Honours even after entertaining Arsenal and Man City game

Sep 24, 2012
Bill Mann

But Liverpool lost a bad-tempered affair against Manchester United

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Manchester City 1 Arsenal 1. For a one-all draw this was a game that oozed entertainment. Unlike the snarling encounter earlier in the day between Liverpool and Manchester United, City and Arsenal produced 90 minutes of quick, clean quality football.

The only surprise was that both goals came from centre-backs, with Joleon Lescott giving the Sky Blues the lead five minutes before the break and Laurent Koscielny levelling for the Gunners nine minutes from time.

It was an occasion when all 22 players contributed to what was a memorable game, but despite the entertainment the end result wasn't good for either side in their quest to keep pace with the leaders.
Arsenal now lie in fifth place, five points behind Chelsea, whom they host next Saturday at the Emirates, while City slipped to seventh.

It hasn't been a good few days for City boss Roberto Mancini - what with his side throwing away a 2-1 lead earlier in the week in losing 3-2 to Real Madrid in the Champions League and now failing to take maximum points for the third time this season in the Premier League.

"I am frustrated about the result, because we had a chance to win and we conceded another goal," said Mancini later. "We need to work harder. We need to work because we want to improve."

City were outplayed for most of the first half by an Arsenal side who showed an attacking intent from the first minute. Unfortunately so much of the good work done in the midfield by Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsay was undone by Gervinho, who looked a shadow of the player who has scored three goals in his last two games.

The Ivorian frontman had a shocker against City, spurning two great chances midway through the first half and generally resembling the diffident player of last season. City punished their visitors for their profligacy when Lescott rose unchallenged to head home David Silva's corner on 40 minutes.

City were tighter in the second half, their midfield strengthened by the introduction of Jack Rodwell at the expense of debutant Scott Sinclair, but Arsenal deserved their equaliser on 81 minutes. A rasping drive from Cazorla was parried away by Joe Hart, but from the ensuing corner Koscielny lashed the ball home to cap an impressive first start of the season. "I'm very happy," said the Frenchman, a late replacement for Thomas Vermaelen who went down with flu last night.

"What happened today should strengthen our belief," declared Arsene Wenger, "but we are not the perfect team yet and there is still room for improvement."

In the day's other games, Manchester United came from a goal behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at Anfield in a bad-tempered affair. Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a first-half foul on Jonny Evans, though the United defender's challenge was equally reckless and merited a red.

The Reds shrugged off the misfortune to take the lead through Steven Gerrard at the start of the second half, but the visitors struck back with goals from Rafael Da Silva and a penalty from Robin Van Persie after Antonio Valencia had been felled by Glen Johnson. Liverpool had a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down on a day when little went right for the Reds. "We are bitterly disappointed," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers later. "We could control our players' performance but what we can't control is decisions by the referee."

Asked about the dismissal of Shelvey, Rodgers replied: "If Jonjo is booked or sent off for both feet leaving the ground then Jonny Evans has got to go as well. It is a tackle both players have to go for but the Liverpool player then can't get sent off and the Manchester United player stays on the field."

In the day's other games, a first half goal from Demba Ba was enough to give Newcastle a 1-0 win over Norwich while Tottenham beat QPR thanks to an Alejandro Faurlin own goal and Jermain Defoe's strike on
61 minutes.

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EPL referees can always spoil a football game...Don't worry Brendan, the souls of the 96 will live to torment the referee.