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14 December 2013
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 47229
S. Agüero 14'
Fernandinho 50', 88'
David Silva 66'
Y. Touré 90'+
T. Walcott 31', 63'
P. Mertesacker 90'+
That rounds up our live-text commentary, we hope you've enjoyed the show! From me, Tim Poole, goodbye and take care!
There was still time for Yaya Toure to add yet another from the penalty spot, as his neat finish made ie 6-3 to City. Full-time, City move to within three points of Arsenal!
Walcott struck again to pull a goal back for the visitors but David Silva quickly added a fourth for City. Fernandinho then netted his first ever goal for the home side as they went 5-2 up, before Per Mertesacker added a late consolation for Arsenal.
Words cannot really describe what on earth happened in those 90 minutes but we'll try with the following round-up... Sergio Aguero gave Manchester City the lead before Theo Walcott hit back on the half-hour mark. Alvaro Negredo put the hosts back in the lead, however, before Fernandinho made it 3-1.
FULL-TIME: Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal. Yes, that reads six three...
90' + 6'
Penalty GoalYaya Touré
GOAL! Toure sends the penalty home. This match has descended into pure madness!
90' + 5'
Yellow CardWojciech Szczesny
90' + 5'
PENALTY TO MANCHESTER CITY! What on earth is going on? Milner surges into the area but Szczesny brings his down. Spot-kick given.
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
GOAL! Mertesacker does grab a consolation for Arsenal. What a strange game this is - with such poor defending.
90' + 2'
Walcott tries to beat Pantilimon for his hat-trick but his free kick is easily picked up by the City goalkeeper.
90' + 1'
This has, quite simply, been a brilliant day for the hosts.
Poor Bendtner. He thinks he's given Arsenal their third as he heads home a consolation. But it is given offside...
GOALLL! City do have a fifth - but it is Fernandinho who fires home! Nasri plays the Brazilian in and he beats Mertesacker in the box and finishes past Szczesny. Could this result have a big impact on the title race? It is certainly a resounding one.
OVER! Nasri fires the ball over the bar after a great move. The Frenchman is frustrated not to score there and looks desperate to get on the scoresheet!
Having said that, they have scored twice, which is a considerable achievement under the circumstances.
Just a few more minutes for Arsenal fans to suffer here. It has been a poor display from the Gunners.
CLOSE! Fernandinho tries to double his tally for the day with a powerful strike but Szczesny somehow keeps it out!
Nasri beats two defenders but Mertesacker slides in and deals with the Frenchman well! The tackle sees the ball hit Nasri and then go off for a goal kick.
But there is no denying the angst surrounding the Emirates at the moment. They entered a key period of their season needing three big results. As it has happened, they have lost two out of two.
Where next for Arsenal after this defeat (presuming they fail to score three before full-time...)? They will still be two points clear at the top of the table (if Chelsea beat Crystal Palace today) and can strengthen their lead with a win against Chelsea next week.
Yellow CardVincent Kompany
Ten minutes remain and it's still 4-2 to Manchester City. While they can be questioned defensively - especially away from home - their sheer appetite for goals at home makes them so strong.
And Toure almost inspires another chance for the hosts, though Nasri dallies on the ball and sees it go off for a goal kick.
TOURE! The Ivorian shoots just wide. City had transitioned from one side of the pitch to the other in just a flash!
Nicklas Bendtner comes on for Giroud now, instead of coming on alongside him. The Frenchman has not had the best of days.
Both sides are relentlessly pushing forward now. Arsenal for obvious reasons. Manchester City because they have the confidence to do so.
SIDE-NETTING! Another superb counterattack from Manchester City - they really are irresistible on this form. The ball comes to Navas as the hosts end up with three against two in attack. The Spaniard can only fire the ball into the side-netting, though.
Attacking change from Mr Wenger, meanwhile. Serge Gnabry comes on for Flamini! Ramsey will drop into the holding role to cover the young German.
Goalscorer David Silva, who has been superb today, is being replaced by James Milner. And the Spaniard is receiving a standing ovation.
The home side look more than satisfied to sit back and let the Gunners come at them.
Wilshere has a strike at goal but Pantilimon beats it away. Arsenal can be admired for their attacking approach but you can't help but feel that this game is beyond them now.
What a home record City possess. Eight wins out of eight (as things stand). They've had 7-0 and 6-0 wins and also beaten Manchester United 4-1 at the Etihad. This is just another feather in their cap.
AssistJesús Navas González
GOAL! Silva makes it 4-2 and that is exactly the form I was referring to. Navas was involved in the build-up but it was his fellow Spaniard who provided the finish. No matter how hard Arsenal try to get back into this one, they cannot keep up with the hosts in defence. That should be the end of the Gunners' fightback.
But the Gunners still need another goal, here, and that looks a tall order with City's current form.
What a wise decision it has proved by Wenger to play Walcott today.
GOAL! It's Walcott again! This isn't over quite yet! A sensational effort from the Arsenal forward as he shoots from range and catches Pantilimon out. We have a grandstand finish on our hands!
Zabaleta now links up with substitute Jesus Navas down the right-hand side, although the move is eventually broken down by a Ramsey clearance.
CATCH! Ramsey sends a cross into the penalty area now but Pantilimon cuts the delivery out. Arsenal have certainly shown spirit since going 3-1 down. But is it too little too late?
Martin Atkinson does not give the spot-kick, however.
PENALTY APPEALS! Walcott's strike is blocked by Zabaleta's hand! The Arsenal players protest vigorously.
This score-line is good news for Chelsea, too, with Jose Mourinho's men able to cut the gap to just two points if they beat Crystal Palace this afternoon. Crisis, what crisis?
The hosts can afford to slip into cruise control if Arsenal don't take their chances here. As things stand, City will only be three points behind the league leaders.
GIROUD AGAIN! This time, the Frenchman is oh so close as Sagna breaks down the flank and whips a superb cross into the area. Giroud throws himself at the ball and, this time, comes extremely close. Wide it goes.
OH DEAR! Giroud has another go - and this one is even worse. He tries a left-footed effort at goal and the home fans go wild as he completely slices it and it goes over the bar.
So the loss of Aguero does not hurt the hosts too much in the short term as Fernandinho gets his first ever City goal. Arsenal's respoonse is muted, as Giroud chooses to shoot instead of passing to an unmarked Ramsey. Chance wasted.
GOAL! Fernandinho gives City a third! Ozil, of all people, is caught out in possession after trying to feed the ball to Flamini. Brazilian Fernandinho takes full advantage, curling a fantastic shot into the back of the net from long distance. Is that game over?
Jesús Navas González
Yellow CardDavid Silva
Aguero seems to have injured his calf, while Kompany almost deputises fantastically for him. The City captain ran the length of the pitch, evading three different challenges! But his cross went straight to Mertesacker. Great effort.
The Argentine is applauded as he walks off the field for treatment.
Bad news... Aguero is down injured for the home side.
And we're back up and running at the Etihad!
Stay with us for second-half commentary!
The hosts would restore their superiority eight minutes later, though, as Pablo Zabaleta played Alvaro Negredo in to fire home. Laurent Koscielny then went off injured for the visitors, meaning Arsenal have it all to do if they are to end City's 100 per cent home record for the league season.
Yet Arsenal's attacking threat meant they were always bound to trouble the City back line, although there was more than a touch of fortune involved as Theo Walcott's shot somehow found its way into the back of the net on 31 minutes.
So the hosts lead at the break - and deservedly so. It was all Manchester City from the off as Manuel Pellegrini's side came flying out of the traps. Sergio Aguero rewarded their ascendancy with a superb volley after 14 minutes.
HALF-TIME: Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
45' + 2'
Silva now shoots but to no avail. All City at the moment - and not for the first time this half.
45' + 2'
SAVE! Szczesny is almost wrong-footed by a deflected shot as he claims the ball next to the post.
45' + 1'
GOOD NEWS! The news on Koscielny's injury is that it is only a cut, meaning he might only be out for a week or two.
OVER! Samir Nasri takes a corner for the hosts now and Demichelis heads just over! The Gunners do not look at all convincing from set-pieces.
We are sure to see a few minutes of injury time. But will there be any more goals before the break?
City seem to have survived the scare of Walcott's equaliser. The Koscielny injury is also a stroke of luck for the home side. Away fans will be worried as the problem looks potentially serious.
Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen comes on for Koscielny but how will the away side cope with their new centre-back pairing?
Worrying signs for the Gunners as the strecher comes out. It looks like it's the end of Koscielny's game.
GOAL! Negredo puts City back into the lead! Another quick move from the hosts saw the Spaniard played into the area and he slid in from short range to send the ball home. Koscielny had slid in to try and stop him and picked up an injury in the process.
Meanwhile, Wenger has put his coat on...
Wenger spoke before the match of the "creativity" his side have at their disposal. Wilshere definitely showed some of it there - but his target, Monreal, was in an offside position.
Do the visitors deserve to be on level terms? Probably not. But are they? They certainly are. What can City do to change that?
CHANCE!! That's where - City almost retake the lead instantly! Monreal can't track the run of Negredo and he is one on one with Wojciech Szczesny but he shoots just wide!
Where to for the hosts now?
GOALLLLL! Arsenal equalise! Out of nothing, the visitors are back in this. Walcott takes a speculative shot and Demichelis tries to head it away. However, he doesn't get to it and that deceives Pantilimon, and the ball bobbles into the back of the net!
Negredo and Aguero threaten once again, with Wilshere eventually having to clear the ball for a throw!
Walcott takes the free kick from the left-hand side and Pantilimon punches it into the path of Ozil! The ball flies towards the German and bounces straight off him, however. Arsenal unlucky.
FOUL! Negredo slides in and gives away a free kick. No booking and his defensive efforts have been very noticeable so far.
Toure then shoots but can't quite get the angle right. What a move from the hosts, though. Silva, Toure and Negredo all look at their best, with Zabaleta also offering plenty to the City attack.
Silva and Zabaleta link up now, while Yaya Toure and Negredo are also involved. The move ends with Toure playing Silva back in, with the Spaniard's shot blocked back into the Ivorian's path...
Arsenal break the other way, though, before City retrieve the ball and attack yet again! The move ends with a goal kick to the Gunners but the game is taking on an increasingly end-to-end dynamic.
But the ball is won back by Kompany and Silva races straight down the other end. He passes to Negredo but he is offside.
What can the visitors do here? They have the ball, with Sagna passing to Flamini...
Another scare for the Gunners...
WIDE! Vincent Kompany does superbly now to get the ball off Giroud and play Negredo in. What foresight from the defender! Spaniard Negredo, however, cannot connect very well with the ball and he places his finish wide.
Pellegrini's side look very comfortable at the moment. Aguero's fantastic volley is the difference between the two teams, although City look more than capable of doubling that lead.
An assist and a good first 20 minutes at the back for Demichelis. It seems to be his day.
Mesut Ozil gets involved now - for one of the first times so far today. He tries to play Wilshere in but Demichelis gets a touch that takes the ball to Pantilimon.
And the hosts push forward once more as Zabaleta tries to drive another cross into the area. Monreal is able to clear but Wenger may be worried by the threat City currently pose.
Arsenal will have to respond now. City set their stall out in the opening minutes and now have something to show for it. The Gunners may rue Wilshere's miss moments earlier but this is no time for dwelling!
GOAL! Aguero! Arsenal had their chances but Manchester City have made them pay for not taking them! The hosts advanced up the other end after Giroud's opening and won a corner. It was whipped in and Martin Demichelis headed it on to Aguero, who volleyed home superbly. City have the lead.
So two half-chances for Arsenal, Wilshere with the best of the two. He tried to power his shot home but could not get the contact right.
And now Olivier Giroud is through on goal without being given offside! I say through on goal... but he can't actually get onto the pass.
CHANCE! Theo Walcott breaks forward with his first real involvement of the game and plays in Jack Wilshere. The England midfielder is in a great position but wastes the opportunity.
Negredo clears once again! Superb defending from the striker.
In a role reversal of sorts, the ball is played into Laurent Koscielny and Negredo clears. Arsenal win a corner now, though.
There's your answer - the Gunners advance into the home half for the first time in the match. Aaron Ramsey is in possession and tries to chip a ball over the top, although it is to no avail. Arsenal now win a free kick, however.
CROSS! Pablo Zabaleta now drives forward and plays a cross into the penalty area. It is blocked - but when will Arsenal get to see the ball properly!?
DEFLECTION! Aguero beats Sagna skillfully and drives a cross into the box but it is deflected onto the Argentine's head. A strange one but Arsenal are able to clear thereafter.
Although they'll be playing them even if they struggle today, of course...
Per Mertesacker, Flamini and Sagna have already been tested considerably after just five minutes. How they cope today will prove crucial. If they cope, they'll be rewarded with a clash against Chelsea next week. Lovely.
After their free kick, City have won - and wasted - a corner. Nevertheless, it is all coming from the hosts at the moment. They have come out of the blocks absolutely flying!
David Silva takes the resultant free kick but Bacary Sagna clears.
Aguero enjoys a chance to run at the Arsenal defence already! No surprises as Mathieu Flamini stops him in his tracks, although he gives away a foul. That could be key right there - how Flamini protects the back four.
Arsenal kick us off!
We'll no doubt be fascinated by the answer that unfolds...
So kick-off is just minutes away and today's game could tell us a lot about the credentials of either side. Can Wenger's men continue their fine away form that has seen them win five of their seven games on the road? Or will City keep winning at home...
A key consideration will no doubt be the Gunners' exerts in Europe this week, with City having rested a lot of their first-team regulars. It is all the more interesting, then, that they still managed to beat Bayern Munich in Germany!
Arsene Wenger has produced some surprises, though, starting Nacho Monreal ahead of Kieran Gibbs, with Theo Walcott also earning a place in the first XI but Mikel Arteta only making the bench.
So Costel Pantilimon starts in goal ahead of Joe Hart once again, while Manuel Pellegrini sticks with his tried and tested parternship of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo up front.
Arsenal subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Gnabry, Bendtner.
Arsenal team to play Man City: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott; Giroud.
Man City subs: Hart, Lescott, Kolarov, Garcia, Navas, Milner, Dzeko.
Let's start off with the all-important team news. Manchester City will be lining up like this: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri, Silva; Aguero, Negredo.
Good afternoon and welcome to live-text commentary of Manchester City against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium! What a game we have in store this lunchtime as the Premier League leaders face a side with a 100 per cent unbeaten home record. I'm Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through the action. Stay tuned for a huge game.
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