Full-time - 90'
1 - 0
15:00 +00:00, April 8, 2012
Emirates Stadium, England
Referee: Martin Atkinson
FULL TIME It's all over and Manchester City's title race is run. Arsenal deservedly win, thanks to Arteta's goal, and City will have to resign themselves to second. A good game but Balotelli again proving what a liability he is. Back to the drawing board.
Oh dear me Aaron Ramsey - Arsenal break from the free kick, and the Welshman finds himself with only Hart to beat from eight yards but he smashes it nearer the corner flag! Van Persie is raging.
City will trot out the old cliche about going until the end, anything can happen, but the manager himself said it - if Man Utd beat QPR and City lost at Arsenal the title race was over. And he's right, it is.
"Nasri, what's the score?" sing Arsenal's jubilant fans.
Mancini urges Balotelli to get off the pitch quickly, but I'm afraid his decision to sign the striker has come back to haunt him. Time and time again.
Balotelli gets a second yellow, and eventually, gets his marching orders. A disaster waiting to happen. Late on Sagna, and he can have no complaints.
In truth, it has been going wrong for quite a long time now. City's chairman sits stony-faced in the posh seats. What this will ultimately mean for Mancini we willm have to wait and see.
Joe Hart slams his boot against the post, Mancini and Platt sit resigned on the bench and the fans are silent. The game is up, and City know it.
Manchester City are cooked. Arteta smashes in a beuaty from 25 yards and it is no more than Arsenal deserve.
Four minutes left. City desperately need a goal. They need the ball first.
How badly do Arsenal want to win this? A lot, it seems, as the Ox replaces Walcott.
A poor corner from Kolarov and a claim from Szczesny after it had looped up into the air.
Here comes Tevez, and Aguero goes off. A surprise that one. Balotelli survives.
I'll stick my neck: this game could well end 0-0. Hang on, here comes Tevez though.
Good run from Balotelli, with Ramsey on his tail the whole time. He wins a free kick by the corner flag.
Kolarov should help shore up that right side, as City try to stem the flow. That is all very well, but they need a goal too.
Nasri trots off for City, to be replaced by Kolarov.
Arsenal make a change, Ramsey replaces Benayoun, who has put in a decent shift.
Balotelli has given up on tracking back and Walcott and Sagna are causing havoc on the right flank.
Incredible! Walcott's shot from Sagna's cross is turned brilliantly onto the post by Hart, it pops out to Vermaelen, who misses his kick from three yards, then somehow, Rosicky can't turn it in at the far post! Amazing stuff.
Mancini needs to freshen this up.
City are totally hemmed in here - they look completely knackered.
Excellent clearing header from Zabaleta as Van Persie crossed to the back post.
Robin van Persie sees his header bounce clear off Thomas Vermaelen
Arsenal back on top now as Hart palms clear a Walcott cross. City's title dreams hanging by a thread.
Van Persie strays offside as Song found him, cute finish but he was looking across the line and should not have been.
Too many cooks as Arsenal again get a ball into the box. Santos confuses Benayoun who in turn confuses Rosicky.
A half chance for City as Kompany heads across goal and Balotelli takes an air shot with an overhead kick from six yards.
Koscielny the latest to go in the book as he gets his studs on Barry. Quite rightly in the book. That means a two-game ban for the defender.
Hopefully the final quarter of this game will be open, stretched and full of goals.
Carlos Tevez continues to warm up. Surely he'll be on before long.
Once again though, that Song-RVP axis nearly pays dividends.
It was a good header, especially as he didn't really have a sight on the goal or Hart, but the post denies Arsenal's skipper.
Off the post! Song floats a great ball into Van Persie and his header beats Hart but not the post. He even had time to take it down.
Benayoun scuffs a shot on goal but Hart collects easily.
Important header from Song as Milner floats in the free kick.
More drama involving Balotelli as Santos hauls the striker down then accuses him of diving. Santos gets carded.
Super defending from Benayoun as Zabaleta had time to take down a cross at the back post. Important challenge. Corner.
Santos' first touch is vital as he comes across to hoof the ball clear as Barry hurtled towards the edge of the area.
Kieran Gibbs goes off, presumably injured, and Santos comes on in his wake.
Milner gets a yellow for sliding in on Rosicky.
More petulance from Mancini and Zabaleta, as the defender is flagged offside.
Aguero and Zabaleta get in each other's way as Nasri's dink finds them both free. Calamity. Surely, the defender should let the striker take that. If he does, City go 1-0 up. As it is the ball pops up and Szczesny is forced to tip over.
The view from the press box as ESPNsoccernet's Kevin Palmer watches on
Brilliant play from Clichy, as he beats two men down the left, but Aguero gets no change from Vermaelen as the ball is offloaded.
That frustration is reflected by Nasri, who reacts angrily to Arteta taking the ball from him, barging into his opponent. Lucky not to get a card.
Man City's frustrated tone is set by their manager, who is constantly chuntering on the sidelines.
Surprised to see Balotelli emerge for the second half. He's a liability at the moment.
A good early break from Clichy, turning in a dangerous ball but Vermaelen does well to block off Aguero.
We begin again...
And not to be left out, Arsene Wenger does too
Roberto Mancini enjoys a moan at the officials
In case you missed it, here is the story of Manchester United's controversial win over QPR in which referee Lee Mason played a big part.
HALF TIME An intriguing opening 45 minutes - Arsenal on top but City coming back into it after the opening blitz. Balotelli is very lucky to still be out there, after a horrendous tackle on Song and two more dodgy ones on Sagna.
Three poor crosses from Arsenal, and again only RVP to aim at. Change of approach needed.
City have managed to find Aguero well this half but the runners haven't been up with him. Clichy crosses this time but Szczesny claims.
Balotelli looks like a ticking timebomb out there. Getting increasingly frustrated.
A total waste from Song as he hangs onto the ball too long then feeds Gibbs, whose cross is poor.
What a touch from Hart! He takes down Vermaelen's 60-yard hoof downfield beautifully, before thumping it out of play. Beauty and the beast.
Balotelli does well to win a corner off Sagna now. Good duel between the two.
Balotelli is carded, about ten minutes too late, for a late clip on Sagna, again. Good football from City before that too, as Aguero tried to turn Koscielny.
Balotelli and Aguero are not happy bunnies out there - both moaning and waving their arms about.
Excellent goalkeeping from Szczesny, as he races out to clear ahead of Balotelli, who was about to latch onto Pizarro's pinpoint through ball.
Arteta curls in a good cross and Hart palms clear ahead of the diving Vermaelen.
Barry makes a good tackle on Gibbs and Atkinson gives a free kick. Arsenal can get decent delivery in the box here.
Balotelli goes in high again on Sagna, who collapses in a heap. He got the ball this time though.
Lescott and Sagna are locked together trying to reach the corner, Lescott gets a head on it but nods behind for a goal kick.
Balotelli, who shouldn't even be on the pitch, has just won a corner.
A slightly massive handball from Zabaleta as Aguero turned the ball into the area. He was offside too.
A much more even game now - City have actually picked up since Pizarro came on.
The corner was low and Balotelli met it with a stab on goal, it is blocked, then cleared by RVP.
A rare break from City's ends with a Zabaleta cross and a header over his own bar from Koscielny.
A squabbly little passage of play between Nasri and Song. The Arsenal man comes out on top, much to the crowd's delight.
Koscielny nods over the bar from Arteta's corner.
RVP wants a free kick as he knocks the ball past Kompany. The defender stood his ground and the ref has probably got that one right. Finally.
What is going on with referees this weekend? A series of terrible mistakes.
Oh goodness me, Balotelli has got away with a straight red card offence. An awful, knee high, studs up tackle on Song. Truly terrible. City should be down to ten men.
Nasri's pass for Aguero is overhit, and Aguero had stopped his run anyway. "What a waste of money," rings round the Emirates.
Aguero picks up Barry's ball and wins a free kick to offer City a moment's respite.
Pizarro replaces Yaya Toure.
Van Persie's header is blocked on the line by Vermaelen! It was going in, as RVP glanced on goal, but his big buddy can't get out of the way and makes an inadvertent goalline clearance.
Toure is still struggling with that earlier knock and needs more treatment. Looks like he might have to be replaced.
Arsenal want a penalty as Van Persie goes down after a grapple with Kompany. Seen them given. Corner.
Arsenal keep turning balls into the box but is Van Persie really going to beat Lescott or Kompany in the air?
Barely anything from City in an attacking sense yet. It is all hands to the pump.
Mancini moans at the linesman that Song should be carded for the tackle. It was more clumsy than anything.
Toure is down for City and is slamming the turf in pain. Maybe he's just breaking up the momentum that Arsenal have created.
It's all Arsenal here, as Rosicky's volley is blocked by Kompany. Corner.
Two good crosses into the box from both full-backs - City defend them well though there were a distinct lack of red shirts in the mix.
Balotelli is flagged offside as City launch their first break. He slices his shot on goal well after the whistle went too.
Joe Hart pucnhes clear Arsenal's first corner and is winded for his trouble.
Clichy does well to keep pace with Walcott as Song tried to release him.
Toure is booked for tugging back Rosicky. His first foul, but a clear yellow.
It should be a spicy day for Nasri and Clichy - back at their old club.
Stat: Arsenal's Robin van Persie has failed to score in three successive Premier League appearances for the first time since December 2010.
Here comes the teams, to a decent atmosphere in the stadium...
Sounds like David Silva has picked up a knee injury which has prevented him from participating today.
As for Arsenal, they are a point behind Spurs after their draw at Sunderland yesterday. Both sides have a relatively easy run-in so it is imperative they edge back into third today, especially with Chelsea and Newcastle lurking behind them.
So, this is crunch time for City - anything other than a victory today and their designs on the title are surely over. A win will reduce the gap to five points and provide renewed confidence.
For Arsenal, Yossi Benayoun comes in for Aaron Ramsey in their only change from the defeat at QPR last weekend.
Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri return for Manchester City, while David Silva isn't even on the bench. Richards, Kolarov, Kolo Toure and Dzeko are also dropped. Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry are back.
Sergio Aguero should return for City after his "stupid" foot injury, caused by a reaction to spray that was supposed to help.
It is make or break for Manchester City today - Roberto Mancini has already said if Man Utd beat QPR and his side lose at the Emirates then the title race is over. Arsenal have their own concerns - trying to consolidate a top four place.
Robin Van Persie
Nigel De Jong