Arsenal 2 - 0 Manchester City

Arsenal delivered a footballing lesson to Man City today at the Emirates Stadium as they ran out comfortable winners in the Premier League match, courtesy of a brace of goals from the returning Togo striker Emanuel Adebayor. The home side outclassed the Blues from the first whistle to the last, and if anything, the scoreline flattered City, who offered a very limited attacking threat, with only occasional shots troubling Manuel Almunia. The result now extends City’s win-less run away to Arsenal to 34 years, since their last victory in 1975, and leaves the Blues with just a solitary win on their travels this season, way back in August.

The Citizens’ defeat, coupled with a win against Sunderland for West Ham, leaves the Blues in tenth place and six points behind the Hammers in the race for seventh position which would guarantee European football next year. Of course, City could still attain this dream, but only by miraculously winning the UEFA Cup, which resumes on Thursday when they travel to Germany to face Hamburg. The Gunners retain fourth place, and with Aston Villa not playing until tomorrow, they have opened up a six point advantage over their closest challengers.

Fabregas was instrumental in Arsenal’s victory, setting up both goals for Adebayor

Team News

The Blues had suffered a number of injuries during the international week, and their misery was compounded in training on Thursday when Stephen ‘Superman’ Ireland picked up a nasty ankle injury which ruled him out of this game, and renders him doubtful for the trip to Germany. Blues boss Mark Hughes resorted back to his favoured Christmas tree formation for away matches, with injury doubt Vincent Kompany partnering Nigel de Jong and Pablo Zabaleta in defensive midfield. Wayne Bridge was restored to the starting line-up after seemingly recovering from his knock, whilst Craig Bellamy replaced Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov. There were also welcome returns on the bench for long-term absentees Benjani Mrawurawi and Daniel Sturridge, the latter of whom scored against the Gunners in the fixture at the City of Manchester Stadium back in November.

The Gunners were handed a huge pre-match boost with the return of inspirational captain Cesc Fabregas to the squad, whilst Adebayor and Theo Walcott also started for the first time in a while. Alex ‘Sing’ Song was given a starting berth (sorry Plattsy) in midfield, where he was joined by Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott and Andrey Arshavin. Danish striker Niclas ‘Couldn’t Score in a Brothel’ Bendtner was named on the bench, where he was partnered by former Man United utility defender and light bulb look-a-like Mikael Silvestre.

A light bulb ……………………    and Mikael Silvestre

City Line-Up (4-3-2-1)


Richards              Dunne                       Onuoha                  Bridge

               Zabaleta               de Jong                   Kompany

SWP                                                                                   Robinho


Subs: Hart, Garrido, Fernandes, Elano, Sturridge, Benjani, Bojinov


Against all odds, it was City who started the stronger and Craig Bellamy, keen to prove a point after his outburst with Wales, created the first opportunity just five minutes into the game, when a foray down the left resulted in a rare shot by Dutch midfielder ‘Nifty Nige’ de Jong, which Manuel Almunia pounced upon with a sprawling dive. With criticism ringing in his ears following a series of sub-standard performances, Robinho was keen to prove his doubters wrong, and rather remarkably, it was his willingness to track back that caused City’s downfall, and gave Arsenal their first goal with just eight minutes on the clock. The Brazilian raced back to help Wayne Bridge in dealing with the dodgy-barneted (see picture at bottom) Bacary Sagna on the right wing, but in his eagerness to provide support, Robinho was adjudged to have fouled the French full-back. Referee Howard Webb awarded a free-kick to the Gunners, and Cesc Fabreags swung over a delightful cross, directly onto the head of Adebayor, who, unmarked, buried his header between Shay Given and de Jong into the goal.

Fabregas puts over the cross for Adebayor’s first goal

City were dealt a major blow after seventeen minutes, when a recurrence of a hamstring injury forced off left-back Wayne Bridge. Despite a natural replacement on the bench in the form of Spaniard Javier ‘Have I Told You That I Met His Parents?’ Garrido, Mark Hughes turned instead to Swiss “footballer” Gelson Fernandes, thus pushing Pablo Zabaleta into an unaccustomed left-back role. If anyone out there can name a worse Premier League footballer than Fernandes, I will be very, very surprised.  

The Gunners sensed City’s frailties and pressed on the accelerator, as first Kolo Touré and then Andrei Arshavin went close, only to be denied by the brilliance of Given. City then enjoyed a couple of moments of their own, notably when SWP turned Gael Clichy on the halfway line, stormed forward and played a delightful pass into the path of the onrushing Micah Richards, who saw his powerful shot saved by Manuel Almunia. On the half hour mark, City, or more to the point, Fernandes, wasted the best chance of their afternoon. After some more good work by SWP on the right, he fed in the Swiss international, who was given the freedom of the Arsenal box, and with only Almunia to beat, a goal looked a certainty. Alas no! Thanks to his total lack of positional awareness, Fernandes failed to realise how much time he had, and instead snatched at the shot, pushing it wide, and letting Arsenal off the hook.

Hughes was soon forced into another change of personnel as Vincent Kompany hobbled off to be replaced by creative midfielder Elano, and it was the substitute who fired wide soon after when set up by Robinho. Howard Webb blew the half-time whistle shortly afterwards, and it was the Gunners who were the happier at the halfway stage.

Arsenal started the second period with real intent, and it took them only three minutes to score the goal which settled the contest. As expected, it was captain Fabregas who set it up, courtesy of a majestic chip over Richard Dunne, leaving Adebayor with the simple task of rounding Given and slotting into the empty net. That goal knocked the stuffing out of City and set the wheels in motion for a Robinho strop. Up until this point, the Brazilian had been fairly good, showing desire and commitment, but now, with the tide turned against him, he resorted to the type of display that has unfortunately become commonplace away from home.

Adebayor rounds Given and then celebrates with his Angel of the North impression

The rest of the game petered out to an extent, and only wayward shots from William Gallas and Theo Walcott relieved the boredom. Danny Sturridge came on for Robinho, but as the final whistle went, Mark Hughes will be more concerned with all the injury doubts for City’s next match; the midweek trip to Hamburg.

Key Battles

Gael Clichy ‘v’ Shaun Wright-Phillips

SWP looked a threat whenever he had the ball, but unfortunately for City, this wasn’t often enough. At one point in the first half, he turned the French full-back on the halfway line before slipping in Micah Richards, but he was often isolated out wide. Clichy was a threat going forward and handled his defensive duties with aplomb, so for this key battle, the winner is Clichy.

Denilson ‘v’ Elano

Disappointingly, Elano didn’t start the game, but he came on in the first-half for injury victim Vincent Kompany. He was largely ineffective and his normally exemplary passing was regularly astray, whereas Denilson had a confident game, snuffing out any City danger and displaying his full arsenal (hahaha) of talent, so the winner is Denilson.

Andrey ‘No Giggles’ Arshavin ‘v’ Nedum Onuoha

Arshavin played in an almost free role and was seemingly given license to thrill. He was a constant threat with his skill and trickery, causing a plethora of problems for Micah Richards especially, and although Onuoha looked fairly solid alongside Richard Dunne in dealing with any trouble, the winner is Arshavin.

Sagna: not the most fashionable of hairstyles


23 Responses to “Arsenal 2 - 0 Manchester City”

  1. Blue Moon Says:

    I can honestly say that we were on top for the majority today. (the majority of the first 6 minutes that is). Gelson should be shot for his miss which should have been buried in the top corner. WHY DIDN’T HE TAKE HIS TIME?!?!?!?!? Robinho, he should be shot anyway for playing away form home, a player of £32 million should be able to play at home and away, not wherever he chooses.

  2. Peter B. Says:

    I agree with Blue Moon, a player of £32 million should be able to play at home and away, not wherever he chooses. Do you Think A big club as Real Madrid could leave to go a player that could be the best in the world as he´s always selling ? We haven´t got top world class player to dream, and what´s going on if we haven´t get 7th place and not winning UEFA Cup ? Which top class world player will wish to come here not playing in Europe ? top world class player one want to fight for trophies they´ve got enought money ¡ I don´t see a clear future for us as. I wish be mistaken

  3. MJ Says:

    Nice Steven, fair report. We just aren’t incisive enough and end up being profligate away from home. Against a team like Arsenal we’ve got to take every chance we get, so explain to me how Fernandes can make it into the squad, never mind onto the pitch. I don’t paticularly rate Garrido, but it just seems incredibly tactically naive of Hughes to bring on the shit-merchant that is Fernandes and put Zabaleta, who’s obviously best going forward, at left back. Don’t even get me started on Robinho …

  4. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks Matt, Peter and Ricky

    We aer now accustomed to losing away from home, it’s getting really worrying. The players have lost the knack of winning on their travels and seem to lack the confidence needed to win. Hopefully this can change for the visit to Hambug, but I doubt it.

    Peter, if you read my other posts, you will see that I have been very kind to Gelson in this one. I have spared him any further trouble. He is so bad, it’s actually quite funny!

    Robinho is a joke away from home, and for the most part, at home as well. For £32 million, we should be getting a hell of a lot more end product than we have had so far.

  5. LadyArse Says:

    Diaby didn’t play, he was out injured….good blog tho, you were unfortunate with the injuries in the first half, but I think with Cesc back (he badly needed a break before his injury) and looking better than he had before his injury, as well as Theo, and Adebayor and the fact that we are scrapping for fourth place, it was always going to be hard. I think you’d do your squad a huge favour by getting rid of Robinho, he has no interest and if I was a City fan, I would be disgusted with his laziness (check out my blogs just in case you think I let Arsenal players away with that sort of thing Passion and effort cost nothing.

    I thought Arshavin had a very quiet game by his already-high standards, but if you could have got forward more or pressured our defence you might have got through as the Arsenal defence is shaky at best.

    Anyways, i’ll shut up now…good luck in Europe, I’d love to see you go all the way

  6. Shauny Wright - pure genius Says:

    Steven two things,

    where’s: “Israeli international Tal Ben Haim”?
    and also the pic “Fabregas puts over the cross for Adebayor’s first goal” clearly isn’t correct as the ball is the one used for Champions’ League games, tut tut.

  7. MJ Says:

    Tal “The Israeli Fernanded” Ben-Haim is playing at Sunderland. He’s still shit though.

  8. MJ Says:

    * My apologies - Tal “The Israeli Fernandes” Ben-Haim is playing at Sunderland. He’s still shit though.

  9. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks a lot LadyArse,

    It’s a good blog you’ve got there. Thanks for your comments. Sorry about the Diaby mistake, I meant Song. I though Cesc was the difference between the sides - him and injuries.

    Don’t get me started on Robinho. At home, was can just about afford to carry him, because he produces occasional flashes of brilliance, but away from home, he’s just a total disgrace.

    I hope we go all the way in Europe as well, but I doubt we will progress much further.

    Rishi, good spot for the Fabregas picture, I got the image from yahoo which says all the pictures were taken from this game , so ……… Poor knowledge about TBH though.

    MJ, just realised you’re not the MJ I though you were. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not Ched Evans ??? I’m so confused!!!!!

  10. LadyArse Says:

    Thanks for that I thinkk you were also unfortunate in that Song was some kind of wonder player yesterday, I don’t know what’s happened to him lately…Villa are beating Man U 2-1 with half an hour to go, that should cheer you up a bit…not that I want either of them to get the points today lol

  11. LadyArse Says:

    if you’re not on you should come join us over there, it’s like Myspace but for football fans, it’s good craic as they say in these parts

  12. Blue Moon Says:

    A little off topic maybe…. but the waste of space scored another 2 for Everton today. Why Oh Why didn’t he do that for us? I’ll go to the point where he COST us that many goals in a game.

  13. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Shame, United have just scored. Oh well ……

    I have always liked Jo. Could understand why we let him go on loan, but we need to keep him now.

  14. I*T*P*L Says:

    Good review as per usual, though if the Silvestre look-a-like is the one whivh you mentioned before, I am very disappointed, as you did exactly the same one last time you played Arsenal. I never knew Toure had an acute accent on the “e”, and personally, I like Sagna’s hair, it’s very distinctive. I love the Angel of the North reference.

    Basically, is that season over for you now? No chance of relegation, little chance of making the top seven, time to concentrate on the UEFA Cup?

  15. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Cheers VJ,

    No, the ilvestre look-a-like isn’t the amazing one. Unfortunately, the look-a-like in question involves one current Premier League player, and one former one curretnyl plying his trade in Seria A.

    Season over? No

    To put on my manager tone, as long as we keep battling away, and putting pressure on the other sides, then anything is possible, although at the moment, it’s a tough ask. My optimistic head says City for the UEFA Cup, but my realistic head says there’s more chance of Darius Vassell scoring a hat-trick in the world cup final, with all three goals having been set up by Trevor Sinclair!!!!

  16. Ched Evans IS MY HERO :) Bellamy you’re not bad either ;) Says:

    Steven, good review, I’m currently on the train back, will get the ratings done soon for you, you did a good job getting this review up so quickly, well done!

    I must admit, superb stadium and support from city (at least up until the point they scored their second!)

    I’m not the ‘MJ’ who has been commenting, not had a chance, so don’t know who that is!?

  17. I*T*P*L Says:

    That’s good to hear, I await this one eagerly.

    Please have a look at the bottom of my West Brom review, I’ve tried something new and it works for me, but I want clarification it works for all. Thanks

  18. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Matt, do you want me to leave your ratings up for a while, or put a link from this?
    P.S. If you’re with your dad, say hi from me, and then ask him to say hi to Nads when he sees him plz

  19. Amman Kallumpram Says:

    Nice article steven! didnt see the city game on motd but did glimpse fernandes’ miss! was hilarious!
    im surprised u werent harsher on him… yes even harsher than you have been!
    i like the silvestre light bulb comparison. also liking the ‘alas no’ and ’swiss ‘footballer Fernandes’ :).
    however the ‘couldnt score in a brothel’ bendtner was taken straight from something graham would say. I’d go for something pete often says… ‘ couldn’t finish a mars bar’ which is rare and less predictable.
    with ‘alex sing song’ again bit too predictable and easy!
    anyway im still buzzing from a new star whos 3 weeks older than me… Federico Macheda!
    remember the name. city cud do with a finisher like that!!

  20. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thanks a lot Kalumperamabam,

    I’ve been too harsh of GF in the past, and been criticised by VJ, so I laid off him a little bit.

    Didn’t know Grahahm had said that, but you’re right in the sense that it’s a common phrase.

    Macheda = cocky, and not better than Felipe ‘70 goals a season’ Caicedo

  21. Ched Evans IS MY HERO :) Bellamy you’re not bad either ;) Says:

    FUnny how the picture got pointed out as Champions League!

    What I find even more hilarious is the fact that Cesc wore a short sleeved shirt form the MCFC game and this picture also looks as if it was taken at night?

  22. Macheda IS MY HERO Says:

    if we win the title, federico will have secured legendary status.
    yesterday was like the feeling u guys got last year when benjani ’scored’ the flukiest of goals ever seen but milions times better. they dont call it the theatre of dreams for nothing! think about it even the bohrsonator is older than fed! on his debut at the stretford 93rd min!! u cannot beat that and the finish was sublime.

  23. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Macheda is a cocky so and so, who non-United fans, ie sensible people, take an immediate dislike to.
    Kissing the camera! Who does he think he is? Steven Gerrard?!?!?!?

    AK, it’s not called the Theatre of Dreams, it’s called ‘The Church’ because of the noise levels produced, or it’s called ‘The Prawn Sandwich Munching Brigade’!!!

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