, touch, and deceptive strength come to the fore? Bellerin will have to be at his best, which he has not been all season.