1-0 Fabregas 80
- Match reports
- 25 August 2007 00:00
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Pre Match news
City made two changes to the side that started the derby, with Emile Mpenza in for his first start since Sven took over in place of the injured Valeri Bojinov, and Stephen Ireland replacing last week’s goal scorer Geovanni.
It was a hot and sunny afternoon in north London with Arsenal’s magnificent stadium and pitch looking in fine order. The arrival of the teams was heralded by Elvis Presley and ‘The Wonder of You’!
Gilberto stepped into the Arsenal side at the last second, Senderos having hurt himself in the warm up, Song taking his place on the bench.
Kasper Schmeichel thwarted Arsenal’s first real attack, coming out of his area to head the ball into touch just ahead of Adebayor. A Robin Van Persie shot from outside the area tore just over the bar on five minutes.
City were keen to hit on the break, and after 10 minutes Michael Johnson broke out of midfield to find Petrov, and the Bulgarian’s shot from near the corner of the area went a couple of yards wide.
Emile Mpenza had a good chance on 18 minutes after being put through by Ireland, but the striker badly mis-hit his shot, the ball rolling harmlessly wide of Almunia’s left post.
Elano was the next to have a chance as an encouraging spell for the Blues continued. The Brazilian was in space in front of the box, and had Ireland to his right, but the summer signing’s shot lacked power and went straight at Almunia.
Schmeichel needed treatment after 25 minutes after beating van Persie to the ball, but the Arsenal man caught City’s keeper on the forehead after he had dived to smother the ball.
But the Dutchman was just inches away from grabbing the first goal of the day after 36 minutes. Adebayor’s neat pass found Fabregas on the right, and his cross was only just in front of the Arsenal striker as he lunged for the ball in the six yard box.
Van Persie tried to turn provider with two minutes to go, squaring the ball back across the box towards Adebayor, who was a couple of yards short of connecting to the home support’s frustration.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 0-0 City
The hosts began the second half well, Adebayor looking threatening again early on but caught offside by the City defence.
City came back strongly on 56 minutes, with a great touch from Elano setting up Petrov, the Bulgarian’s shot tearing across Almunia and just wide of the left hand post.
Mpenza was suddenly in space a few minutes later and one on one with the keeper, but Almunia has closed him down enough and made a good block from the striker’s shot from a tight angle.
And then on 66 minutes Kasper Schmeichel’s great start to the season got even better. Micah Richards gave away a penalty when he fouled Hleb and van Persie stepped up, but City’s keeper guessed correctly by diving to his left and saving with his legs! The young Dane followed that up with two more saves in quick succession, the second a fine diving effort to palm away a Fabregas shot.
Still Arsenal came at the Blues, but Adebayor and van Persie both spooned good chances high and wide of Schmeichel’s net.
But after 80 minutes of brave resistance, City fell behind to the first goal they had conceded so far this season. Hleb fed Cesc Fabregas, who slammed the ball beyond Schmeichel and high into the opposite corner of the net from inside the right side of the area.
City’s keeper kept the score at 1-0 with six minutes left, beating away a fierce shot from Rosicky.
City won a corner in stoppage time, which Schmeichel went up for, and he was not far away from the ball when it came in, but Bianchi got enough on it to force Almunia to make a flying save.
Schmeichel was back at the normal end of the pitch to deny Denilson at the death, but that was the last action of what had been a brave display by both City and their young keeper.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 1-0 City
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Kasper Schmeichel - a fine penalty save and he almost got on the end of a final minute corner with his head and pull City level.