Barclay’s Premier League
Sunday 24 October 2010, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Boateng, Kompany, Boyata, Richards, de Jong, Barry (Balotelli 73), Milner, Y Touré (Bridge 45), Silva, Tevez (c) (Adebayor 53)
Unused: Given, Lescott, Vieira, A Johnson
Booked: Barry, Kompany
Sent Off: Boyata
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Joe Hart
City’s next big test of the season came in the shape of Arsenal’s visit to the City of Manchester Stadium. City had been in good form against the Gunners at home before today, with three wins on the bounce.
And it was City who almost took the lead with a minute on the clock. Tevez broke away well down the right flank and squared for Silva, whose deft flick towards goal produced a fine save from Fabianski.
But, just as City were getting into their stride, they were dealt a massive blow. With just five minutes on the clock, Chamakh broke away from the City defence and Boyata slid in to win the ball. He didn’t and that foul left the referee with no option but to send him off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Soon after, though, the game began to get feisty with Barry joining Denilson in the book with just ten minutes played. Alex Song was they lucky not to join them for a cynical foul on Silva, much to the fury of the watching City fans.
Fabianski had to be alert after 15 minutes to keep out Tevez’s deflected shot, as the ten men tried to hit their visitors on the break. Djourou then headed the best chance of the game over the bar.
But then, two minutes later, Arsenal’s control of possession paid off. A neat one-two between Nasri and Arshavin sent the Arsenal number 8 free in the box and he powered the ball past Hart, giving the City keeper no chance.
Things got worse for City, who had a mountain to climb against perhaps the best passing team in the league, as Carlos Tevez looked to have picked up an injury after 26 minutes. He carried on until just into the second half, but he struggled with it to match his usual high standards.
A minute later, City were almost level. Micah Richards broke into the Arsenal box after a lovely pass from Silva. He cut back inside onto his left foot and unleashed a shot at the top corner, but it was just wide of the post.
As the half soldiered on, it was City who were playing on the break and could have been level again, this time through Tevez, but his effort was blocked and ended up trickling through to Fabianski in the Arsenal goal.
With the clock ticking down to half time, Arsenal had the chance to effectively seal the game after a foul by Kompany on Fabregas in the box. The Arsenal skipper stepped up, but Hart pulled off a fantastic save to keep the blues in the game.
Kompany nodded just over from a corner before he played a beautiful ball over the top for a chance for Silva, but the Spaniard, uncharacteristically, couldn’t control it and it ran through to Fabianski.
City lost Tevez to injury in the second half, before Boateng was needed to clear the danger as Arsenal looked to secure the points. Fabianski’s fingertips then preserved their lead at the other end, as David Silva linked up well with James Milner to get a shot in from a tight angle.
With 62 minutes gone, Adebayor had a great chance to score again against his former club, but as Fabianski flapped at Silva’s corner, the Togolese striker got under his header and it sailed over the bar.
But, with 20 minutes to go, the inevitable happened with the disparity in personnel numbers. Bridge was unfortunate to deflect a tackle straight into the path of Alex Song, who some would say was fortunate to not have seen a second yellow card, and he fired it into the roof of the net.
The game petered to a close with Arsenal content to keep possession, as City looked for a consolation through first Adebayor and then the substitute Balotelli. It didn’t come and Bendtner piled more misery on the home fans with a goal in added time that left the game with a scoreline that drastically flattered the visitors. 11-a-side would have been a classic, but, in the end, it was just too much for the ten men to do.