Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang usually needs only one chance to hit the back of the net.
Give him three, though, and you are asking for trouble as Manchester City discovered at Wembley yesterday when they suffered a shock semi-final exit to Arsenal.
Having missed one early sitter, the prolific Gunners skipper Aubamyeng bagged a deadly double to send Mikel Arteta’s underdogs into their 21st final at the expense of Pep Guardiola’s holders.
What a magnificent evening for the young Emirates coach as he masterminded a truly stunning triumph over the manager he used to stand alongside in the City dugout.
All of which left Guardiola feeling a nasty sense of deja-vu at the national stadium. The last time his City side had lost here was in the 2017 semis – against Arsenal.
And if anyone needed reminding of Arsenal’s record-breaking feats in the Cup, a glance at the stands, where 13 huge banners for each of their victories were on display, did the trick.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored their second goal through Ederson’s legs
Holders City went for a more-humble approach. There was not a single reference to their feats here – past or present.
Arguably, the most important stat of all for this showdown was City had beaten Arsenal seven times in row in all competitions.
The last of those had come in the first game after coronavirus. Poor that evening, Arteta’s men had improved markedly since.
That upturn, including beating Premier League champions Liverpool in midweek, meant there was genuine optimism they could end their long losing streak against City.
Mikel Arteta got the better of Pep Guardiola
(Image: 2020 Pool)
Yet it was Guardiola’s men who flew out of the blocks and could have been two up inside ten minutes.
Only a timely clearance by Kieran Tierney denied David Silva a tap-in after Dani Ceballos was robbed and Raheem Sterling crossed into the danger area.