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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
Arsenal see off Man City
Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka is shepherded by Arsenal's Sol Campbell
Anelka almost earned a point for City
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City

Nicolas Anelka scored against his former club Arsenal, but he and his Manchester City team-mates could not stop the Premiership champions from claiming victory.

Sylvain Wiltord's opener for the Gunners was cancelled out by Anelka as a two-goal burst in three minutes sparked the game into life.

  Key incidents
26 mins: Wiltord slots Arsenal into the lead
29: City's Anelka equalises against his former club
42: Henry side-foots Arsenal back in front
85: Benarbia is sent-off for City

But from there on it was an irrepressible Arsenal who took control and regained the lead against a stretched City through a Thierry Henry goal.

City were always in the game with a one-goal deficit - which Anelka almost erased - but they failed to build up any head of steam to pressure the home side.

The visitors' cause was not helped when captain Ali Benarbia was sent-off for a second bookable offence.


It was a good game technically
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

The teams had sized each other up for the early part of the game when a Benarbia cross hit the Arsenal crossbar with keeper David Seaman misjudging the flight of the ball.

City stopper Peter Schmeichel was equal to a Wiltord volley but he could not keep out an effort from the Frenchman after 25 minutes.

The ever-alert Dennis Bergkamp found Wiltord, who closed in on the City goal before slotting home his fifth of the season.

Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka
Anelka scored to temporarily silence the Arsenal fans

The effort was the 44th consecutive match in which Arsenal had scored and equalled a top-flight record set by City in 1937.

City were away from home but retained their attacking instincts and equalised three minutes later through ex-Highbury hero Anelka.

Anelka was booed with each touch of the ball but he temporarily silenced the home crowd when he rose at the far post to head in Benarbia's cross.

Arsenal took control for the remainder of the first half as Wiltord, named August player-of-the-month, flashed a header wide when he should have done better.

Henry also went close but was denied by an excellent low save from Schmeichel before the Gunners regained the lead.


I thought Anelka did terrific, he took his goal very well - but he's ploughing a lonely furrow up front at the moment
Man City boss Kevin Keegan

City's defending again let them down when they were dragged out of position, leaving Henry free to slide in Ashley Cole's pass from close range.

Arsenal could not get the third to give them a comfortable advantage and City almost made them pay after 68 minutes.

Anelka's trickery helped him beat two defenders, but his shot was parried away by Seaman.

The game petered out and City had Benarbia dismissed for a second yellow card to round off a disappointing evening for Kevin Keegan's men.

The three points moved Arsenal to the top of the Premiership - at least until Wednesday.


Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Campbell, Keown, Cole, Wiltord, Vieira, Edu (Toure 73), Silva, Bergkamp, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Jeffers, Taylor, Cygan, Kanu.

Booked: Vieira.

Man City: Schmeichel, Distin, Jihai, Howey (Horlock 79), Wright-Phillips, Foe, Berkovic, Benarbia, Jensen, Huckerby (Goater 59), Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Tiatto, Nash, Dunne.

Sent Off: Benarbia (85).
Booked: Benarbia, Distin.

Attendance: 37,878.

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucestershire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"A wonderful Premiership game"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"It was a difficult game"
Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan
"We will play worse than that and still get points"
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