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Premier League: Arsenal 1 Manchester City 0

8 April 2012 19:19

Manchester City all but surrendered the Premier League title to Manchester United after losing 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta scored the only goal of the game five minutes from time to send the home fans into raptures, although Mario Balotelli was sent off for a second bookable offence.

The Gunners made one change from their side that was beaten 2-1 by QPR last week as Yossi Benayoun replaced Aaron Ramsey as Arsene Wenger reshuffled his team into a 4-3-3 formation.

Roberto Mancini made six changes from the team that drew with Sunderland. David Silva was dropped entirely, while Micah Richards, Kolo Toure, Nigel de Jong, Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko also made way.

Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and the fit again Sergio Aguero came into the side to replace them.

Arsenal made a strong start to the game and began to dominate possession and put City under real pressure as the visitors struggled to get out of their own 18-yard box.

The hosts peppered the area with crosses which meant defenders Vincent Kompany and Lescott had to be at their best to alleviate the danger on Joe Hart's goal.

Wenger's side should have taken the lead from a corner when Robin Van Persie rose highest and headed the ball towards goal.

The Dutchman's effort seemed destined for the net only for it to be blocked on the line by his own team-mate Thomas Vermaelen, resulting in the ball hitting the cross-bar and bouncing clear but only as far as Tomas Rosicky who could only head over.

Balotelli sparked controversy when he flew into a tackle with Alex Song with his studs showing. He made contact with Song's shin but was not punished by referee Martin Atkinson.

City looked to have weathered the early Arsenal pressure and should have gone ahead through Balotelli when he peeled off his marker at a corner and met the cross with a first-time effort which he miscued when free in the area.

The Gunners looked to pile on pressure late in the half particularly down the right through Walcott and Bacary Sagna, but neither could produce a quality final ball to trouble the resolute Kompany and Lescott.

At the start of the second half neither side was able to get any attacking momentum going due to mistakes being committed on and off the ball.

City had a great chance to take the lead when Clichy raided down the left and hit a dangerous cross deep to the back-post which Aguero looked poised to head past Wojciech Szczesny.

However, just as the Argentine was about to make contact Zabaleta collided with him taking the power off the effort and the Pole was able to tip the looping header over the bar.

Arsenal responded to the pressure from Mancini's side and should have gone ahead through Van Persie whose header hit the post from six yards after he found himself free in the area.

Van Persie thought he had finally got his goal when he latched onto Song's pass after drifting off Kompany, before firing a right-footed shot past Hart only for him to be flagged for offside.

The Gunners began to pile on the pressure, particularly down the right where Balotelli was offering no defensive support to Clichy, and this almost cost City a goal as Sagna found Walcott in the area but his effort at goal was saved onto the post by Hart.

The ball fell kindly to Vermaelen, who only had to tap it into an empty net but he lost his footing and scuffed his shot.

Arsenal finally got the breakthrough when Arteta received the ball in midfield and drove towards the City area, striking a powerful effort from 25 yards which sailed into the bottom corner of the net just wide of the outstretched hand of Hart.

City's day worsened when Balotelli saw red for a second yellow card after bringing down Sagna with a reckless challenge, leaving referee Atkinson with little choice but to give him his marching orders.

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Wednesday 20 August

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 1 +2 3
2 1 +2 3
3 1 +1 3
4 1 +1 3
5 1 +1 3
6 1 +1 3
7 1 +1 3
8 1 +1 3
9 1 +0 1
10 1 +0 1
11 1 +0 1
12 1 +0 1
13 1 -1 0
14 1 -1 0
15 1 -1 0
16 1 -1 0
17 1 -1 0
18 1 -1 0
19 1 -2 0
20 1 -2 0

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