Arsenal steal a march on Man City
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal and Manchester City met under the lights at the Emirates Stadium just before Christmas. At the start, David Silva miss timed a strike high and wide from an assist by Bacary Sagna in the sixth minute and then his City team mate, Fernandinho skied a right footed effort over the upright from a pass by Aleksandar Kolarov, three minutes later. On twenty one minutes, a poor touch by Nicolas Otamendi was latched upon by Theo Walcott, but he could only put the ball into the outside netting at the near post. Midway through the first half, after being found by Sagna, a low drive by Kevin De Bruyne, looked to be drifting wide but as a safety measure, Gunners shot stopper, Petr Cech, turned the ball behind at full stretch. On thirty minutes, City’s keeper, Joe Hart, was forced to punch clear an in swinging cross by Mesut Ozil and then the ball was put over by Aaron Ramsey across the face of goal. Although a breakaway move by Manchester City saw De Bruyne charge through, after collecting a pass from Sergio Aguero, but a low drive by De Bruyne, went narrowly wide of the left post, in the thirty second minute. The miss was to prove costly as the Gunners went in front with a spectacular bending strike from Walcott, whose precise finish found the right side of the net, as Ozil had placed his pass on a six pence for Walcott to find the first goal of the game, a minute later. Then just before the break, Arsenal doubled their lead, when from a miss placed pass by Eliaquim Mangala, it left City at sixes and sevens when Walcott charged forward and Ozil’s low pass was met by Olivier Giroud, who drilled the ball through Hart’s legs, into the heart of the goal. Before the second half resumed, Raheem Sterling replaced Fabian Delph. City were quickest out of the blocks as Cech saved from Aguero’s right footed shot through a touch by De Bruyne in the fifty first minute. But the Gunners responded less than a minute later when Joel Campbell squandered a gilt edge opportunity, as he struck over the upright a low left wing cross by Nacho Monreal. There was more work to do for Cech as he collected a header by Aguero from a cross by Kolarov, on fifty four minutes. In the next fifty seconds, Arsenal were on the move again, when Campbell raced through onto Laurent Koscielny’s over the top ball, but the outstretched leg of Hart, blocked Campbell’s low drive. But on the hour mark, another fine piece of interplay by Arsenal saw Campbell supply Ramsey, but the face of Hart, managed to force the ball behind. An injured Aguero then left the field of play and Wilfried Bony, took over and on sixty six minutes, Bony miss directed a header to the left of the box from a cross by Yaya Toure. But within two minutes, after bringing the ball down on his chest, Ramsey miscued a strike from a ball over by Giroud. Further subs were made as Kieran Gibbs took over from Campbell before City changed Silva with Jesus Nava. On seventy three minutes, Cech was tested again as he scooped down low to clutch hold of Sterling’s low drive from a lay off by De Bruyne. Then within a minute, Cech held onto a header by Bony from a Navas corner. The Gunners then changed Ozil with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before Walcott’s low drive was easily stopped by Hart from a pass by Ramsey, in the seventy eighth minute. But there was a grand finale, when City captain, Toure, nestled the ball into the roof of the net with an exquisite finish, after playing a one two with Sagna, Chances then fell both ends, when from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s ball through, Ramsey struck the ball over. The Citizens then responded when from De Bruyne’s pull back, Bony’s strike deflected off Gunners captain, Per Mertesacker and agonisingly wide of the right post. Then Toure steered an effort wide, after playing a one two with De Bruyne before Bony’s header went too high from an assist by Toure, who later missed an effort to the left from De Bruyne’s through ball before Arsenal replaced Walcott with Calum Chambers, to secure a 2-1 victory and move two points behind table toppers, Leicester City.