Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud struck in the first half as Arsenal pulled off a classy 2-1 win over Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Monday.
- Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1
- Walcott stunner opens the scoring
- Giroud adds a second
- Yaya Toure pulls one back for City
After a cagey opening half hour the game burst into life just before Theo Walcott's opener. Kevin De Bruyne had just missed an opportunity down the other end when the pacey winger conjured up a gorgeous strike into the top corner.
Olivier Giroud then added a second just before halftime with a neat finish despite Nicolas Otamendi's sliding challenge, the French striker's sixth goal in his last four games in all competitions, but City will have been kicking themselves during the break as they were strong throughout the first half.
Arsenal had looked comfortable for most of the second half, which they dominated in most respects, but Yaya Toure set them up for an anxious final 10 minutes with a composed strike into the top corner in the 82nd minute.
Both teams played plenty of good football in the opening 15 minutes without creating any clear-cut opportunities. Theo Walcott intercepted a through-ball from Mesut Ozil that was intended for an offside Olivier Giroud, while at the other end Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were asking questions that the Arsenal defence were able to answer.
Neither keeper was particularly busy in the opening half, but City probably should have taken the lead just past the half-hour mark when Sergio Aguero, lurking around the halfway line, took an excellent single touch to flick the ball on and into the path of Kevin De Bruyne, allowing the Belgian to sprint forward into acres of space. He had David Silva on his left, but went for goal himself and dragged his shot wide of the far post.
A minute later and Arsenal had the ball in the back of the net. Ozil found Walcott inside the box, and the English winger, with his back to goal, took a few touches to go just outside the box and set himself up to curl it past the diving Joe Hart.
The one minute of added time at the end of the first half was just about over when Arsenal struck again. City lost the ball in midfield, and Ozil gained possession in space allowing him to feed Olivier Giroud down the left side of the box. The French striker did the rest with a venomous finish to send the Gunners in at the break two goals to the good.
The second half started with an attacking substitution from Manuel Pellegrini, who sent on Raheem Sterling to replace Fabian Delph. The former Aston Villa star played rather well in the first half, but with the Citizens trailing their Chilean boss opted for Sterling's pace.
City put the Arsenal defence under siege in the opening minutes of the second half, with plenty of possession around the host's box, but it was the Gunners who had the first opportunity of the second period when a low cross into the box presented Campbell with a first-time chance that he ballooned over the bar.
The Costa Rican had another chance on 55 minutes when Laurent Koscielny lifted a long ball over the top towards the Costa Rican, but he could only get a toe-poke on it that Hart was able to clear. A minute later another dangerous cross needed the attention of Otamendi to go behind for a corner.
Arsenal had another chance just before the hour mark when Ozil found Campbell, who slid Aaron Ramsey in. The Welshman soon had Joe Hart right in front of him and couldn't quite lift his effort over the keeper.
Jesus Navas, a recent substitute for David Silva, could have pulled one back for City after 78 minutes when he was released down the right flank. He had defenders blocking his route to goal and the possible shot was difficult from an angle, so the man who hasn't scored since the 2013/14 season decided to look for fellow substitute Wilfried Bony, allowing the Arsenal defence to intercept.
Yaya Toure then scored a few minutes later with the most nonchalant of long-range strikes. A one-two with Bacary Sagna set him up for a side-foot shot from just on the edge of the box that swung perfectly into the top left corner.
Toure was involved again when another one-two, this time with De Bruyne, saw him charging into the box and having a crack at an equaliser, as City rallied late on looking to salvage a point. But the Gunners held the nerve to claim all three points and consolidate second place in the Premier League standings.