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March 30, 2014
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 60060
M. Flamini 53'
David Silva 18'
That's all we have time for from the Emirates, as Arsenal and Man City couldn't separate themselves from one another in a hard fought 1-1 draw - leaving three teams still in the title race. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
It's a useful point for Man City, with the Premier League title remaining firmly in Pellegrini's men's hands, while Arsenal continue their excellent home form. A late goal wasn't forthcoming for the hosts, but the Gunners can certainly take some positive from a battling performance.
FULL TIME! Arsenal grind out a 1-1 draw against Man City in the Emirates, in a game of two halves! A great visiting performance in the first half saw David Silva fortunately give the Citizens the lead, before a resurgent second half Arsenal side grabbed an equaliser through Mathieu Flamini.
90' + 3'
NEGREDO! The former Sevilla former breaks down the left hand side with nobody in support, forcing the Spaniard to go it alone. He tries to chip Szczesny from a very tight angle, but gets it all wrong. So very wrong.
90' + 2'
OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN! Sanogo manages to win his aerial battle at the back post, turning a corner delivery square, but the substitute isn't able to turn the ball home with an acrobatic volley attempt! Hart is able to collect the scraps.
90' + 1'
There are three minutes of stoppage time left for either side to grab a winner, with the home supporters urging their side on!
Cazorla has the opportunity to whip a free-kick delivery into a loaded penalty area from 30 yards out, but Hart is quick off his line to punch the cross clear of the danger area. Arsenal are pressing forward in these late stages, which would leave them susceptible to a late sky blue counter!
Yellow Card Javi García
Sanogo may not be the most prolific striker, but the young Frenchman provides Arsenal with another option for pressing Man City's central defenders. Both managers would take a point so late in the game, but the last few minutes could have a twist in the tale yet.
Giroud leaves the field without a goal against a top seven club once again, making it 22 games and merely three goals against such opposition this season. Rosicky slides in on David Silva, giving away a free-kick, with the Czech midfielder lucky to escape a second yellow card.
The full time whistle is edging ever closer, with Oxlade-Chamberlain finally providing some pace for the home side, to enable them to try and get in behind Clichy. Negredo comes on for the away side, replacing Dzeko, who hasn't been readily involved in the second half action at all.
Giroud looks to receive the ball into feet on the edge of the 18-yard box, but Kompany is quick to pressure the lone forward and rob him of the ball. The Belgian has had an answer for everything that Giroud has managed to come up with thus far.
Ten minutes left on the clock and the nerves in this stadium are nearly tangible! Man City opt to make a change, with Javi Garcia replacing Samir Nasri, as Pellegrini might be trying to shut up shop. Arsenal haven't lost here in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, a point would be excellent for the Citizens.
GIROUD! That's a poor effort! Rosicky slides a pass into his teammate, before the Frenchman sidesteps Demichelis! He decides to pull the trigger from the edge of the penalty area, with Kompany closing him down, but drags his shot awfully wide.
Plenty of nervous faces in the Emirates now, as Man City start to really look dominant. Their previous comfortable spell resulted in David Silva's opener, but Arsenal are looking much more resilient this side of half time. Oxlade-Chamberlain is warming up intensely for the home side.
YAYA TOURE! NASRI! DZEKO! Three chances in five seconds for Man City, as Toure manages to get in behind and bait Szczesny out from his goalline. The Ivorian tries to lift the ball over the Poland international from a narrow angle, but sees it blocked, before Nasri and Dzeko's later efforts on the rebound result in the same outcome!
Man City are patient, building up slowly and not rushing into making risky passes. They know that they've got the quality to hurt Arsenal, it's just a matter of retaining the ball in the right areas. The hosts are happy to sit deep.
GIROUD! A free-kick from deep is thrown into the Man City penalty area, with the Arsenal forward able to outjump Fernandinho and meet the ball! It's slightly too high for him, however, and the Frenchman can't turn his header towards goal! He curls up his hands in frustration.
Twenty minutes left on the clock and this game is still firmly in the balance! Both sides have had their chances, but neither have been able to find the back of the net in the second half, despite plenty of corners and crosses apiece.
Important header from Mertesacker! Dzeko is lurking in behind Arsenal's lines, but the German central defender manages to meet Clichy's attempted through ball. Plenty of substitutes are warming up, but both managers are keeping their cards close to their chest.
Milner and David Silva combine to release Zabaleta down the right hand side, before the Argentine swings in a delivery which is just too high for Dzeko to meet! This game is very finely balanced, with a moment of brilliance perhaps likely to settle it. Silva goes for the outrageous, but drags a 30-yard strike way wide.
Jesús Navas González
FLAMINI! The Frenchman finds himself in the Man City penalty area yet again, but this time he can't find his goalscoring touch! From an outrageous angle, he tries to fire an effort across Joe Hart, but his shot balloons way over the bar.
FERNANDINHO! The Brazilian now goes close from range, with Szczesny pushing the former Shakhtar man's powerful effort over the crossbar for a corner! The set piece is taken short and then flung into the box, but Szczesny claims at the front post.
SILVA! Navas wins a free-kick, going down under a slight shove from Podolski, which Nasri steps up to take from the right flank. It's clipped towards David Silva at the edge of the penalty area, who strikes it on the volley, but his powerful effort strikes a sky blue shirt!
PODOLSKI! The hour mark is upon us, with Arsenal looking resurgent. Flamini's goal has given them renewed belief and they almost take the lead! The hosts get some good fortune, with the Germany international getting in behind Man City's defence courtesy of a lucky deflection, but Hart makes himself big and deflects Podolski's effort behind for a corner with a flailing leg!
The lack of pace is still startling, but Arsenal are getting some joy from moving the ball from side to side at pace. If Podolski or Sagna are given half a yard to deliver a cross, there's a good chance that Giroud can gamble and look to get on the end of said delivery.
The home fans are jubilant and Arsenal are in the ascendancy! Man City are trying to claw back some control, but Flamini's goal has blown this wide open as a contest! There's renewed belief and despite a lack of changes, the Gunners look capable of going on to win this game!
WHAT A CROSS! Sagna puts a fantastic delivery into the box, it zips across the length of the six yard box, with Demichelis choosing to let the ball go past him rather than attempt to make a risky clearance! Somehow, despite the quality of ball, it doesn't result in a goal!
Assist Lukas Podolski
Goal Mathieu Flamini
GOOOOOOOOOAL! ARSENAL ARE LEVEL AND IT'S MATHIEU FLAMINI! Podolski picks out a good cut-back, before Flamini diverts the cross into the far corner, guiding it beyond a sprawling Joe Hart from 12 yards! The Gunners are right back in this game and Man City know it!
Great cross from Navas! Gibbs is well beaten by the former Sevilla man, before Szczesny fails to claim the low drive! It somehow ends up zipping past the post, with Dzeko wondering how he didn't manage to turn the ball home! Arsenal break themselves, but Hart is just about equal to a long-range Cazorla strike!
The Gunners have been able to move the ball with pace in the opening minutes of the second half, but ultimately the hosts end up making their way down a cul-de-sac. Gibbs breaks down the left hand side, but Zabaleta tracks him all the way, before sliding in to dispossess the Englishman.
Arsenal manage to get Demichelis turned for the first time this evening and Giroud almost manages to slip into the penalty area! Kompany covers well to rob the ball from the toe of the former Montpellier man. The home side need more of that, Demichelis isn't the quickest.
We're back underway in the second half! Arsenal need a goal from somewhere, with Man City looking comfortable for long periods in the first half, though Olivier Giroud has only managed three goals in his 21 games against the Premier League's top seven sides.
Be sure to stick around for all of the second half action, with both sides still having a realistic chance of leaving the Emirates tonight with three points. Both managers have quality replacements on the bench at their disposal to change the game, as Arsenal look to mount a comeback to keep their slim title hopes alive, promising us a brilliant upcoming 45 minutes.
Given the nature of the lead, Man City certainly aren't home and dry yet, but have looked far more dangerous than the opposition, while being able to defend confidently. The away side have held their line well, with crosses from Arsenal's right flank being the only cause for concern.
The Gunners have moved the ball well at times, but have no pace to get in behind Man City. Kompany and Demichelis have enjoyed playing with both the ball and their man in front of them for the entire first half, with a change of tact needed for Arsenal.
HALF TIME! The Citizens head into the dressing room a goal to the good, with a David Silva goal leaving the scoreline at 1-0. Arsenal haven't played badly, but lack a cutting edge to hurt the visitors. Man City are in control, but with a couple of changes, Arsenal could well turn this game around - they're still in it!
45' + 1'
Yellow Card David Silva
Mikel Arteta is caught late by a bad challenge from his compatriot David Silva, leaving the former Rangers midfielder on the turf in a heap - earning the ex-Valencia man a yellow card. There are two minutes of stoppage time.
A few minutes until the break and Man City remain in total control, moving the ball with purpose and direction. Meanwhile, Arsenal are able to burst upfield quickly, finding the likes of Giroud or Podolski with direct passes, but the lack of support sees the move peter out almost before it started.
Yellow Card Tomas Rosicky
David Silva is just too good, it's as though the ball is glued to his foot. He controls a Demichelis header beautifully, before pivoting sharply to escape Flamini. Rosicky then throws himself into a risky challenge with Gael Clichy, but it's only more reason for the home crowd to adore him.
Man City are winning all of the second balls, with the leading side continuing to look competitive and strong. Tomas Rosicky is leading the home charge, pressing like a maniac, earning him applause from the Gunners fans. You can't fault his commitment.
Less than ten minutes until the break, but an equaliser isn't looking too likely for Arsenal. Crosses from the advancing Sagna appear to be their best chance of threatening, but the likes of Kompany and Demichelis can certainly hold their own in aerial duels.
Man City hold their line well, as a Sagna cross is angled in the general direction of three Arsenal shirts. Fernandinho manages to beat Giroud to the delivery excellently, but it wouldn't have counted anyway, as the linesman's flag is raised for offside once again.
Good clearance from Demichelis! Podolski is released down the left hand side by an excellent crossfield ball, before the former Bayern Munich forward turns a cross in towards the near post with Giroud lurking. Demichelis hurtles back towards his own goal, before turning the ball behind for a corner.
Yellow Card Vincent Kompany
Fantastic challenge from Kompany! Giroud drives towards the edge of the penalty area, but the Frenchman is stopped by a sliding tackle from the Belgian which was timed to perfection. The follow through catches Giroud's ankle, leaving the Arsenal forward grounded for a few moments, but he'll be okay to continue.
Man City take their turn to dominate possession, with Jesus Navas making positive runs off the ball in the hope of getting in behind Gibbs yet again. Arsenal need the likes of Navas and Silva in their side this evening, they've got no means of getting in behind the organised Man City lines.
Yellow Card Yaya Touré
NASRI! The former Gunner tries his luck from 25 yards, but his low drive is dealt with comfortably by Szczesny. It was well within the reach of the gangly goalkeeper, but it's another warning sign for the home side.
Man City still hold the upper hand as the half hour mark approaches, with Arsenal still not having a lethal weapon to pierce the visiting defence. Giroud has been used well as a wall, but the home side can't get in behind the Citizens. Theo Walcott would make a profound difference on this game.
Great interception from Kompany! Cazorla shows his technical ability by quickly shifting the ball between his feet, sidestepping a challenge, before trying to thread a through ball into the penalty area for Giroud to chase. The Belgium international steps out smartly to cut out the pass.
GIROUD! Great cross by Sagna, as the France international again bombs on down the right flank before whipping in a delivery for Giroud! Hart is quick off his line to rise brilliantly and claim. The ball seemed to hang in the air for an eternity!
An audacious effort from Giroud! The Frenchman clearly saw Wayne Rooney's goal against West Ham and thought he could do the same! He spirals a long-range strike towards Hart's goal, but the England international goalkeeper is confident enough to control the ball with his feet. Not quite what Giroud was looking for.
OFFSIDE! Flamini turns home inside the penalty area, but the linesman's flag is raised! Man City keep a brilliant line, so although the former Milan midfielder acrobatically looped Podolski's cross into the back of the net, it won't count! It's a good decision from the officials.
Man City aren't afraid to keep pressing, with Gibbs forced to turn a back post cross behind for a corner. Arsenal aren't looking too confident, although they've held onto the ball for reasonable spells, they don't seem to have a way of harming the away side. Szczesny is called into action to punch a Navas cross away.
Goal David Silva
GOOOOOOAL! DAVID SILVA GIVES MAN CITY A 1-0 LEAD! The visitors break wonderfully, with Silva sliding the ball out to left hand side, before Dzeko thumped an effort against the near post! The rebound is kind to Pellegrini's men, with the loose ball falling to David Silva deep in the penalty box, who turns the ball home!
Nervy moment from Szczesny! A Nasri strike is blocked by a sliding Mertesacker challenge, with the ball looping into the air and coming down to land in the Arsenal shot-stopper's grasp. With Dzeko lurking, he momentarily drops the ball, but quickly reclaims it at the second attempt.
Excellent control from Giroud! The former Montpellier man plucks the ball out of the sky despite significant pressure from Zabaleta, earning him the applause of the Emirates. Arsenal continue to stroke the ball around well, though Man City have the pace and quality to hurt the Gunners on the counter.
The opening quarter of an hour has passed without either goalkeeper being called upon to make a save, but the contest itself has been enthralling. Both sides are taking it in turns to enjoy spells of possession and there's a real ebb and flow about this one.
Rosicky and Giroud exchange possession well, before Kompany comes across definitively to take the ball from the latter. Arsenal are looking a little bit better, enjoying a spell of possession and getting plenty of the ball into Rosicky. Wenger really does like playing him in the big occasions due to his experience and intelligence on the field.
Arsenal want a penalty! Rosicky bursts into the penalty area, before sidestepping around the challenge of Zabaleta, but the experienced midfielder picks up a yellow card for his trouble. That was probably a dive, Rosicky did leave his foot trailing, expecting some contact from his Argentine adversary.
NAVAS! A dodgy effort from the Spain international, as he balloons a shot high and wide from a very tight angle. Man City's right flank has been able to provide great joy in the opening ten minutes, Gibbs looks unable to contend with the pace and trickery of Navas.
The Gunners continue to do all of the early chasing, with Man City looking like the home side. The hosts are happy to sit in their shape, but don't have an outlet to break quickly, with Giroud not blessed with much pace. Advantage to the Citizens thus far.
Sagna is forced into a rushed clearance, after a Navas cross is deflected wide of Dzeko and towards the back post. Arsenal have their backs to the wall already, the sky blue tide is relentless. Pellegrini's men are holding onto the ball well, with Gibbs being isolated easily.
Good work by Navas once again! Zabaleta and the former Sevilla winger are combining brilliantly down the right, with Gibbs already struggling to keep his man in front of him. Another cross from the Argentine full-back is dealt with firmly by the head of Mertesacker.
Man City break upfield, but Rosicky gets back well to rob Dzeko of the ball, after the Bosnia international took a heavy touch. The home fans are already uneasy and didn't take too well to Giroud losing the ball early on. The French striker needs a big performance to silence his critics this evening.
NAVAS! Two chances in the space of 30 seconds for Man City! Zabaleta is able to get to the byeline and cut a ball back in search of a sky blue shirt, but Vermaelen intercepts. Moments later, another visiting cross is half-cleared, before Navas curled a bending effort narrowly wide of the top left hand corner.
Terrible first clearance from Szczesny, as the Polish goalkeeper arrows his first touch of the ball out of play under no pressure. That won't settle the nerves! Man City look comfortable, on the other hand, moving the ball smoothly in the opening exchanges.
We're underway in the first half! This game has huge repurcussions on the rest of the league table, so don't go anywhere! Man City are favourites on paper, but Arsenal have made the Emirates a fortress this season, with a win potentially helping Gunners' supporters to forget the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea.
With five minutes until kick-off, be sure to stick around as this game helps to define the Premier League season. With Man City looks to capitalise on Chelsea's shortcomings earlier, Pellegrini's men have to win at all costs, with their ex-Arsenal players determined to get one over on their former employers. As for Arsenal, if they don't win tonight, their unlikely challenge for the title is dead and buried.
Arsenal have won merely two of their last five games, but the Gunners have only suffered defeat once at home since last October. After conceding late against Swansea last time out, the home side will be keen to get back on track with a result against one of the favourites for the Premier League title. Man City head into this clash with three wins on the trot, as momentum certainly sides with the Citizens.
Man City substitutes: Lescott, Milner, Negredo, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Pantilimon, Jovetic.
Man City starting line-up: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Toure, Fernandinho; Nasri, David Silva, Jesus Navas; Dzeko.
Arsenal substitutes: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabianski, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Kallstrom, Bellerin, Gnabry.
Arsenal starting line-up: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini; Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud.
TEAM NEWS: Martin Demichelis is again at the heart of the Man City defence, with Gael Clichy preferred to Kolarov against his former club. Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri start on the flanks, as Pellegrini chooses to pick his ex-Gunners. Edin Dzeko leads the line alone, with Stevan Jovetic on the bench.
TEAM NEWS: An injury to Laurent Koscielny means that Thomas Vermaelen is at centre-back, with Tomas Rosicky again included for one of Arsenal's biggest games of the season. Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta provide the defensive screen for the hosts, with Lukas Podolski getting another start on the left hand side. Olivier Giroud has a point to prove after his last performance against Swansea, with the Frenchman starting alone upfront.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of this evening's action, as Arsene Wenger's side look to put a dent in Man City's title challenge, while gaining ground on both their adversaries and Chelsea - who dropped three points against Crystal Palace earlier. Plenty to play for, with two star-studded teams promising to provide an enthralling spectacle.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Premier League's late kick-off, as title aspirants Arsenal and Manchester City clash at the Emirates. Plenty at stake for both sides, not least due to the Gunners' phenomenal home record over this season, as the two outfits need points to keep themselves in the race for the title and the Champions League respectively.
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