An old enemy gives Man Utd the gift they crave. Yes, Arsenal untitled for the last seven years bequeaths Utd, their almost certain 13th Premiership accolade. Isaac Newton predicted this many centuries ago. It's also called the law of gravity in minor circles.
The focus was squarely on whether City would revive its fading hopes for a first Premiership but Arsenal had plenty riding on a positive result themselves. A 15th year of Champions League football with Spurs, Chelsea, and Newcastle pressing hard.
Lets say this. Mario Balotelli should not play. Period. It's not enough to say he's a talented maverick. Because that talent seems to have mutated into a virus that feasts on unmitigated lunacy and bizarre behaviour. Why always me? it's obvious to everyone except Balotelli.
That dangerous studs up foul on Song could have snapped his shin in half. How Balotelli was not sent off in the 17th minute is a mystery. The FA if they do their homework should hand out a retroactive red. It did not matter from a performance standpoint because he did very little of consequence and his battle with Sagna came to an ignominious end when he fouled the Arsenal right back for his second booking and sent off in the dying minutes of the second half. This maybe a six match ban which means that he's free to go back to Italy and disrupt more press conferences.
Arsenal were the superior side with lady luck deserting them at key moments. Vermaelen interjecting himself in the middle of RVP's goalbound header, RVP's header hitting the upright after Song found him one on one with Joe Hart, Walcott's angled drive finding the far post with Vermaelen muffing the follow up and Benayoun whiffing on the rebound.
Just when it looked like the Gunners would have to settle for a frustrating draw came Arteta's big moment, dispossessing Claudio Pizzarro, and then driving the ball from distance, the ball bending enough, to beat Hart low on his left. A stunning strike and it begs the question why Arsenal does not engage in it more.
It came after minutes of sustained Arsenal pressure through the flanks as Sagna, Arteta, Song, and Rosicky took advantage of a tiring City side. The win did not come without consequence as Laurent Koscielny earned a yellow, his 10th of the season and will miss the next two matches.
Aaron Ramsey's most notable contribution was his horrible finish as he screwed his shot a million miles wide missing a golden chance to heap more misfortune on City. A few more things. Walcott had a game where some not so distant traits re-emerged. Song forced his passes too often with the lofted pass finding RVP as one of his few successes, Benayoun was clever but one wishes he had a few more pounds on his frame. Rosicky always looked to push forward but at times his feet were quicker than his eye.
All this pales in comparison to the high priced duds on display in a City side. Samir Nasri was a colossal failure booed everytime he got the ball, Yaya Toure did not last. Sergio Aguero was invisible. Silva was not even on the bench. Vincent Kompany was the only impressive presence. Where was the City side that put six goals through at Old Trafford? Are we talking about the same century? The camera cut away after Arteta's goal and there in the stands was a group of grim faced City honchos with Khaldoon Mubarak, the CEO looking extremely pinched. Roberto Mancini might not last another match.