ARSENAL 1 CITY 0
25th August 2007
Arsenal Almunia, Sagna, Gilberto, Clichy, Toure, Flamini, Fabregas, Rosicky, Hleb, Van Persie, Adebayor – subs Eduardo(75), Denilson(18), Song(87) Fabianski(unused), Bendtner(unused)
City Schmeichel, Corluka, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Petrov, Hamann, Ireland (Ball 87), Johnson, Elano (Geovanni 74), Mpenza – subs- Bianchi(74), Ball(87), Geovanni(74), Hart(unused), Onuoha(unused)
With the news that Valeri Bojinov was out injured for up to 6 months, Emile Mpenza was chosen ahead of Rolando Bianchi to lead the City attack and Geovanni was unlucky to see himself back on the bench with the return of Stephen Ireland from illness.
Kasper Schmeichel thwarted Arsenal’s first real attack, coming out of his area to head the ball into touch just ahead of Adebayor. A Robin Van Persie shot from outside the area tore just over the bar on five minutes.
City were playing on the break to hit on the break, and Emile Mpenza had a good chance on 18 minutes after being put through by Ireland, but his shot went well wide, Elano then got a shot on target but without the power to test Almunia
Schmeichel needed treatment after 25 minutes after beating van Persie to the ball, but the Arsenal man caught City’s keeper on the forehead after he had dived to smother the ball, replays showed that perhaps the Dutchman could have easily pulled out of the challenge.
As we reached half time City deserved to be on a par with Arsenal having not been really troubled by the Arsenal attack. And the Blues looked the better side early in the second half as Petrov’s shot beat Almunia but also the left hand post in the 56th minute.
Just a few minutes later Ireland released Mpenza who with a one on one with the keeper, hit the ball into Almunia’s body when a delicate chip would havegiven City a certain lead.
City were then put under the cosh by the gunners and under tremendous pressure Micah Richards mis-timed a tackle bringing down Hleb in the box, van Persie stepped up to take the spot kick, but Schmeichel pulled off a tremendous save with his legs! The young Dane followed that up with two more saves in quick succession, the second a fine diving effort to palm away a Fabregas shot.
With the pressure ever mounting Arsenal finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute as Fabregas slammed the Ball past both Richards and Schmeichel into the roof of the net from just 10 yards.
At the death Schmeichel went up for a City corner getting in a header which Almunia saved.
And so City’s 100% start to the season had come to an end but with 9 points from 12 they should be well pleased with their performaces.