Bluemoon you saw me standing alone without a dream in my heart without a love of my own

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

City 1 Arsenal 3


City v Arsenal

City started brightly on the bowling green of a pitch at the Emirates and had Darius Vassell running at pace onto the Arsenal backline within the opening few minutes.
His pull back from the left found DaMarcus Beasley, but a good blocking tackle prevented Pearce's men from shocking the home crowd and taking the lead.
Despite City holding their own in the early stages it was the home side who went in front after 12 minutes.
Diaby won the ball back in midfield and fed Eboue down the right wing, his cross found Nedum Onuoha sleeping at the back post and Tomas Rosicky stole in to blast the ball through Isaksson's legs.
The Blues kept to their task in hand despite the early blow and it wasn't until the 27th minute that the Gunners threatened again - a fantastic sliding challenge in the area from Richard Dunne prevented further damage.
After half an hour, Arsenal's Abou Diaby couldn't carry on after an innocuous-looking collision left him with a cut to the head. Julio 'the beast' Baptista replaced him.
Isaksson was called into action after 33 minutes as he made a good parry out from a long rang Fabregas effort. Arsenal, with the added firepower of Baptista now on the pitch, threatened to double the advantage sooner rather than later.
The nice football Arsenal played hadn't turned to goals and the Blues were still in the game 10 minutes before the break.
City then had a chance on 37 minutes as Vassell again provided a decent ball into the box. Jihai Sun lost his footing but still managed to fire goalwards - Gallas though blocked before the ball was cleared to safety.
The Blues didn't have to wait long for their next chance and they made Arsenal pay this time. Jens Lehmann made a hash of a clearance, Joey Barton picked the ball up and found Michael Johnson, he rode a couple of challenges before slipping the ball on to DaMarcus Beasley.
The American stayed calm and placed the ball beyond Lehmann and send the City fans into raptures just five minutes before the break. Arsene Wenger's men had not learnt their lessons.
City could even have gone in at half time 2-1 up. Barton's 20-yard drive forced an unsure Lehmann to turn the ball behind for a corner.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 1-1 City
No changes by either manager ahead of the second half.
Pearce's men looked fresh and ready after the late leveller. Beasley was again making the Arsenal fans sit uncomfortably in their padded seats with a dangerous ball in, which Jihai Sun could bounce goalwards, Lehmann this time made no mistakes.
Arsenal pressed and pressed during the second half, but too many times they continued to overcomplicate matters, playing too many passes. The home fans became increasingly edgy and ran the risk of being caught by City again.
When the Gunners cottoned on, halfway through the second 45, City held firm. A flowing move involving Rosicky, Adebayor and Hleb brought a fine block from Distin.
Then Isaksson produced an amazing save to deny Adebayor a certain goal. The former Monaco striker rose well to meet Hleb's cross, but the Swede stretched full-length and even managed to hold the ball.
Typically it was a strike from nothing that eventually saw the Gunners retake the lead. It was Cesc Fabregas with an unstoppable drive from some 20-yards out to break City's hearts. Nothing Isaksson could do about that one.
Pearce made an attacking double substitution with Corradi and Samaras introduced - but it got worse as Arsenal scored again.
Alex Hleb bundled his way into the box with 10 minutes left before the ball fell to Baptista who turned it home to surely seal the points for Arsenal. Another cruel blow for City to take despite playing some good football and troubling Wenger's men.
The Blues had a good chance on 87 minutes as the two subs combined, but Samaras' shot was well saved by a relieved Lehmann following his first half blunder.
City can count themselves unlucky to have lost here tonight having given a good account of themselves.
Leon Collins.

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