Cazorla leads Arsenal to well deserved victory
FA Premier League
Sunday 18 January 2015, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho (Lampard 63), Navas (Dzeko 76), Milner (Jovetic 46), Silva, Aguero
Unused: Caballero, Kolarov, Mangala, Sagna
Booked: Kompany, Fernandinho, Aguero
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Jesus Navas
After Chelsea's emphatic victory over Swansea on Saturday, the onus was on Manchester City to again close the deficit to two points, with a game against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium. Vincent Kompany was ruled fit to start the game, replacing Eliaquim Mangala, and due to the absence and injury of Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri respectively, in came Fernando and James Milner. Sergio Aguero was given the nod up front.
The game started with City having plenty of the ball, but lacking any form of penetration, Silva seemed to struggle to get involved, with Aaron Ramsey doing an excellent job of shackling the Spanish international. As the half went on Arsenal grew in stature and were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Vincent Kompany clumsily brought down Nacho Montreal. Santo Cazorla scored from the spot to give Arsenal the lead. City didn't really respond, continually giving the ball away cheaply, and not pressing high enough up the pitch to try and regain possession. As a result the away side went in ahead at half time, and were good value for their lead.
City started the second half better, playing with a lot more intensity but still struggled to work Ospina in the Arsenal goal. Jesus Navas found himself in good positions but continually failed to pick out a City player. City had numerous corners, but all too often failed to beat the first man. Arsenal, on the other hand, had one free kick and doubled their lead. Santi Cazorla whipped in an excellent delivery which was diverted home by Olivier Giroud to condemn City to their second defeat at home this season.
It was a huge blow to City's title hopes, and now puts even more pressure on the Champions to win at Chelsea in a fortnight's time.