Report: Arsenal 0-1 Man. City
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Arsenal saved us from their usual semi-final/final heart-break in the Carling Cup this season as they crashed out of the competition through a late Aguero sucker-punch.
The winning strike, which was a well-worked counter-attack move, summed up Arsenal’s night perfectly. The Gunners had bossed the affair and probably deserved a better result, but their lack of clinical ability going forward saw them pay. And chasing a late goal as the cup tie sat delicately at 0-0 with seven minutes to go, the hosts piled all men forward after winning a corner kick. But Arsenal failed to retain possesion of the ball and Edin Dzeko speer-headed a swift move for Man. City which ended up with Sergio Aguero sliding the ball past Lukasz Fabianski.
Last year’s Carling Cup finalists kept their philosophy in this competition with a starting line-up which saw youthful and/or fringe players inclduing the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miguel, Park Chu-Young, Benayoun, Squillaci and Chamakh. First team familiar faces Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny were slotted in at the back while Fabianski took over in goal.
The first-half saw both sides threaten to break the dead-lock but after the break it was almost all-Arsenal. Wenger’s boys were peppering Manchester City’s goal for much of the second-half with Oxlade-Chamberlain tormenting the visitors’ defence on Arsenal’s right wing. Mancini’s men did stand their ground and even fancied decent chances on some occassions, with a Dzeko header culpable of being wasteful.
As the game neared it’s closing moments, the Gunners looked the more likely side to fashion a winner. So it was no surprise when Thomas Vermaelen – who had been brought on as a substititute – joined fellow defenders Koscielny, Squillaci and Djourou in City’s penalty box when Arsenal won a corner-kick in the 82nd minute. However, the delivery could not be met by any of Arsenal’s big men and when City cleared, Dzeko found possesion, shrugged off the hosts’ desperate defenders, and teed up Aguero who beat Fabiasnki with ease.
Arsenal then threw everything at Mancini’s men in the dying minutes, but even with Gervinho and Arshavin introduced, the blues proved too solid for the Gunners to find an equalizer which would have forced extra-time and so, Wenger’s men said goodbye to the competition in which they made the final last year.