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Mike Sewell reports from Highbury
 real 14k

"It was a hard game for us."
 real 14k

Joe Royle
"I'm very angry."
 real 56k

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"The yellow card was justified"
 real 56k

Saturday, 28 October, 2000, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Arsenal style stuns Royle

Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg challenges City keeper Nicky Weaver
Arsenal 5-0 Man City

Arsenal flashed a message to Manchester United that they will pursue them every inch of the Premiership season with a hugely impressive humiliation of Manchester City.

City boss Joe Royle may point to the crucial dismissal of defender Danny Tiatto for a foul on Thierry Henry just before half time - which was punished by Ashley Cole's opener from the free kick.

But City were woefully out of their depth as Arsenal turned on the style in the second half, with Highbury revelling in a performance that oozed class from every position.

Arsenal crowned the victory with four second half strikes - including two magnificent late goals from Henry to put the gloss on an exhibition performance.

Cole demonstrated why he is regarded as a vital part of Arsenal's future with his performance, while Bergkamp showed why he is so keen to stay at Highbury and sign an extended contract.

Arsenal, with Bergkamp and Tony Adams restored to the starting line-up and in buoyant mood after progressing in the Champions League, opened in predictably confident mood.

The referee's decisions changed the game. When it was 11 men against 11 for 43 minutes we were doing well, but when it became ten against 12, we had no chance.
  Joe Royle, Man City manager
Arsene Wenger's French connection was to the fore, with Patrick Vieira bossing midfield in tandem with Robert Pires. and Henry a constant threat.

Henry should have scored in the early stages when he was set up by Ray Parlour, but he clipped a close range finish wide.

Henry turned provider after 13 minutes when he created an opening for Pires, but his volley was well saved by City keeper Nicky Weaver.

It was one-way traffic in the opening exchanges, and after Pires had headed wide, Henry once again squandered an opportunity to put Arsenal ahead.

France's Euro 2000 striker dribbled his way into the penalty area, losing several City defenders in the process, but saw his shot blocked by Weaver's outstretched leg.

Arsenal suffered a blow after 20 minutes, when Pires limped off to be replaced by Freddie Ljungberg.

City were not backing down from the battle after their bright start to the season, with both Shaun Goater and Tiatto picking up yellow cards.

Henry wins posession
Tiatto's day was done three minutes before half time, when he was rightly shown the red card for hauling down Henry when his pace proved too much for the City defender.

And to add insult to injury for City and boss Royle, Arsenal doubled the punishment by scoring from the free-kick.

Bergkamp touched the ball to Cole, and the young defender - who scored at Bradford City earlier this season - drilled a 20-yard finish into the corner past Weaver.

City had been virtually non-existent as an attacking force, but the goal sparked a response and veteran John Lukic, in for the injured David Seaman, had to plunge to his left to push away Goater's effort.


Boss Royle's hopes of a revival were ended at the start of the second half, when Arsenal doubled their advantage courtesy of a sweet Bergkamp strike.

Much of the credit went to substitute Ljungberg, who cut inside the City defence before changing the point of attack with a backheel to Bergkamp, who swept a precision right foot finish beyond Weaver.

When they lost a player and then we scored, it was the turning point - that and John Lukic's save from Goater soon afterwards
  Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager
Arsenal threatened to run riot as City reeled, and Weaver made a magnificent save from a long-range effort from Vieira.

The inevitable third arrived after 75 minutes, this time from substitute Wiltord, who slipped home from Henry's pass.

And Henry got the goal his display deserved with the fourth eight minutes from time - with Wiltord repaying the compliment.

He found his France team-mate in the penalty area, and Henry swivelled brilliantly to beat Weaver in the top corner.

And he was at it again to make it five two minutes from time, by rounding off another move of classic simplicity involving Wiltord with a tap in from close range.

It was only Weaver who stood between Arsenal and an avalanche of goals, as City were made painfully aware of the gulf in class between the sides.

Arsenal: Lukic, Luzhny, Keown, Adams, Grimandi, Vieira, Parlour, Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Cole. Subs: Dixon, Ljungberg, Wiltord, Kanu, Taylor.

Man City: Weaver, Wiekens, Prior, Tiatto, Howey, Haaland, Ritchie, Whitley, Dickov, Goater, Charvet. Subs: Horlock, Bishop, Wright, Dunne, Kennedy.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville)

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