By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Micah was in fine form for Manchester City as Mark Hughes men thrashed Arsenal 4-2 at the City of Manchester stadium to record their fifth successive league win for the first time since the Premier League was formed, with the 21-year old scoring one and setting up another.
It was talking points galore leading up to kick-off as Emmanuel Adebayor came face-to-face with his former employers following his £25 million summer switch,
while another former Gunner lined up for City in the form of Kolo Toure.
The hosts were without Brazil international Robinho and Argentina ace Carlos Tevez due to injury, but it is testament to the new-found strength in depth of Hughes’ squad that even without such names, City can secure an impressive victory against one of the Premier League big-boys.
Arsenal were also without key players of their own, with Andrey Arshavin sidelined with a groin injury and England forward Theo Walcott missing out.
The tension that existed between the two clubs seemed to inflict itself on the opening minutes of the game, with petty fouls ensuring neither side got a grip early on, though Adebayor relished in the heated reaction from the Arsenal fans as he forced his way into the opponent’s penalty area only to be halted by several defenders.
The first chance of the encounter fell to Arsenal and William Gallas, with the former Chelsea man heading over, but the home faithful didn’t have long to wait for their side to seize the lead.
Bacary Sagna was pulled up for a foul on the left-side of City’s midfield and Micah connected powerfully with the subsequent free-kick, looping the ball over Manuel Almunia and into the back of the net for his first of the campaign.
The dubious goals committee will deliberate over whether the goal belonged to Micah or Almunia after the Spaniard touched the ball on to the post only for it to rebound into the back of the net off his head, but City fans and the young defender himself will be in no doubt as to whose it was.
Although Adebayor and co. have attracted praise for their dynamic attacking
displays, City’s defence have also earned their own plaudits with a number of solid displays, and they continued in a similar vein as Toure marshalled the backline superbly.
Likewise, Micah was equally aware of his defensive duties, muscling Robin Van
Persie off the ball to break down an Arsenal attack and then dispossessing Abou Diaby.
The teams went in at half-time with City leading 1-0 after an action-packed first-half, and the majority of the record 47,339 crowd were enjoying every minute.
Nicolas Bendtner was the first to look to benefit from a resurgent Gunners team after the break, though Toure was alert to the danger as he breezed in to intercept possession from his former teammate, while Gallas’ diving header thankfully found its way straight into Shay Given’s hands with 56 minutes on the clock.
The Republic of Ireland stopper was called on again within minutes as new-arrival Thomas Vermaelen struck a low effort towards goal, with Given making a fine stop, and Wayne Bridge was able to clear from danger with Van Persie looking to benefit from the rebound.
Arsenal increasingly found themselves parked in City’s box as the game
progressed, but this left them susceptible to the hosts’ rapid counter-attacks, and from one Craig Bellamy perhaps should have done better than just finding Almunia’s palms.
With the game delicately poised Arsene Wenger’s men did find a way through as Van Persie kept his footing and struck the ball across Given, the first goal City had conceded this term, levelling the score and temporarily silencing the home crowd.
Temperatures, both in the air and on the pitch, rose as a string of niggly clashes threatened to send the game over the edge, but it was City who struck red once again.
Micah burst beyond Alex Song down the right-flank before cutting the ball back to Bellamy, and the Welsh man this time made no mistake as he slotted the ball home from eight yards out to hand the boys in blue a 2-1 lead.
With City’s tails up, Adebayor jinked his way passed four Arsenal players and into their box, and though he managed to pick out an advancing Shaun Wright-Phillips, the diminutive midfielder managed to side-foot wide with the goal at his mercy.
The England man did, however, make amends two minutes later as he picked out
Adebayor with a deep cross, and the Togo international made no mistake with his bullet of a header to make 3-1, queuing wild celebrations.
Arsenal’s misery at the hands of a delicious City display didn’t end there, Bellamy turning provider as he picked out Wright-Phillips who in turn beat Almunia to make it 4-1, and with each attack Hughes’ men looked capable of inflicting more embarrassment on Wenger’s depleted side.
The north Londoners were not ready to completely lie down, however, and Thomas Rosicky pulled a goal back with a fine solo effort, while Van Persie struck the post as complacency perhaps began to creep into City’s game.
Given denied Bendtner at the death before the final whistle was blown as City celebrated another fine victory, adding credence to suggestions that they can break into the top-four this season, and the win will silence critics suggesting they would get found out against the top sides in England.
Manchester City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips,
Ireland, Barry, De Jong, Adebayor, Bellamy Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Zabaleta,
Sylvinho, Petrov, Vidal, Weiss
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Bendtner, Song Billong,
Fabregas, Denilson, Diaby, van Persie
Manchester City: Micah (20’), Bellamy (74’), Adebayor (81’), Wright-Phillips
Arsenal: Van Persie (63’), Rosicky (88’)