Arsenal couldn't overcome a man deficit for most of the match today, after Laurent Koscielny was sent off early for a last-man tackle in the penalty area, and Manchester City's two goals held up against a spirited Arsenal second half.
Arsenal would have to start without Olivier Giroud, who reportedly had passed his fitness test but did not start. Abou Diaby, however, did start, as Mikel Arteta was injured.
The first seven minutes saw both teams feeling each other out. City had a couple of corners, including one on eight minutes that caused a little trouble.
Then all hell broke loose. City kept the ball coming into Arsenal's area, and as Eden Dzeko chased one, Laurent Koscielny basically wrapped him up. There are questions about whether Dzeko would have gotten to the ball before Szczesny came to punch it away, but referee Mike Dean did not hesitate, awarding a red card to Koscielny and a penalty to city on ten minutes.
Not a great start.
Dzeko stepped up to take the penalty. He did, but Wojciech Szczesny got a hand to it, tipped it onto the post, and the ball rolled back down the line and into his arms.
Saved. But down to ten. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had to make way for Per Mertesacker, and Santi Cazorla would shift out to the right. The next five minutes, though, were all City, as you'd imagine. Arsenal did, however, win a corner on 17 minutes, which resulted in Walcott blasting over.
City won a free kick on 21 minutes, though, and problems arose. Arsenal were asleep, still sort of arguing the call, and from the kick, David Silva put James Milner in on the right, and Milner's finish at the far post from a tight angle was really, really, really good.
0 - 1, City, Arsenal asleep.
It was basically all City, as you'd expect. Lukas Podolski did win a free kick on 28 minutes (for which Mike Dean showed no card), but Theo Walcott's kick was terrible.
City would find another on a counterattack three minutes later from some good work from Pablo Zabaleta. His cross was met by Tevez, whose shot was saved by Szczesny, but only into the path of Dzeko, who pipped it home, apparently not from an offside position.
0 - 2, 31 minutes.
Podolski had a good effort on 34 minutes, but Joe Hart saved easily. Still, Arsenal were attacking a bit, and won a free kick on 39 minutes. Jack Wilshere put it in, Bacary Sagna ended up on the floor, and City cleared. Abou Diaby had a shot on 42 minutes that was well off target. City won a corner on 43 minutes, and Javi Garcia's header was goal bound, but Wilshere on the post was able to head it away. Vermaelen earned a yellow card on 46 minutes.
Halftime arrived to a chorus of boos.
Arsenal would open the second half a little better, but Dzeko had a good opportunity with a header on 49 minutes. But Arsenal were pressing and attacking, even if it looked like they weren't going to ever get there. Milner earned a yellow on 55 minutes for a tackle on Wilshere.
58 minutes on, Olivier Giroud came on for Lukas Podolski. Strange to take off Podolski at that point, but Giroud and Walcott looked to be the pairing up front as Arsenal looked to go for it. 62 minutes on, Aaron Ramsey came on for Diaby, the last roll of the dice.
Wilshere earned a yellow. Tevez was clean through on 70 minutes, but Bacary Sagna got back just enough to disrupt him and Szczesny was able to poke it away. Arsenal had a free kick on 72 minutes, but Giroud put his header over the bar, agonizingly.
It was probably Arsenal's best chance in the game so far.
Then things got weird. 75 minutes in, as Wilshere ran at him, Vincent Kompany launched what could only be described as a pretty good tackle, but maybe two-footed. That ambiguity and contradiction sums it up, but Mike Dean don't care, and he sent off Kompany without hesitation.
It would be ten vs. ten for the last 15.
Tevez gave way for Joleon Lescott.
Arsenal were pushing and pressing. 80 minutes came and went. 83 minutes came and went. 86 minutes. Yellow card for Gareth Barry. Mario Balotell came on for Dzeko.
90 minutes in, Ramsey played Walcott in, but his shot was cleared off the line by Lescott. Giroud had a weak effort saved on 92 minutes. Silva came off for Aleksandar Kolarov.
It wasn't meant to happen. The second half, a man down for much of it, was much better, but the final product just wasn't there. Mike Dean ended the contest, and City walked away winners.