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Premier League

  • 8 April 2012
  • • 16:00
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 60096
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Live Commentary

  • I think it's about time I wrapped this LIVE play-by-play up. But you've been brilliant on Twitter as per usual - thanks for following those of you who have stuck with me all afternoon. If you want to contact me you can @Miles_Chambers and all the Arsenal-Manchester City reaction is coming up on Goal.com. Oh, and happy Easter Sunday boys and girls! Those of you who celebrate this weekend with chocolate eggs, enjoy it, and I hope that sugar-boost helps cheer those Blues fans who are down and out after that result!
  • If this stat is true, it's a birlliant one on Twitter from Gautam Kudva: "Balotelli- 57 games 4 reds. Javier Zanetti for Inter - 700 games 1 red."
  • Jonathan Birchall at the Emirates Stadium: "Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott look absolutely shellshocked as the walk towards the tunnel at the Emirates on the day that, with ever increasing certainty, they surrendered the title to Manchester United. The Arsenal fans are typically delighted and needless to say, it should be interesting to see what's on Roberto Mancini's mind in the post-match press conference."
  • Vincent Kompany's face is made of stone - he looks like he might just kick Mario Balotelli's head in for his red card when he gets inside the changing room. I worry for the Italian looking at the Belgian's face...
  • 90' + 6'
    Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City. The Gunners have pretty much ended the Blues' hopes of a first Premier League title thanks to a well-struck Mikel Arteta goal with just three minutes remaining on the clock. The Emirates Stadium is rocking, expect for the away fans area which is emptying.
  • 90' + 5'
    Yellow Card Pablo Zabaleta
  • 90' + 5'
    Manchester City smashes a free-kick into the Arsenal wall in the final minute of the game, and Arsenal counter attack. Aaron Ramsey has practically an open goal to aim at but smashes it so wide it's ridiculous. Van Persie is fuming but it won't matter, the Gunners have the match in the bag now.
  • 90' + 3'
    The Gunners will leapfrog Tottenham into third place on 61 points with this win, unless City get a surprise equaliser.
  • 90' + 2'
    Into the second of four minutes of stoppage time at the Emirates Stadium. The pace has slackened and we're looking at an inevitable Arsenal win now. Sorry City fans.
  • 90'
    Yellow/Red Mario Balotelli
  • 90'
    Needless. Needless, needless, needless. The Italian yells at him as he makes the walk of shame. His fourth sending off of his City career, by the way, was for a completely unnecessary tackle on Arsenal right-back Sagna.
  • 89'
    A second yellow card, and then a red card to Mario Balotelli.
  • 88'
    Arsenal fans mimic City's claimed Poznan celebration to rub salt into the wound of Arteta's possibly-fatal goal. Blues fans are streaming out of the ground.
  • 87'
    Goal Mikel Arteta
    GOAL!! Has Mikel Arteta just won the Premier League title for Manchester United??? The Arsenal midfielder is in acres of space 35 yards out, and the former Everton man dribbles forward a bit before lacing a right-footed shot low into the bottom-right corner of the City net. Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City.
  • 85'
    Substitution Theo Walcott Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 85'
    Walcott off, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on for Arsenal. Too late, in my opinion - five minutes in a pitiful amount of time to impact in most matches.
  • 85'
    Rosicky deftly lobs it to Walcott on the right wing - he really has looked silky on the ball this Easter afternoon. But silkiness doesn't win you silverware, as Gunners fans are so painfully aware.
  • 84'
    Substitution Sergio Agüero Carlos Tévez
  • 83'
    Those of you writing to me (@MilesChambers) on Twitter that Carlos Tevez should be brought on have got your wish: the striker replaces Sergio Aguero for the final seven minutes of normal time, plus whatever added time we are given.
  • 82'
    If you're wondering what's happening it's all Arsenal, as it has been for a good 15 minutes now. The Gunners are tirckling and dribbling the ball across the field, trying to find gaps in the Citizens back line.
  • 80'
    I've just reminded myself of last weekend, when Sunderland deserved to beat Man City but the Blues scored two late goals to salvage a point. Can they be even more outrageous at the Emirates this afternoon, and nick the lot?
  • 79'
    Substitution Samir Nasri Aleksandar Kolarov
  • 79'
    Substitution Yossi Benayoun Aaron Ramsey
  • 79'
    Aaron Ramsey replaces Benayoun, then Samir Nasri is roundly booed as he is subbed for Aleksandar Kolarov.
  • 78'
    Goal.com's Birchall with another quick update: "How did Arsenal not score? The Emirates is rocking amidst a heady mix of anticipation and sheer, dazed confusion. As am I, in truth."
  • 77'
    It will be a minor miracle if Manchester City win this match. They haven't deserved a point never mind all three.
  • 76'
    HOLY COW!!! Vermaelen has just missed twice from about three yards out, his first effort hitting the left post then the second trickling past the body of Benayoun, and the Israeli can't do anything to direct the ball dribbling wide of goal. Arsenal should be ahead. They really, really should.
  • 74'
    Jon Birchall with another update from north London: "Squeaky, squeaky, squeaky bum time for Mancini as Van Persie sees his well taken goal ruled out for offside. Correct decision by the looks of it, but it was incredibly tight."
  • 73'
    Benayoun connects to a deep Arsenal corner but he can only head it across goal for the Gunners.
  • 72'
    The crowd are back in ear-splitting voice. Walcott and Benyaoun both have efforts inside the box blocked and the Blues are holding on here.
  • 71'
    Ooooooo. Robin van Persie just drifts offside for Arsenal as Song tries to slot a ball through the City back four. He puts the ball into the back of the net but it is the correct decision (just) from the linesman. Arsenal are relentlessly attacking now, as they were at the start of the match.
  • 70'
    Jonathan Birchall, in a wet Emirates Stadium: "The rain is streaming down now here in north London and the game is wonderfully poised for a dramatic final 20 minutes. Mancini is willing his players on but the Manchester City fans, rather tellingly, are keeping schtum for now."
  • 69'
    Laurent Koscielny's yellow card moments ago, by the way, means he misses the next two games for Arsenal through suspension.
  • 68'
    Yellow Card Laurent Koscielny
  • 68'
    RVP has hit the woodwork seven times in the league this season, only Luis Suarez has hit the frame of the goal more often (eight times). Although, the Liverpool striker has scored A LOT less.
  • 66'
    Carlos Tevez is among those warming up on the edge of the pitch during this slight lull in action. Will he have a significant impact on this game to same way he did not so long ago against Chelsea?
  • 65'
    Both managers look stressed by their substitutes as both men want three points from this tie. Arsenal to push away from north London rivals Tottenham into third, and City because if they lose the title race is pretty much over. Manchester United fans, I bet, are cheering on Arsene Wenger's men right now.
  • 63'
    Robin, Robin, Robin. Alex Song lifts a ball over the City defence but Van Persie cannot direct his header goalwards and the ball cannons off the right post and away from danger.
  • 62'
    Benayoun dummies twice ingenuitively on his left foot before curling a ball low and towards goal from the left, but Manchester City keeper Joe Hart gets down and collects the soft shot.
  • 60'
    Yellow Card Andre Santos
  • 60'
    It didn't take long for Andre Santos to get given a yellow card. The Brazilian continues to berate the referee who has penalised him for dragging down Mario Balotelli on the right edge of the Gunners' penalty area. it was a foul to be fair, and the full-back should probably shut his mouth to prevent any further caution.
  • 58'
    Yossi Benayoun, who hasn't had a whole lot to do in attack, defends superbly with a slide tackle to block Pablo Zabaleta from feeding any City strikers in the right-half of the Arsenal box.
  • 57'
    Left-back Andre Santos comes on for Gibbs in a pause of play caused when City midfielder James Milner fouls Tomas Rosicky from behind 45 yards from the Blues' goal.
  • 56'
    Substitution Kieran Gibbs Andre Santos
  • 56'
    Yellow Card James Milner
  • 56'
    Jonathan Birchall at the Emirates Stadium: "Roberto Mancini is playing the pantomime villain in the technical area, with the home fans enjoying his increasingly frustrated aura. From the home dugout meanwhile, Andre Santos is set to come on."
  • 55'
    KeithD says confidently on Twitter: "this is game belongs to arsenal, completely in their hands if you ask me! #COYG!"
  • 54'
    Gibbs, he who seems permanently injured, look set to come off in a second for Andre Santos, who is being advised under the breath of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
  • 53'
    Samir Nasri lofts a ball in from 30 yards out of the left but Sergio Aguero's header around the penalty spot is tipped over by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Best chance of the second half so far I'd say.
  • 51'
    The City left-back takes his turn at charging down the far-side flank but his pass to Aguero, although accurate, means that the Argentine is stuck in between two imposing Arsenal defenders.
  • 50'
    It's not been the jaw-dropping spectacle that many Arsenal games have been this season, but with Robin van Persie on the pitch you can never rule out a moment of magic. Bacary Sagna bombards down the right wing but hits a roadblock in the form of former Gunner Gael Clichy.
  • 49'
    Lohit Peddibhotla writes on Twitter: "Mancini is already talking about buying more players this summer. Honestly, how many players does he need to win the League?" Apparently he still doesn't have enough if the score stays 0-0...
  • 48'
    Roberto Mancini is fuming like an overflowing kettle on the sideline. But when isn't he?
  • 47'
    Vermalen is in the thick of it again, cleanly slide tackling Aguero before slotting in a fine ball for Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs. The home crowd roar in appreciation but the England full-back fumbles in possession and City have the ball back.
  • 46'
    The match is back underway. An early ball in from the left is defended well by Thomas Vermaelen who pressurises Sergio Aguero into not connecting to the cross.
  • "UNLEASH THE OX", an editor of mine has demanded. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be an exciting substitution, that's for sure. The England Under-21 international is a ball of energy when he's on the pitch and Gunners fans across the Emirates Stadium will be big fans of such an introduction.
  • Wait a second, I wasn't insinuating all Gunners fans are girls!!! Just...the alliteration sounded good...oh dammit, I'm bracing myself for a wall of abuse now haha!
  • Ravi Poon (what a surname, might I add), writes on Twitter: "I think the 8 points difference is paying off. Manchester City looks like they are in whole lot of pressure." Yes they do Mr Poon, yes they do. You lot are in fabulous form, remember @Miles_Chambers i who to direct your tweets to Blues boys and Gunners girls.
  • "City are Cracking! Money can't buy silverware!" writes Jamie Brackpool. Cracking as in crumbling/falling apart, and not like the Wallace and Gromit sort of cracking. Manchester United fans all over the world will certainly be hoping they are, but I wouldn't rule the title contenders out until the final whistle.
  • Watching a compilation of Vincent Kompany's imposing defensive work. Colossal is the only word to describe the centre-back. I can only assume 95% of football fans are envious he isn't in their back four (or five, if you're one of the 15 Wigan Athletic fans in existence. Hehe sorry).
  • Lawal Bature wishes over Twitter: "i want balloteli to score..realy want to see what he wrote..arggg." I'm guessing you're referring to what is under his t-shirt? Apparently it's YOLO, which is an acronym for You Only Live Once. He's such a character, but I'll be surprised if he's still on the pitch after the break.
  • Goal.com reporter Jonathan Birchall gives us his half-time update: "Half-time here at the Emirates and the hosts will be the happier. Fortune has favoured City however, with Vermaelen's accidental block of Van Persie's header coupled with the referee inexplicably missing Balotelli's lunge on Alex Song saving the bacon of Mancini's men. A few calls for Oxlade-Chamberlain from the press box also, with Walcott having struggled in the opening 45. The visitors need to change something too - they're 45 minutes away from a seven-point deficit at the top."
  • Elie Mouawad writes on Twitter: "in the second half i think man city will score the first for tevez (when he go in) and the second for nasri finalscore 0-1." You too can interact by tweeting me @Miles_Chambers - don't be shy, give it a try!
  • 45' + 4'
    Arsenal 0-0 Manchester City is the half-time scoreline, and it was a half of high tackles and half chances for both sides at the Emirates Stadium. Robin van Persie could have scored a header if his team-mate Thomas Vermaelen hadn't been in the way on the line. At the other enf of the field, Balotelli - who is lucky to still be on the pitch after a string of wayward tackles - nearly knocked the best Blues chance of the half in from a corner but it wasn't to be. Both sides will be egged on by their coaches in the break - let's hope we are given goals galore as a result.
  • 45' + 3'
    Balotelli was frustrating for 84 minutes against Sunderland last weekend before an inspired final five minutes. Will it be the same sort of performance this afternoon or will he be withdrawn at half-time.
  • 45' + 2'
    Sergio 'Offside' Aguero. The Argentine looks a bit sloppy with the timing of his runs today after his third offside shout; his ankle injury appears to have affected his sharpness.
  • 45' + 1'
    3 minutes of added time are underway at the Emirates.
  • 45'
    I've been asked by Usman Musa on Twitter to tell you the possession stats, and as of 42 minutes it was 59% to the home team. Arsenal are ending the half as they started it by the way: all-out attack.
  • 43'
    Walcott is tackled absolutely outstandingly by City captain Kompany while trying to counter-attack. Clatters the England winger but 100% gets the ball.
  • 42'
    Jonathan Birchall, reporting from the Gunners ground for Goal.com: "It's looking ever more like 'one of those days' for Mario Balotelli as the Italian is booked only minutes after kicking the post in frustration. Mancini doesn't look impressed with his striker and rightly so, he's struggling at the moment."
  • 40'
    Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas on Twitter a few minutes ago: "What a disgraceful tackle. Songo very lucky there. Thank god."
  • 39'
    Balotelli FINALLY gets a yellow card for a careless, third, studs-showing challenge, this time on the edge of the Arsenal box. Even the most deluded of Manchester City will agree he deserves to be in the referee's book for his behaviour so far this afternoon.
  • 38'
    Yellow Card Mario Balotelli
  • 38'
    The Blues are trapped in the left corner of the pitch at the moment as the defenders busy themselves with trying to man-mark Robin van Persie to within an inch of his life.
  • 37'
    Abubakar Aliyu ‏says on Twitter: "I think that foul on Alex Song by Baloteli is nasty and he deserves a yellow." I think a booking is the bare minimum for a tackle like that one!
  • 35'
    Szczesny was a bit sloppy with his distribution earlier but the Arsenal shot-stopper sprints off his line brilliantly to prevent Balotelli from being one-on-one in front of goal for Man City.
  • 34'
    Hart has to leap to save Mikel Arteta's tasty free-kick from the left flank. Manchester City are back "under the kosh", I believe that's the correct phrase.
  • 33'
    Goal.com correspondent Jonathan Birchall at the Emirates Stadium adds: "Arsene Wenger is yet to emerge from the Arsenal dugout while Mancini has been an ever-present in the technical area, largely to complain at both the referee and his players. It's not exactly been going to plan for the side who, as things stand, are seven points adrift in the title race."
  • 32'
    Sagna's being a massive girl when Balotelli has a high foot in a tackle and brushes his boot. There's probably a little bit of pain but for god sake man, get a grip! Rant over.
  • 31'
    Joleon Lescott heads wide at the back post when a corner is whipped in from the right for the second-placed Premier League side.
  • 30'
    Jonathan Birchall cleverly words his latest update on the happenings at the Emirates Stadium: "Some rather unsavoury songs being aimed in the direction of Mario Balotelli after the Italian spent another week in the headlines. Low, low blow Arsenal fans."
  • 29'
    Szczesny takes the sort of free-kick you'd see from a new Fifa 12 player, passing it straight to Aguero 25 yards from goal but his sliding interception isn't enough to retain possession. Lucky Gunners, lucky Szczesny.
  • 27'
    Aguero is caught offside for the second time of the game after a neart bit of passing from the Citizens. The pace has significantly slowed since Arsenal lost their dominance on this clash.
  • 26'
    Arsenal give away their first corner of the game, and Balotelli almost scores from it. The Man City striker loses his marker - Song, for the record - and nearly pokes it into the back of the net for the Blues.
  • 25'
    Some, let's say, energetic tackles flying in at the Arsenal ground at the moment. City have somewhat recovered from the early Gunners barrage.
  • 24'
    Jonathan Birchall at the Emirates Stadium: "It's not often you hear a press box gasp in unison at a foul but needless to say, Mario Balotelli is extremely lucky to have got away with an absolutely dreadful challenge on Alex Song, flying in with his studs showing and connecting with the midfielder's knee. The Cameroonian himself will be counting himself fortunate also, that could have ended very nastily indeed."
  • 23'
    Gibbs win another corner for Arsenal, Zabaleta is overrun with Arsenal players on that left wing. Laurent Koscielny nods over his header from the resultant set-piece.
  • 21'
    Song's up and about at least. His leg could have been broken had the Italian striker put a bit more power behind that crunching tackle though.
  • 20'
    Wowzers, plenty of action already after 20 minutes. This time Mario Balotelli is so, so, so lucky to still be on the pitch after a studs-scraping challenge on Song's right knee. The replays make the challenge look worse every time.
  • 18'
    "What a waste of money" the home fans chant as Samir Nasri fluffs a pass to Sergio Aguero.
  • 18'
    Song is definitely going to get a yellow card at some point, he fouls Gareth Barry this time 40 yards from goal. A rare venture into the Arsenal half from the visitors.
  • 17'
    Substitution Yaya Touré David Pizarro
  • 17'
    David Pizarro comes on for the injured Yaya Toure. Mancini's looking fairly bitter on the sidelines still. It's not a good look, to be honest.
  • 16'
    Did Thomas Vermaelen just block a certain Arsenal goal? Yes! Yes he did!! He's obviously in automatic defensive mode as Van Persie heads towards goal from a corner, and the Belgian accidentally puts his body in the way of the goalbound effort. Craziness at the Emirates Stadium.
  • 15'
    Theo Walcott sends a ball too deep into the box, and few seconds of swift, recovering passes later and Robin van Persie is tumbling over inside the penalty area. No spot-kick given and there's a pause in play as Yaya Toure is sturggling some more. It might be the end of his afternoon already.
  • 13'
    Rosicky is looking really, really good on the left at the moment. I vividly remember him being awful in 2011 but a new year a new start is how the phrase goes I suppose. He's terrorising the City right-back Pablo Zabaleta with Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs.
  • 11'
    Yaya Toure's determined to prove the booing Arsenal fans wrong by hobbling all over the place after colliding with Alex Song. Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is shaking his head on the sidelines because the Cameroonian wasn't booked for the tackle.
  • 10'
    You can tell the City centre-back's are in for a busy afternoon. The ball just keeps pinging off their foreheads, with Kompany clearing for the gazillionth time already to prevent Thomas Vermaelen from powering a header on goal.
  • 8'
    Joleon Lescott clears the ball with his noggin from Bacary Sagna's whipped cross this time. A quick throw-in later and the ball's switched to Rosicky who wins a corner with a blocked shot.
  • 7'
    City are trapped in their own half by the home side. The Gunners fans around the Emirates are loving it. Blues captain Vincent Kompany has to head clear another cross from Arsenal winger Theo Walcott from the right.
  • 5'
    Plenty of energy in this opening moments. Man City keeper Joe Hart is winded while punching away an aerial ball from the right flank. Looks in a bit of pain but the England number one shrugs off that pain like a pro ought to, without any of that silly rolling around.
  • 4'
    Jonathan Birchall adds after the City left-back's first touch of the afternoon: "Nice big boo to start off Gael Clichy's afternoon. I fear for Samir Nasri's first touch, I really do..."
  • 3'
    Arsenal's corner is cleared at a snail's pace by the Blues, but the Gunners quickly get the ball back when Sergio Aguero is penalised for being offside.
  • 2'
    Yellow Card Yaya Touré
  • 2'
    Yaya Toure gets the quickest yellow card of Manchester City's season when he blatantly fouls Tomas Rosicky.
  • 1'
    The Gunners are passing the ball about in this first minute. The crowd are in good voice, singing their "Oh Arsenal, we love you" chant, drowning out the travelling City fans.
  • The final update from Jonatha Birchall at the Emirates Stadium before this match gets underway: "The players have emerged to an electric atmosphere here at the Emirates. The home fans are in buoyant mood, no doubt boosted by their recent superb form, excluding last week's disappointing defeat to QPR. The biggest cheer of the afternoon, unsurprisingly, is saved for Robin van Persie, who will be looking to add to his current tally of 26 Premier League goals this season."
  • I point blank refuse to call this the biggest game of the season so far, a phrase which I hear commentators call matches every flipping weekend. But it is a biggie. Excited? Amused? Exhausted? Angered? Enthusastic? Let me know on the wonders of Twitter (@Miles_Chambers) how you see the clash going and send me your predicted scorelines too if you fancy.
  • I'm curious to see who the leading forward will be for Manchester City actually. I would have thought Mario Balotelli but many people are predicting it will be Aguero. Maybe Mancini will thrust Gazza Baz (aka Gareth Barry) into a forward role. A late April Fool's Day joke, perhaps.
  • You'll be relieved to hear I can now spell Wojciech Szczesny without consulting Wikipedia. A minor success you might believe, but I see it as one of my finest life achievements (yeah, I haven't done much). With Sergio Aguero back in attack for Man City, the Polish goalkeeper will undoubtedly be kept busy.
  • Eddie Houldridge, on Twitter, is predicting a bore draw: “0-0 with no talking points, have ur stats ready.” Damn it! I’ve just used them all! Anyway boys and girls, keep firing your Arsenal-Manchester City tweets in my direction and I’ll get some of them on this play-by-play. @Miles_Chambers is where to send them. T-Minus 10 minutes until kick-off, by the way.
  • Jonathan Birchall at the Emirates Stadium: "The ground is slowly filling up now with Arsenal's 'You can't buy class' banner pinned directly above the travelling Manchester City supporters. They're not implying something to the mega rich visitors are they?" I would estimate a yes. A resounding, Samir Nasri-despising, yes.
  • Both matches between these sides this campaign have ended 1-0 to Roberto Mancini’s men. Although City beat the Gunners in the League Cup at the Emirates Stadium in November, the last time that the club conquered them in the league at Arsenal was October 4 1975.
  • Mario Balotelli has scored a goal every 94 minutes this season, the best rate in the Premier League for all players who have played at least 1000 minutes.
  • Manchester City have been poor away from home for a few months now - only five of their last 36 Premier League goals came away from the Etihad Stadium.
  • Arsenal won six successive games before their 2-1 defeat to QPR last weekend, including victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.
  • Time to bombard you with some beasty statistics. You know you love it. If you’re a hater, rather than a rater then this might drive you [Easter bunny] hopping mad. Yep, you even get a not-so-sneaky Easter pun!
  • Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini before the final match of the weekend begins: “We need to win, if not, eight points will become too much. [The Manchester United result] for us changes nothing. We know that we are behind.” On Aguero: “He’s important. He’s our best striker. Hopefully today he can score our winning goal.”
  • In the match preview, 73.8% of you (last time I looked an hour ago, anyway) predicted Manchester City would out of this clash as victors. Just 6.2% of you see the game ending a draw while exactly 20% of you see Arsene Wenger’s men trampling over City’s title hopes. Me? I predicted a 2-1 win to Roberto Mancini’s troopers but I’m about as reliable at predicting scores as American Christian fundamentalists are at predicting Armageddon.
  • More juicy details from Goal.com’s correspondent at the Gunners’ ground, Jonathan Birchall: “Not long until kick off here at the Emirates and the Premier League table makes grim reading for Roberto Mancini and his Manchester City players. Having played a game less than the champions, today's visitors are now eight points adrift with as many games to play. As David Silva said to Goal.com, only three points will do.”
  • Manchester City are a team under pressure. Leading the league for so long, they now linger five points behind Manchester United with the side conquering QPR earlier this afternoon. Admittedly, the Red Devils’ win was laced with controversy but when isn’t it? The Citizens have drawn two successive games against Stoke City then Sunderland and their hopes hang in the balance. The Blues have to win today, they have to keep up the chase on their neighbours or Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will take the title before the end of April surely.
  • Jonathan Birchall, at the Emirates as I type, spoke to fans before his arrival at the home of Arsenal: "I had a chat with both sets of supporters on the Tube into north London, and neither were expecting anything less than three points this afternoon. Ande Osoba, a 27-year-old Arsenal fan from central London, is hoping that the Gunners recent upturn in form will give the confidence to attack Manchester City from the off. He said: "As long as we play like we have done recently then we should be able to beat them. They don't have Aguero playing up front which is a big bonus for us but if we get the ball into RVP and try and use our speed out wide then I can see it being 2-0." However, Ryan Ley, 33 and from Alsager, sees no reason why his beloved Manchester City can't overcome Arsenal and keep the pressure on United at the top. "As long as we're near them [United] by the derby [on April 30] then I think we can still win the title," he said. "Arsenal are no mugs but we've shown that we're the next level up from them and as long as the lads don't get nervous then we could put three or four past them. Roberto just has to go for it.""
  • On-the-bench Arsenal full-back Andre Santos wrote on Twitter earlier: “On the way to the stadium, very important game and we need the 3 points, lets [sic] go and be happy.. #GoGunners.” If the north London club drop points today then Chelsea and (astoundingly) Newcastle United will edge ever closer to the prospect of overtaking them in the race for Champions League football.
  • At the start of the season either side would have hoped to be in contention for the Premier League title at this climactic stage. Unfortunately for the Gunners, their woeful beginnings left a nasty undercurrent for the rest of the campaign and they are fighting for a top four spot instead. A win today will send them two points clear of Tottenham with 61 points overall.
  • Jonathan Birchall, reporting for Goal.com from the Emirates Stadium, says: “The big news here at the Emirates is that David Silva, whose waning form has seen him go without a league goal since December, has been dropped by Roberto Mancini with Samir Nasri coming in to replace him. The Frenchman will join Gael Clichy in facing his former club, who has also come back into the starting XI in place of Aleksandar Kolarov. Elsewhere Zabaleta, Lescott, Barry and Aguero all come in with the Italian shuffling his pack with six changes to the side that drew with Sunderland.”
  • One change in the starting line-up for the home side as Yossi Benayoun replaces much-criticised Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey. An editor of mine, who is an avid Gunners aficionado, tells me the last time Spurs fielded this exact team was in their 5-2 thrashing of Tottenham. Omen?
  • Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, K Toure, Clichy; Barry, Y Toure; Nasri, Aguero, Milner; Balotelli. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Kolarov, Pizarro, De Jong, Dzeko, Tevez.
  • Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Song; Walcott, Rosicky, Benayoun; Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Djourou, Santos, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Chamakh.
  • The team news is coming up. Try not to wet yourselves with excitement as you wait in feverish anticipation for them to be published (unless your reading this retrospectively...in which case you’ve already read them...not quite as exciting I expect).
  • If you want to contact me directly then search for @Miles_Chambers on Twitter and send me your thoughts, theories, scores, predictions and pretty much whatever else you fancy. No rude pictures though. I stick my nose at rudeness as we’re in the serious business of analysing grown men lumping round-shaped leather balls up and down a big grassy field, okay?
  • Hello and welcome to this afternoon’s play-by-play of Arsenal v Manchester City. It doesn’t get much bigger than a battle between second and third in the Premier League (erm, apart from first and second...), hopefully we’ll be in for a treat of a match. Every single detail of interest, intrigue and action this Easter Sunday will be brought to you by me, Miles Chambers.