Arsenal heads into the Carabao Cup final as the heavy underdog, looking to stop a high-flying Manchester City side on track to do the treble. It's a daunting task, but not impossible - if the Gunners get these tactics right.
1. Stifle Manchester City with a high press
There’s a reason Pep Guardiola has splashed $A223 million on full-backs since 2016 - The Spanish tactician likes to play out from the back and relies heavily on the added attacking dimension the likes of Kyle Walker provide going forward.
Historically, teams have been able to stifle a Guardiola side through a high press, forcing the team to play long balls and disrupting its overall rhythm.
Hercules staged an upset worthy of Greek Mythology when it executed the high-press to perfection against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in 2010, starving the full-backs of time and space which prevented Barca from enjoying its usual dominance in midfield. The gamble paid off, as the Spanish giant suffered its first home defeat in 16 months.
Arsenal needs to win the ball further up the pitch to overload City's central defenders left exposed by its marauding wing-backs.
2. Muscle up in the midfield
A lack of steel in midfield has hurt Arsenal in recent years, with the club still struggling to fill the void left by inspirational enforcer Patrick Viera's exit in 2005.
Jack Wilshere needs to bring his trademark tenacity to the Carabao Cup final, frustrate a free-flowing City side looking to assert its dominance in the centre of the park.
Cup glory would be a huge step for Jack Wilshere on the road to redemption after a horror injury run which saw the England international loaned out to Bournemouth last season.
3. Take De Bruyne out of the game
Easier said than done but Kevin De Bruyne has cemented himself as Manchester City's main man this season, with seven goals and 14 assists in the Premier League.
The Belgian playmaker is the key to City's seamless transition from defence to attack, receiving the ball deeper and picking out City’s front three with pinpoint passing.
One of Arsenal's holding midfielders needs to be tasked with marking the 26 year-old from the opening whistle, starving him of any space and time on the ball. It's no easy feat but if the Gunners can take De Bruyne out of the game, they will go a long way to breaking down City's attack.
4. Ospina has to save the day
Arsene Wenger has opted to stick with David Ospina who has been an ever-present figure between the sticks for the Gunners' run to the Carabao Cup final.
The Colombian shot-stopper will have to repay Wenger’s faith with the game of his life, and will be busy coming up against a City side averaging just under three goals per game in the Premier League this season.
5. Aubameyang must be clinical
Arsenal won’t have many chances to score against City, and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will have to be ready to take his chance when it comes.
The Gunners’ snapped up Aubameyang from Borussia Dortumund for a club record fee in January, and the 29 year-old needs to justify his $A98 million price tag and convert the limited chances he gets.
The Gabon international can also stretch Manchester City with his blistering speed in-behind, which would free up space for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to enjoy space between the lines.