Away trips to the other members of the big four have been treated with dread by Arsenal fans. The statistics are well known, as are the dates: October 2011 is when Arsenal last won away against Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea, and that was a Chelsea side that finished 6th (admittedly winning the Champions League). Last year was perhaps rock bottom: Arsenal couldn't beat David Moyes' Manchester United, and were thrashed against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. Expectations, then, were low for Arsenal's trip to the Etihad. Arsène Wenger has spent the majority of this season insisting that this Arsenal side are a talented, well-spirited group of individuals, and perhaps it is time to believe him, as Arsenal have gone away to Manchester City and won 2-0.
From the offset, Arsenal played with discipline. Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla played ahead, but never too far from Francis Coquelin, and Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were exceptional in defending around their 18-yard box, pushing forward only when necessary. Arsenal looked threatening on the break, but poor touches from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis thwarted counter attacks. But after 23 minutes, Arsenal found some possession. Cazorla passed to Aaron Ramsey, who passed to Monreal, who looked to play a one-two with Olivier Giroud around the corner. Monreal was blocked off by Vincent Kompany in the penalty area, and Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot. Santi Cazorla, who has become Arsenal's penalty taker in the absence of Mikel Arteta, struck his penalty with enough power in the right corner, beating Joe Hart's outstretched fingers.
Manchester City were tepid in response, and only had 1 shot in the first 45 minutes; a flicked header from Sergio Agüero going well-wide of David Ospina in goal. Manuel Pellegrini brought on Stevan Jovetic for James Milner, and with Jovetic and Silva closer to Agüero, City looked far more threatening, and Arsenal were slow out of the blocks in the second half, with only some desperate defending and a little bit of luck preventing Agüero to get on the end of Navas' cross, with Koscielny's touch deflecting it away. But on 62 minutes, Arsenal won a free kick, and Santi Cazorla planted the ball onto an unmarked Giroud, whose flicked header went past Hart and into the City net for 2-0.
Arsenal could've made it three a little later: super Cazorla close-control led to the ball coming to Alexis, who got taken out by Kompany, lucky not to be sent off, then Giroud, and then eventually Aaron Ramsey, but on his left foot and under pressure, he shot well over. Tomas Rosicky came on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to give the side better possession football, and late on Flamini replaced Ramsey and Gibbs replaced Alexis, though Flamini decided it upon himself to play an attacking midfield role. We're not sure why. You could expect Arsenal to lose concentration, and concede one, and maybe even a second, but they didn't. They held firm, and came away with three well-earned points. It was one of the best performances in a long time: Ramsey, Cazorla and Francis Coquelin were excellent in midfield; Monreal and Bellerin well deserving of starting places, with the only disappointing performances coming from Alexis and Oxlade-Chamberlain. It's no matter though: Arsenal have banished the away record demons, and can look forward to moving up the table.