Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal – Match Review

Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table after beating Arsenal in a pulsating encounter between two top flight heavyweights at the Etihad Stadium.

Roberto Mancini’s side dropped to second for a few hours after rivals Manchester United won away at QPR earlier in the day but regained top spot following David Silva’s winner eight minutes into the second half. It was the response every City supporter expected after their first defeat of the season against Chelsea on Monday and will be delighted their players were able to bounce back with a hard fought win. Defeat was harsh on Arsene Wenger’s side who deserved to leave the North West with at least a point only for Silva’s goal sending them home empty handed as their nine game unbeaten run came to an end. Wenger will see it as a missed opportunity to close the gap on the top four with the Gunners still three points away from the Champions League places.

Sergio Aguero was a typical bright spark throughout and should have put the home side in front with only five minutes on the clock blasting the ball over the bar after controlling Pablo Zabaleta’s cross. Joe Hart was soon called into action at the other end producing two top quality saves in quick succession turning Gervinho’s angled away from goal before tipping Aaron Ramsey’s stinging effort over the bar. Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was also forced into a save after Per Mertesacker allowed Mario Balotelli to fire the ball towards goal before keeping out another Aguero effort. An injury to Johan Djourou forced Wenger into shuffling his defensive pack and moving Laurent Koscielny out to right back as the second half got underway. It proved to be a costly decision as the French defender was caught out by Balotellin the lead up to City’s opener.

The young Italian found himself in acres of space only to his shot parried by Szczesny into the path of Silva who didn’t hesitate tucking the ball home from two yards out to score his sixth-goal of the season. An immediate response was needed from the visitors and Theo Walcott almost brought them level before Robin Van Persie had an effort saved by Hart as he searched in vain for his 20th goal of the campaign. However it was City who looked more likely to score next and Zabaleta almost secured the points beating Szczesny from the edge of the area only to see the ball smash back off the post. Arsenal still hadn’t given up hope of rescuing a point but couldn’t find a way past Hart seeing his header tipped over by the England keeper before firing high and wide from range as the home side extended their unbeaten run at home to eight games.