'Exceptional guy' Ake edges Man City past Arsenal in FA Cup

Nathan Ake of Manchester City celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on January 27, 2023 in Manchester, England. 

Manager Pep Guardiola called Nathan Ake an “exceptional guy” after he sent Manchester City into the FA Cup fifth round with the winning goal in a narrow victory over Premier League title rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners have established an impressive lead in the league but it was City who shaded a tight contest thanks to Ake’s precise 64th-minute finish after good work from Jack Grealish.

Arsenal had chances of their own, especially in the first half when City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, deputising for Ederson, saved well from Takehiro Tomiyasu and new signing Leandro Trossard.

There was little to choose between the sides and their Premier League battle will come into focus once more when they meet at Emirates Stadium on 15 February.

“We were definitely better in the second half. Arsenal have taken a step forward. It was a tight game and you realise how good a side they are,” Guardiola said.

“What a season he [Ake] is playing. He controlled one of the toughest opponents in the Premier League because Bukayo Saka is in an incredible moment. He is really good in the duels in the box, defending the far post and set-pieces is an extra bonus.

“He is an exceptional guy, there was a period where he didn’t play and he never complained once. As a manager you want players like Nathan. He deserves all the good things in life.”

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