ARSENAL 0 MAN CITY 2 – Priceless…even at £62 a-head!

If you’re paying £129,456 in the January sales you’d have every right to expect something a bit special. That’s exactly what was served up to 2,088 travelling Manchester City fans who witnessed history in the making.

At £62 a-go, some of the most faithful football fans in the land had baulked at Arsenal’s extortionate admission levels, leading City to return 912 unsold tickets – much to the delight of the Manchester United loving media who attempted to besmirch City loyal following as shallow stay-aways.

Those who could stretch to the ‘Fancy Dan’ London prices were rewarded with a badge of honour, one that reads ‘I was there’ when 37-years of pain and under achievement evaporated at the Emirates, as City won for the first time in 28 league games at the Gunner’s home.

With a 10 point gap between Roberto Mancini’s men and table topping Manure at kick off time, City just had to win at a venue where they had found famine after famine after famine over nearly four decades.

They hadn’t even scored in the previous 450 minutes of play at the Emirates, but that changed courtesy of a James Milner thunderbolt in the 20th minute.

It should have happened 11 minutes earlier when Edin Dzeko – an unconventional City penalty taker – missed the spot kick he himself had earned, after being rugby tackled by clumsy Arsenal centre back Koscielny.

The French defender saw red as ref Mike Dean embarked on an afternoon where he seemed to have more cards than Clintons. Dzeko’s poorly struck penalty was pushed onto the post by keeper Szczesny, who then grabbed the ball as it trickled agonisingly back along the goal line.

City had dominated from the opening seconds bristling with attacking intent despite being shorn of the services of Aguero, Nasri and Yaya Toure.

Carlos Tevez can claim the most exquisite of assists as his perfectly weighted pass rolled into Milner’s stride pattern, before the England man smashed his shot beyond the floundering Szczesny.

Four minutes later and Milner nearly returned the compliment as his low angled drive eluded Tevez’s touch – and a certain goal – by inches.

A minute later and neat interplay between Silva and Milner set up a Tevez strike saved by the overworked Polish keeper. The ever improving Garcia then powered a header narrowly wide before City grabbed their inevitable second goal.

The stupendous Zabaleta, tackling as if his life depended on it, dispossessed Gibbs on the far right, slid a ball to Milner whose cross found Tevez powering into the Arsenal six yard area.

Szczesny could only palm the Argentine’s shot into the path of Dzeko, who having failed from 12 yards, made no mistake from three, netting his 11th goal of the season, making him City’s leading marksman.

It was total City domination and it could easily have been double the score line by half time. Joe Hart, making his 200th City appearance, was called upon once to make a save of any magnitude, repelling a rasping Podolski drive in the 34th minute.

After the restart Arsenal – having fleeced the City fans for £130k – decided ‘in for a penny, in for a £’ throwing caution to the wind, but they were always vulnerable to a lively City counter attacking game.

Dzeko worked the ball beautifully down the left in the 70th minute before crossing into Tevez as he bore down on the Arsenal goal pursued by four defenders. The tireless striker dallied, took one touch too many and ran the ball into Szczesny. Mancini kicked his luxurious leather seat in frustration.

Six minutes later and Mike Dean – probably the best referee in the PL, but that’s being damned with faint praise – showed City skipper Kompany the harshest red card of the season.

Wilshire overran the ball and the imperious Belgian slid in taking the ball cleanly with his leading left foot as the two collided. Dean deemed it a reckless challenge and it was down to 10-a-side. It was as reckless as doing 57mph on the M56 at 3am in the morning.

Screw frivolity, City must and surely will appeal the dismissal and woe betide the FA if they don’t rescind it or, worse still, escalate Kompany’s potential ban to four games for a ‘frivolous appeal’.

City had Clichy, Milner, Garcia and Barry booked for run of the mill fouls, while Vermaelen and Wilshire also saw yellow in what was never a malicious match.

Lescott replaced Tevez to help keep City’s ninth clean sheet of the PL campaign, and did so in style when clearing Walcott’s goal bound shot off the line in the 89th minute.

Aguero and Nasri should be back for the Fulham game and City’s medical room continues to empty with just Richards and Rodwell still sidelined. Irrespective of any inbound transfers, Mancini’s squad are running into form and, seemingly good health at the right time.

It’s now three wins, eight goals scored and none conceded in 2013. Three more of the same this month will keep them in contention for a Premier League and FA Cup double.

If Bobby Manc can pull that off, would Khaldoon and Co really think they could move the passionate Italian out in favour of Pep Guardiola?

Forza Mancini.

2 Comments

  1. February 12, 2013  10:47 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Good stuff, as usual, David....it made for a very pleasant Sunday afternoon, and, for Joe Hart, a fairly uneventful one. City could easily have doubled, or even tripled our eventual haul. To be honest, no complaints about any of our yellow cards...Mike Dean has to look again at one decision. From his viewpoint at the game, I can see his reasoning, but other angles clearly show Kompany winning the ball in a hard, but clean, manner.
    I think it was the referee's only mistake of the game, as for the majority of it he withstood the constant pressure from everyone wearing Arsenal colours. I can think of some other of his colleagues who may not have been so strong, or who would have played to the crowd!

    Original post via Facebook 14/1/2013, 8.32pm

  2. February 18, 2013  7:18 am by Walter Adamowski Reply

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