1-2 (Fernandes 27)
0-1 (Adebayor 9), 0-2 (Eduardo 25), 1-3 (Adebayor 88)
- Match reports
- 02 February 2008 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre Match news
There were three changes for today’s game, Micah Richards was over his knee injury and returned to central defence, Vedran Corluka shifting back to right back with Jihai Sun dropping to the bench. Elano replaced Kelvin Etuhu and Didi Hamman returned, with Darius Vassell becoming a replacement. That meant that Danny Sturridge played up front on his own with Elano tucking in behind him.
For the Gunners, Jens Lehmann returned in place of the injured Almunia in their only change from the side that despatched Newcastle on Tuesday night.
The visitors played keep-ball for much of the first six minutes, but it was Stephen Ireland that had the first opening of the day, the midfielder a tantalising few inches short of getting the chance to lob Lehmann on the edge of the area.
But three minutes later the Blues were behind. Martin Petrov gave the ball away in midfield, and in a flash Sagna was in the area and crossing to Emmanuel Adebayor. The striker poked it goalwards, and despite Joe Hart’s block the ball looped slowly over the line and into the net.
The home fans had little to cheer until 24 minutes, when Martin Petrov went on a mazy run into Arsenal’s area that ended before he could cross towards Sturridge.
And once again City paid the ultimate price for their profligacy. The Gunners broke downfield, Clichy crossed to Adebayor in the area, who nodded the ball down to Eduardo. The Croatian had his back to goal, but he took the ball down off his chest and in one movement had volleyed it past Joe Hart to double the lead, but replays showed him to be offside as the header towards him came down.
However City struck back almost straightaway. Corluka robbed Clichy on the byline, City’s Croatian finding Gelson Fernandes who swept the ball in from eight yards for his second of the season. Blues fans came to life, and the Swiss international ignored all his team mates’ offers of congratulations, urging them to get back and get level.
Joe Hart kept it at 1-2 three minutes later, diving in mid-air to his left to deny Adebayor’s header. On 38 minutes Eduardo was a hair’s breadth away from touching in Gallas’ volleyed cross-cum-shot.
The last chance of the half fell to Petrov in stoppage time, the Bulgarian pulling his left-footed shot wide from a central position after collecting a knock-down from Stephen Ireland.
The Blues started the second half better than the first, but it was Adebayor who went close on 56 minutes, bursting into the box and forcing Hart to come off his line.
Petrov was the day’s first booking just after the hour, the Bulgarian showing dissent after a tight offside decision. Adebayor was looking for a penalty a minute later, but referee Marriner was having none of it.
Vassell, on as a substitute for Sturridge, made Lehmann race off his line to block on the edge of the box on 66 minutes, Elano hooking the rebound over the bar.
Geovanni replaced Hamann with 15 minutes to go, the German still one yellow card away from a two-match ban, but thankfully available for the derby next week after avoiding a yellow card.
Fabregas collected a Corluka clearance 30 yards out and after taking his time his right-footed shot flew just past Joe Hart’s left hand post.
Frustratingly City could not make any inroads when they did have possession, and Arsenal were always a threat when they got the ball back, Adebayor just short of getting his second when just inches away from an Eduardo pass.
But his second did come with two minutes to go as the visitors sealed the game, the Togo international rolling the ball home from inside the box having started the move just inside City’s half. To add insult to injury, Elano was booked as Arsenal celebrated, the Brazilian having fouled Adebayor as the goal-scoring move started. Referee Marriner allowed play to go on, and then showed Elano the yellow that would mean he was suspended from next week’s derby having now reached five cautions for the season.
mcfc.co.uk Man of the Match: Gelson Fernandes.