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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Man City 3-0 Arsenal

By Ian Hughes

Stephen Ireland (centre)
Ireland (centre) got City's opening goal with a fine finish

Arsenal's turbulent week ended in more misery as Manchester City sent them to their fifth league defeat this season.

The Gunners appeared to be in freefall after skipper William Gallas was dropped for his midweek outburst.

Stephen Ireland clipped in City's first after Gael Clichy sliced a clearance, and Robinho doubled the lead when he superbly chipped Manuel Almunia.

Robinho had a shot cleared off the line before Daniel Sturridge scored with a penalty after he had been fouled.

Arsenal's build-up to the match was blighted by Gallas' public claims that the team lacks spirit and togetherness, while City had won only once in five league games.

Gallas paid a heavy price for his comments, but his absence at the heart of the defence also cost the Gunners as they imploded for City's opener.

Wenger vows to turn Arsenal around

When Ireland burst into the box he lost control of the ball but Clichy skewed his clearance back into the midfielder's path and he finished with style.

Until that point, neither defence had really been troubled as careless passes dominated the play.

Arsenal, also accused by Gallas of lacking bravery, sometimes looked rattled by City's physical challenges.

And without Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Emanuel Adebayor they also looked lightweight coming forward.

However, City created little themselves before an unexpected spell of pressure at the end of the opening 45 minutes saw them rewarded.

It was a different story for the hosts after the break, though, as they countered with pace and precision, particularly through Robinho.


The forward might have had a hat-trick on another day, but had to make do with one goal.

It came when he was put through by Shaun Wright-Phillips and he sprinted clear before lofting an exquisite chip over Alumina without even breaking stride.

Later, Robinho thought he had scored with a back heeled flick but the goal was disallowed for offside.

And after that he perhaps should have scored when he rounded Almunia but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Johan Djourou.

Robinho was substituted shortly after having injured himself as he tried to score, but Arsenal were to suffer no change of fortune following the removal of their chief tormentor.

Hughes surprised by 'ungracious' Wenger

They might have pulled a goal back but Nicklas Bendtner shot straight at keeper Joe Hart.

And Robin van Persie had a goal disallowed for unsporting behaviour - the Dutchman nicked the ball off Hart as the keeper tried to take a goal-kick.

Instead it was City who got the next goal.

Sturridge earned himself a spot-kick after he was fouled by Djourou and the substitute confidently dispatched the penalty to round off a fine win for City.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes:
"I think it is only the second time in the Premier League we have been able to beat Arsenal, so it is a significant victory for us.

"We were good value for the win as well. We had a game plan and wanted to break up the rhythm of their play.

"We did not want them to dictate the game. The players stuck to their task and caused them problems."

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Vassell (Elano 73), Robinho (Hamann 82), Mwaruwari (Sturridge 88).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Evans, Ben-Haim.

Goals: Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge 90 pen.

Arsenal: Almunia, Hoyte (Ramsey 60), Djourou, Silvestre, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song Billong, Diaby (Vela 69), Van Persie, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, Simpson.

Booked: Song Billong.

Att: 44,878

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match on 90 minutes: Man City's Stephen Ireland - 8.37 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Wenger plays down Gallas absence
22 Nov 08 |  Arsenal
Premier League as it happened
22 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
22 Nov 08 |  Football
Player Rater
19 Dec 06 |  Live Text

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