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Gunners end City’s title charge

Written By: Robert Halter

With Manchester United beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 to go eight points ahead of Manchester City in the table, the Citizens title hopes had faded ahead of the Super Sunday Premier League encounter with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on April 8. In a match dominated by the Gunners, Thomas Vermaelen blocked a goal scoring header on the opposing goal line from his own striker Robin Van Persie, as the ball was destined for the roof of the net but hit the crossbar, as his header was prevented from going in, off a well taken corner by Mikel Arteta in the nineteenth minute as Man City had a reprieve, after Arsenal edged close to opening the scoring. In the thirty fifth minute, Joe Hart palmed away an Arteta free kick, after Kieran Gibbs had been fouled by Gareth Barry. The Arsenal goal was tested for the first time in the fifty fourth minute, when Wojciech Szczesny tipped over Sergio Aguero’s header as Pablo Zabaleta got in his way from an in swinging cross by Samir Nasri. A clear cut chance fell to Van Persie in the sixty third minute, when Alex Song’s floating ball in found the Gunners poacher unmarked but Van Persie could only guide his header against the foot of the right post. At the third time of asking, Van Persie did find the back of the net with nineteen minutes left on the clock but the goal was ruled offside, after Song’s ball was played through too early. A minute later, a Hart block kept out Theo Walcott’s low drive in the City box as Arsenal had the lion’s share of the chances. In the seventy sixth minute, Bacary Sagna’s cross was turned on to the left post by Walcott, and as Vermaelen tried to follow up, the Citizens scrambled the ball clear through Zabaleta, as Yossi Benayoun could not find the vital touch to turn the ball into the net. Finally the Gunners got their just rewards in the eighty seventh minute when David Pizarro lost the ball out to Arteta, who from outside the area, hit a shot like a rocket that flew past Hart’s outstretched reach into the right corner. Arsenal fans then goaded the City supporters by copying their Poznan dance goal celebration. In stoppage time, Mario Balotelli received a second yellow and a sending off following another foul on Sagna as referee Martin Atkinson produced a red card. The Gunners could have added a second in stoppage time but Aaron Ramsey blazed wide of the target after being set up by Tomas Rosicky. But the 1-0 defeat signalled the end of City’s title challenge with the Premiership destined to their local rivals the Red Devils while victory for Arsenal put the Gunners in contention for a top three finish.