Giggs: Where the Arsenal vs Man City FA Cup semi-final will be won and lost

Will Wenger stick with three at the back?

A lot depends on how Arsene Wenger decides to approach the Manchester City game tactically and he is a manager who generally sticks to his core principles.
 
Before this season, Arsenal had two wins and two draws against City over the previous two league seasons plus a win in the Community Shield. They beat City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in January 2015 when Santi Cazorla, still injured, was outstanding.
 
It was interesting to see Wenger switch to a three-man defence against Middlesbrough on Monday. Managers make sudden changes like that when they have the time to work on it in training, as Arsenal did, and also to re-focus the minds of players on the job in front of them.
 
It also felt like he was trying it out with Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final in mind, and perhaps the win against Middlesbrough will convince him that it is the right way to go against a much better opponent.
 
I rate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a wing-back, in fact I think he has the kind of versatility that Antonio Valencia has demonstrated in switching from winger to full-back. There is inevitably a lot of focus on Alexis Sanchez, and his effect on the other players. I have to say that I would like to have played alongside him. He gets upset when the team loses. He demands high standards of his team-mates. There is nothing wrong with that.
 
Sanchez likes to lead the press and you can sometimes see him waving his team-mates forward to join him, and how Arsenal tackle that side of the game will be a major part of whether they are successful or not.
 

Can City deal with high-pressing opponents? 

Which brings us on to City who will have watched the Arsenal win on Monday with interest. How will Arsenal set up against them?
 
It can be a nightmare when you do not have a clear idea of how an opponent is going to play, especially given that Arsenal have been fairly consistent in that regard for a long time.
 
Guardiola’s team usually face three different strategies from opponents trying to stop them from passing out from the back.
 
There is the full press, with no holds barred, straight onto the first ball out from the goalkeeper. Some teams press the second pass, perhaps allowing it go to a centre-back who is not so sure of his own distribution.
 
The last option is giving City half the pitch and just stepping up to meet them when they cross the halfway line.
 
I was a Uefa technical observer for City’s home tie against Monaco and they were pressed ruthlessly by a very quick, young, energetic side.
 
City won the game but the damage was done for the second leg. When City start passing out from the back you can sense the nerves in their own fans but the team never stop trying. A lot depends on how Arsenal come at City and of course how they then deal with it.
 

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