0 - 0 Boyata red card 10'
0 - 1 Nasri 20'
0 - 2 Song 65'
0 - 3 Bendtner 88'
Opposition coverage: Bitter and Blue
Coming into the match today, most of the questions around Arsenal were focused on the inexperience and second-string nature of the defense against the in-form Carlos Tevez. As it turns out, Arsenal managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time since the Blackpool match after Dedryk Boyata was dismissed for a last-man tackle early in the first half. Goals from Samir Nasri, Alex Song, and Nicklas Bendtner surrounded a Cesc Fabregas penalty miss, and Arsenal wrapped up three points away against top opposition.
Things started out on a bit of an ominous note, Carlos Tevez scuttling around Johan Djourou and squaring from the byline for David Silva. Lukasz Fabianski made the first in a long day of good saves, reaching one hand to stop Silva's clever flicked shot.
After Bacary Sagna cleared another cross from a similar area two minutes later, Arsenal found their feet. Cesc Fabregas sent a long through ball in for Marouane Chamakh. Chamakh prodded the ball around Boyata, who stepped on his foot and brought him down just outside the box. Last man, red card, and City faced a seemingly difficult uphill battle.
And uphill it would have been had Arsenal been sharper in the first half. As it was, numerous passes went astray, the midfield and Andrei Arshavin guilty of giving the ball away in somewhat dangerous positions, and City were able to break forward from time to time.
Arsenal, though, are still Arsenal. In the 20th minute, Samir Nasri fed Arshavin in the box and calmly niftied his way towards the net. Arshavin rolled the return pass perfectly in front of Nasri, who lashed a shot past Joe Hart at the near post for the opener.
The chances would soon come for City, though, as James Milner set Micah Richards free (after Johan Djourou managed to not do a thing about it), only to see the right back cut inside and curl a left-footed effort past the post.
The miss would hurt even more shortly, as Vincent Kompany brought Fabregas down in the corner of the City area with an unnecessary challenge. The captain stepped up to take the spot kick, but didn't get close enough to the corner with his effort. Joe Hart guessed correctly and saved comfortably. City took a good deal of momentum from the save, the crowd fully in swing, and Arsenal held on until halftime with the score still 1-0.
Upon the resumption of ceremonies, Roberto Mancini opted to bring on Wayne Bridge for Yaya Toure. A few minutes into the half, he was forced to bring in Emmanuel Adebayor for the limping Carlos Tevez. City took a little spark from the introductions, and David Silva found himself free at the side of the area, his shot across Fabianski narrowly turned wide by the Polish keeper.
City were really making a push, despite being a man down, but Arsenal were still finding room to attack. And although it seemed that they were reluctant to shoot, eventually they weren't, and that eventually occurred when Fabregas tried to play Chamakh through. He couldn't control the pass, it bounced off of Bridge's foot, and Alex Song showed up just in time to lash a first time blast into the top corner. 2-0 from an unlikely source and method, and the Gunners were firmly in control.
City's pressing appeared to have tired them out, and things were about to get worse. Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott joined the fray late on, and the Dane would figure in the scoring after running onto Samir Nasri's through ball on the left and calmly lifting a sidefooted shot past Joe Hart into the bottom corner in injury time. 3-0, the points sealed, Fabianski earned a clean sheet for the team's first since Blackpool. Some will say that having a man down told the story, but Arsenal did a decent job defending aside from the two or three lapses.
Newcastle looms mid-week.