Pep Guardiola wins FA Cup battle against Mikel Arteta

Manchester City through to the fifth round after defender Ake scores winner in tense encounter

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Manchester City defender Nathan Ake struck in the second half to earn a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Arsenal secure passage to the FA Cup fifth round on Friday.

The top two teams in the Premier League battled hard in the first half, with Erling Haaland twice going close for City while Arsenal forced home goalkeeper Stefan Ortega into two fine saves.

Pep Guardiola brought Julian Alvarez off the bench early in the second half, with the Argentina striker playing a big part in the winner, firing against the post before Ake slotted home from the follow up in the 64th minute.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta brought in reinforcements in search of a leveller but they could not break City's resistance as the hosts progressed and remain in the hunt to win the domestic trophy Guardiola has claimed just once during his time in England.

City suffered a blow just before the interval when defender John Stones was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury, but they returned for the second half more determined to take control.

Guardiola celebrated the victory but dismissed suggestions City's win will have any impact on the Premier League title race.

"It was a tight game, a difficult opponent," Guardiola said. "The second half was better apart from 10 minutes after the goal.

"I didn't expect this approach, the man-to-man. It made the process difficult. In the second half we had to contact more than usual with Erling, it is what we had to do. But it is a victory, the next round, we will see what we have to do."

City, who trail Arsenal by five points in the league, head to the Emirates Stadium on February 15 but Guardiola said he did not think this result will have any bearing.

"I am pretty sure both teams are going to adjust something," he said. "I have the feeling now they are going to do something differently."

Arteta, meanwhile, said he was disappointed with the result.

"Really disappointed. I think we could have got much more out of the game," said Arteta.

"We had big situations in the game and we didn't put them away. In the big moments, in big matches you have the make the difference. That is how you win these games."

Elimination gives Arsenal one less distraction in their bid for the title and Arteta hopes to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

The London club have been linked with a $74 million move for Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, but Arteta would not answer specific questions about the player.

“We have been pretty active in the market. We have some necessities,” he said. “If something else is available, the club is willing to try to do it when it is reasonable and hopefully he’s a player that can improve our squad.”

Updated: January 28, 2023, 4:36 AM