Premier League

December 18, 2011


Manchester City

1 - 0


Premier League

16:10 +00:00, December 18, 2011

Etihad Stadium

Referee: Philip Dowd

  • 94'

    FULL TIME The end of an enthralling, brilliant game and Man CIty reclaim top spot from their local rivals. Arsenal played their part and were unlucky not to grab an equaliser. As good an advert for English football as you are likely to see.

  • 93'

    Another terrible piece of indecision from Arshavin who kicks the ball against his hand. As Arsenal regroup Vermaelen's curler fizzes a yard wide.

  • 93'

    Aguero squares the ball for Dzeko but the angle is tight and he hits the side-netting.

  • 92'

    Some respite for City as Aguero wastes time near the touchline. Song fouls him but Dowd seems determined not to send anyone off, which is to be applauded.

  • 91'

    Arteta slides the ball square for Vermaelen and his powerful shot is tipped over by Hart. A yard either side and it was in. Four minutes added.

  • 90'

    Chamakh does well to win a free kick off Richards wide on the left. Good chance to load the box.

  • 89'

    RVP takes down a Koscielny cross but he makes the mistake of giving it to Arshavin who can only flick the side-netting with his shot.

  • 88'

    Aguero is late on Vermaelen and for a minute it looks like he may walk but Dowd shows some common sense.

  • 87'

    Awful cross from Koscielny down the right but to be fair, that isn't his normal job.

  • 86'

    Nasri and Yaya Toure go off and Nigel De Jong and Edin Dzeko come on.

  • 84'

    Richards marauds into the box at pace but again splits the two players waiting in the middle. Then he is still in box as Silva returns the ball but misses and was about three yards offside, though the flag didn't go up.

  • 83'

    City have retreated a little now, playing on the break.

  • 82'

    Another terrible cameo from Arshavin as his touch lets him down in the box. Meanwhile, Mertesacker goes off and Chamakh replaces him.

  • 80'

    Song caught Kompany in the build up to that move but only a word from the ref. I hope we don't get a red card, the game doesn't deserve it.

  • 79'

    Aguero tests Szczesny at the near post and Mertesacker just let it happen. He doesn't look fit at the moment.

  • 78'

    There's another goal in this, surely, if Arsenal keep pressing this hard.

  • 77'

    Koscielny turns in a decent ball and it hits Richards' arm, but it is down by his side. Seen them given though. Arsenal still probing.

  • 76'

    Vermaelen charges forward on the break but Arsenal go left and RVP wins a throw in.

  • 75'

    Arteta bumps into Barry now, who sinks to the turf rather theatrically. All these interruptions stifling the flow of the game.

  • 74'

    Now Arteta is carded for a tackle on Yaya Toure.

  • 73'

    Balotelli is removed for Milner, as Mancini reacts to the open nature of the game with an extra midfielder.

  • 72'

    Aguero is late on Vermaelen with a raised boot and is booked. No malice but still a card.

  • 71'

    Arshavin's first involvement is a poor one, RVP finds him wide and Ramsey is ahead of the City defence in the middle but the Russian's ball is right at Hart. Terrible. Just terrible.

  • 70'

    Vermaelen takes a long shot from the free kick and it is deflected behind for a corner, which City clear.

  • 69'

    Arteta is clipped and Arsenal have a free kick. It gives them a chance to replace Walcott, who has been quiet. Arshavin is on.

  • 68'

    The final ball is letting Arsenal down at the moment but they are still well in this game. Walcott tries a cross when he should have given it inside then.

  • 67'

    Now RVP has a header saved from Hart from seven yards out but the flag was up, wrongly it looks like on the replays.

  • 66'

    Zabaleta hits the post! Koscielny gives the ball away after the free kick, Zabaleta reads it, intercepts and smashes a shot on goal, Szczesny can only watch as it cannons back off the post.

  • 65'

    That was the chance for RVP and he did everything right but hit it with enough power. A harder shot and Hart would have been beaten. City free kick now on the right channel.

  • 64'

    Arsenal are wide open here but are still looking like they might score as Gervinho dances into the area and cuts it back for RVP but his shot from the spot is saved on the line by Hart. What a game this is.

  • 63'

    What a blunder from Nasri! He plays a one-two with Silva and is in on goal, Ageuro and Balotelli are ten yards to his left but his woeful ball splits both of them. Astonishing.

  • 62'

    A venomous shot from Aguero flashes wide as Nasri tried to jink into the area. Szczesny beaten, but the post was as well.

  • 60'

    Arsenal labour in possession of the ball as Miquel has acres of space on the left. Finally the ball gets there but Ramsey loses it.

  • 59'

    Now Toure threads a brilliant ball through to Aguero but the flag goes up. It was tight, again.

  • 58'

    Koscielny ruled to have fouled Aguero on the left but Nasri's free kick is right at the wall.

  • 57'

    Replays show Silva wasn't offside, either from the original shot from Balotelli or the follow up, which might well have been a touch from Vermaelen anyway.

  • 56'

    RVP has the ball in the net but he is given offside. It was very tight but the right call. Lovely finish too - dink over Hart.

  • 55'

    Richards tries to get to the byline but Vermaelen plays it off the defender for a goal kick. Wenger raging that Silva was offside when he scored.

  • 54'

    Arsenal go straight down the other end and Walcott forces Hart into a good save with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.

  • 53'

    A good break from City as Nasri feeds Balotelli, he cuts inside and fires a powerful low shot at goal, Szczesny saves and Vermaelen prevents Aguero tucking in the rebound but he can only nudge it sideways and Silva finishes off from close range.

  • 53'

    GOAL Silva scores!

  • 51'

    He did make an excellent foot in tackle on Silva as he darted into the area just then though - one to give him some confidence.

  • 50'

    Another nervous touch from Miquel - this is a big ask for such a young lad, however much potential he has.

  • 49'

    Great play from Yaya Toure as he wheels away from Arteta and finds Nasri, his cross is shanked behind by Miquel. Mistake from the youngster.

  • 48'

    Arteta clips a ball into the area and Gervinho has his back to goal ten yards out but tries an ambitious flick and it loops over RVP.

  • 47'

    Ignasi Miquel comes on for Djourou. The sub goes to left back, Koscielny to right back and Vermaelen in the middle.

  • 47'

    Balotelli looks for Aguero over the top but Mertesacker holds firm and nods back to his keeper.

  • 46'

    We begin again...


    Yaya Toure looks to reclaim the ball from Arsene Wenger


    There's been plenty of action in the Premier League today so why not have a read of our reports on Man Utd's 2-0 win at QPR and Liverpool's triumph at Aston Villa?


    Joe Hart saves from Laurent Koscielny

  • 45'

    HALF TIME A cracking half of football but no goals to show for a host of chances. Aguero spurned the best of City's sights of goal, Van Persie and Gervinho Arsenal's. It should be an intriguing second half.

  • 45'

    Balotelli is the latest to have a pop at Phil Dowd as he claims a foul from Djourou. Nothing doing. Tottenham have beaten Sunderland 1-0 at White Hart Lane to go third.

  • 44'

    Now Koscielny does get booked after a rugby tackle on Aguero. RVP back up and looks OK after that earlier tackle from Zabaleta.

  • 42'

    RVP is down after Zabaleta came in from the side as the pass was played. No foul given by Phil Dowd and as he tries to help the striker up RVP refuses and offers up a slice of fruity language instead.

  • 41'

    Now Szczesny charges out to boot clear from a long ball as Aguero bore down on goal.

  • 40'

    Brilliant run from Aguero, reminiscent to his goal against Bayern, but Szczesny gussed the striker would shoot back across him and gathered it comfortably.

  • 39'

    City clear the free kiick and all of a sudden they are two on two but Song tidies up well in the face of pressure from Aguero.

  • 38'

    Barry is booked for a late tackle on Arteta.

  • 37'

    Now space for Nasri but he can't find Aguero at the back post with a cross then Barry's errant touch means he loses out on a shooting opportunity.

  • 35'

    Arsenal have grown into the game as the half has gone on and are looking most likely to score now.

  • 34'

    That was a golden chance for Arsenal - RVP greedy to take on the shot when Gervinho was free to his left.

  • 33'

    An almighty scramble in the area as Arsenal have numbers forward, RVP chooses not to play in Gervinho, his shot is deflected into the path of Ramsey but he can't tuck home from eight yards and Kolo Toure dives in before Hart claims!

  • 32'

    More of a settled pattern to the game now as City do the pressing with Arsenal looking dangerous on the break.

  • 31'

    Good work down the left from Gervinho after he is released by RVP's pass, Ramsey then takes over and crosses but RVP can't get enough power on his header to trouble the goal.

  • 30'

    Nasri battles hard inside the area but can't get a strike on goal off.

  • 29'

    Koscielny does well to stay with Aguero and get a touch on the ball to divert the striker wide.

  • 28'

    A much more even game now as Yaya Toure has a long range effort deflected behind for a corner.

  • 27'

    RVP floats it in but Kompany nods clear.

  • 26'

    Gervinho is fouled by Nasri and RVP is over the free kick, about 35 yards and out to the right of the area.

  • 25'

    Excellent covering from Song, who robs Aguero and finds Ramsey but his pass inside Zabaleta for Walcott is cut out by the Argentine.

  • 24'

    Nasri's pass from Balotelli is too strong and Arsenal's goalkeeper is out smartly, just like he was for that Yaya Toure chance.

  • 23'

    Good battling from Barry to pinch the ball from Song, then as the ball is launched into the box Yaya Toure brings it down past Mertesacker and shoots right at Szczesny from seven yards out. Great save.

  • 21'

    Vermaelen outmuscled Balotelli near the corner flag prior to that Arsenal break. Another cause for cheer from the Gunners fans in the corner of the stadium.

  • 20'

    Another move falls down at the feet of Gervinho, a great ball sends him off with only Kolo Toure to beat but he cuts inside, picks a poor pass to Walcott and the chance is lost.

  • 19'

    A good little spell for Arsenal but Gervinho really should have done better with that chance. Great ball in to him from Song I think it was.

  • 18'

    An odd corner, Arteta plays it to the edge of the box where Toure closes down Ramsey, but the Arsenal player wins it and Hart has to tip the ricochet round the post.

  • 17'

    First chance for Arsenal as Gervinho is found inside the area and he forces Hart into a smart save low down at his near post.

  • 16'

    A lull in the game after a frantic opening.

  • 15'

    A tussle between Nasri and Djourou ends with a City goal kick and a laugh and a joke between the pair.

  • 14'

    Tottenham have taken the lead against Sunderland, sub Roman Pavlyuchenko with the goal.

  • 13'

    Richards is on the deck after being clipped by Song and the Arsenal man is very lucky not to be trudging off the field. Had he not been carded earlier, he'd have seen yellow for that.

  • 12'

    More tidy football from City as Nasri finds Silva who collects the ball and turns but fires right at Szczesny.

  • 11'

    More panic in the box for Arsenal as Balotelli springs Aguero inside the area, he turns inside but Arteta gets there before Mario can strike it. Song booked for a foul on Silva in the build up and he'll miss the next game with Villa.

  • 10'

    No real purchase for Arsenal going forward as yet, Gervinho and Walcott being kept quiet by Zabaleta and Richards.

  • 9'

    What a chance for City! Barry finds Zabaleta free on the left, his ball finds Aguero whose first touch is excellent but his second blazes the ball over the bar from 16 yards. Should have scored.

  • 8'

    A City break but a poor ball from Nasri, to the delight of the travelling contingent.

  • 7'

    Richards launches himself at Nasri's free kick and very nearly gets a touch on it before Szczesny claims.

  • 6'

    Arteta clips Yaya Toure as he charged towards the area. No booking, good decision.

  • 5'

    A huge cheer from the Arsenal fans as Szczesny tricks the onrushing Balotelli with a cute turn.

  • 4'

    A first rendition of the cheeky chant "Van Persie is ours," from the City fans.

  • 3'

    First opening for City after Koscielny rather bottled a challenge, Silva looks for Nasri but Djourou slides in to clear.

  • 2'

    An early couple of touches for RVP but a bit frantic in midfield so far.

  • 1'



    Sadly no cofirmation to the Twitter rumours last night that Mario Balotelli was driving round Manchester last night dressed as Santa handing out money. I so want it to be true.


    Unsurprisingly, given their recent form, Arsenal are unchanged from last week's 1-0 win over Everton.


    Former Arsenal players Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure start for City, while Micah Richards is back.


    As for Arsenal, they can pull level with Chelsea on 32 points, and Tottenham if they only get a point at home to Sunderland (that game is 0-0 at HT), and the Gunners are in a great run of form with seven wins in the last eight.


    As long as City don't lose today they will reclaim top spot in the Premier League table after Man Utd leapfrogged them earlier. How will they bounce back from their first defeat of the season at Chelsea on Monday? They still have a 100% record at home this season.


    Good afternoon all and welcome to the main event on a feast of Sunday football. We've seen 2-0 away wins for Man Utd at QPR and Liverpool at Aston Villa and now it is the turn of Man City and Arsenal to go head-to-head.