Arsenal did what many thought was impossible and beat Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final to make it to their 21st final of the competition they’ve won more than anyone else.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England.  (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)

While Arsenal might have rode a lot of luck to take all three points against Liverpool midweek, the performance they put on against Manchester City was simply exceptional given where both sides were going into this game.

Determination, discipline and focus fused with a clinical nature in front of goal as Arsenal closed City all over the pitch in a manner rarely seen from the Gunners.

The first half was something none of us expected. So was the second.

Arsenal started slowly and within a few minutes it looked like all our worst fears would come true as City wouldn’t even let us have a go with the ball.

But as the first half got going properly, Arsenal grew into the game and started to provide a threat of their own. Then they were the better side, confidence started to flow through them in front of our eyes in a way that would have horrified Unai Emery.

Arsenal's Spanish defender Hector Bellerin heads the ball during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Spanish defender Hector Bellerin heads the ball during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 18, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP)

Even the commentators noticed, declaring Arsenal the better team with the most ‘cutting edge’.

Honestly.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring for Arsenal against expectations but not against the run of play. He finished off a wonderful team goal to put the Gunners deservedly in front, his first goal against Manchester City, but his second in two in the FA Cup.

https://twitter.com/Arsenal/status/1284570495074144257

By the end of the first half Arsenal had finished with three shots on target – as many as they’d managed in their last three games against City combined. Not bad for a side that started this game with a goal difference of minus 18 since Pep Guardiola arrived.

Arsenal score stunning first goal to take unexpected lead against Manchester City

The second half started with City once again dominating possession. Arsenal held their defensive shape as if they’d been drilled by Tony Pulis himself.

But in a carbon copy of the first, Arsenal scored again on the counter. Auba slotted home once again after Kieran Tierney played him in with a delightful chip over the back of City’s defence.

https://twitter.com/Arsenal/status/1284585555783757829

The nutmeg of Ederson was just the cherry.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Hector Bellerin after scoring his team's second goal during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 18: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Hector Bellerin after scoring his team’s second goal during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England. . (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)

From that point on it was a training game, attack against defence. It’s game Arsenal rarely win but as this match wound into the last 10 minutes, you started to feel that they had this.

They knew what they were doing.

How could that be?

But it was.

Arsenal won.

Against Manchester City.

I think I need another rum….

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.