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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Man City 0-1 Arsenal

Ashley Cole celebrates scoring Arsenal's winner
Ashley Cole's clever first-half goal was enough to give Arsenal victory over a spirited City side.

Cole picked up a loose ball in the area and beat David James with a deft flick with the outside of his boot.

James, who denied Freddie Ljungberg in the opening 30 seconds, also made two smart stops from Thierry Henry before Cole hit the post in the second-half.

But City had their share of chances - the best a rasping Nicolas Anelka free-kick that flew narrowly wide.

Arsenal, who have not lost to City since the formation of the Premiership in 1992, created their first opening in the opening minute.

Ljungberg broke clear down the left but James flew off his line to make a smart block.

But City were also lively and after some good work from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jon Macken tested Jens Lehmann with a low shot.

Soon after Anelka let fly from just outside the area with a first-time shot that flew just wide of the post.

But out of nothing, Arsenal took the lead on 14 minutes.

Jose Antonio Reyes' ball into the box was cut out by Richard Dunne but the ball fell for Cole who beat James with a composed finish.

City did not let their heads drop - but for all their industry, the Gunners still looked the more dangerous side.

James twice denied Henry before half-time - turning a low shot round the post on the half-hour mark, then reacting well to parry the striker's snap shot from a narrow angle.

After the break Arsenal seemed happy to try and contain City, while maintaining their own threat on the break.

The Gunners should have extended their lead when only a combination of James and Jihai kept out Ljungberg after Henry's strong run down the left.

But at the other end Anelka began to come into the game - and was involved in most of City's best work.

He just failed to steer Macken's enticing low cross past Lehmann, then fired in two powerful free-kicks - one of which flew just wide with the keeper beaten.

City were enjoying their best spell of the game, but Arsenal were still able to show their class - especially with the space they were finding in the City area.

Cole came closest to making it 2-0 when he wriggled free on the left and smashed a rasping shot outside of James' post.

And City's efforts became increasingly desperate in the closing stages, with a long-range effort from substitute Steve McManaman the best they could muster.


Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jihai, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt (McManaman 76), Sibierski, Anelka, Macken (Flood 76).
Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Jordan, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Booked: Bosvelt.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg (Fabregas 88), Vieira, Edu, Reyes (Clichy 63), Bergkamp (Van Persie 88), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Cygan, Almunia.

Goals: Cole 14.

Att: 47,015.

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).




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