Arsenal travelled to Manchester on Sunday for a tough examination of their top four credentials in the Premier League and they passed the test in style.
Going into this game Arsenal fans were only too aware of their record in Manchester, the media taking every opportunity possible to remind us all. Not that City’s money had anything to do with this of course, it was almost like Arsenal’s record up there in the seven prior to the oil money being splashed wasn’t W6 D0 L1 F16 A6. Those stats don’t matter.
With just one point from their last seven games at City and the Champions unbeaten in their last 12, the task ahead of Arsenal was a mammoth one.
The first-half saw Arsenal concede possession to City but they sat with two banks of four, holding their shape, working harder than their opponents and using the ball better. Pressure, pressure, pressure in every area of the pitch while Santi Cazorla was afforded space to dictate Arsenal’s game going forward.
A half-time score of one-nil-to-the-Arsenal after Mike Dean awarded Arsenal a penalty (seriously) for a foul on Nacho Monreal saw Santi claim his fifth of the season to give the Gunners a well deserved lead given that David Ospina didn’t have a single save to make.
Arsenal’s first-half performance was so good that City didn’t show any highlights in the ground during the break, opting to show a reserve game instead.
The second half was a completely different affair than the first with Arsenal far more open and the game swinging from end-to-end.
It was not one for the feint-hearted but despite City’s pressure it was Arsenal who grabbed the next goal and doubled their lead as Giroud rose to head home from Cazorla’s free-kick.
0-2 as the Spaniard grabbed an assist to go with his goal, capping off what was an absolutely imperious display from the little munchkin.
In the end Arsenal hung on with grit and determination that has been so sorely lacking this season to grab what is surely likely to prove to be an even more massive win than it seems right now.
Verdict: A totally professional performance from the Gunners.
Arsenal starting XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker (C), Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Alexis, Giroud.
Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Chambers, Flamini, Rosicky, Ozil, Walcott.
Manchester City starting XI: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Demichelis, Clichy, Fernandinho, Fernando, Navas, Silva, Milner, Aguero.
Subs: Caballero, Mangala, Sagna, Kolarov, Lampard, Jovetic, Dzeko.
Referee: Mike Dean
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