Pep Guardiola hails Arsenal’s ‘incredible weapon’ Gabriel Martinelli after spirited FA Cup appearance
The hosts prevailed 1-0 in a tense battle between the Premier League title rivals at the Etihad Stadium on Friday night, with Nathan Ake’s brilliant second-half finish proving the difference in a close affair and sealing a place in fifth round.
Top-flight leaders Arsenal had created the best chances before the break despite making six changes since last-minute victory over Manchester United last weekend just two behind Guardiola, with City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega turning down the changes. lively debutants Leandro Trossard and Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Eddie Nketiah shooting wide at the near post.
Nketiah was unable to convert his best chance of an equalizer after falling behind, thwarted by expert Aymeric Laporte in defence, with the Gunners later providing a sustained threat in the final minutes thanks to the introduction of Martinelli, who fooled defenders with his pace and trickery but twice. saw dangerous efforts obliterated by Ortega.
The Brazilian agreed a new four-and-a-half-year deal with Arsenal until the summer of 2027 and continued to bolster his growing reputation with a spirited cup appearance for Manchester.
“Yeah good, but Martinelli is an incredible weapon,” Guardiola told reporters when asked how he thought his side handled the game after coming on.
“[Martin] Odegaard arrives and they play in the pockets, they are a very good team, otherwise they could not be where they are.
“They are aggressive, they know exactly what they have to do. They control the small details very well, but in the end we had a good match.
Arsenal and City are due to face off again in a massive Premier League title showdown at the Emirates Stadium on February 15, with the Gunners enjoying a five-point lead at the top with one game less.