EPL: Arsenal fail to score against City at Emirates

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Manchester City frustrated Arsenal with a stubborn defensive display that earned a gritty goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger’s side knew victory would take them above second placed City and the Gunners dominated the game for long periods, striking the woodwork three times in the first half.

But Arsenal were unable to find a finish to add to their impressive approach work and while the home supporters greeted the final whistle with chants of ‘boring, boring City’, it was a case of job done for Roberto Mancini’s team, who are two points behind leaders Manchester United.

The game ended on a sour note with opposing full backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna sent off for a clash of heads in the closing moments.

But there was no doubt that City ended the game in the stronger position despite having been out-played for long periods to give Mancini’s squad a boost 24 hours after Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor – who was left out of the squad – had been pictured fighting on the club’s training pitch.

It took the home side less than a minute to carve open the visiting defence with Cesc Fabregas playing in Jack Wilshere who delivered a teasing cross in front of the City goal.

But City then responded by demonstrating the strength on the break that has made them so formidable away from home this season with James Milner finishing off a sweeping move by flashing a shot narrowly wide.

Mancini has spoken more modestly than Wenger about his side’s ambitions, dismissing the suggestion they could end up champions and maintaining that the top four was a more realistic ambition.

His team sheet had a more adventurous look with Jo drafted in for only his third league start, but the Italian resisted the temptation to pair the Brazil forward with Carlos Tevez and positioned him instead on the left.

Even so, Mancini’s midfield were unable to prevent Fabregas and Wilshere taking control as Arsenal dominated first half possession without finding a way past Joe Hart.

Wilshere spurned two good early chances, first firing straight at Hart and then failing to make a clean connection from 12 yards out.

But it was Robin van Persie who came closest to claiming an early goal for the home side when the Holland international turned Kolo Toure and drilled a low shot that cannoned to safety off Hart’s right hand post.

City defended in depth and soaked up Arsenal pressure, but Wenger’s side should have finally forced their way ahead when Fabregas and Theo Walcott struck the woodwork in quick succession.

Like Van Persie before him, Fabregas beat Hart on the keeper’s right but hit the post and Walcott suffered a similar fate when he connected first time with the rebound.

With Yaya Toure growing in influence towards the end of the first half, City launched a couple of more telling attacks that both ended with good efforts from Tevez.

Mancini’s side could not sustain that growing momentum after the break and while Arsenal’s attacks lacked the pace and incisiveness they showed in the first 45 minutes, they again dominated.

Van Persie produced another exceptional effort from long range and was this time foiled by Hart.

But the game finished with Arsenal showing their frustration as Sagna needlessly headbutted Zabaleta following a foul by the City player, which led to both being sent off.

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