Disciplined Arsenal secure stunning victory at Manchester City
17:55 18 January 2015
Goals from Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud stunned the champions as Arsenal became the first away side since August to snatch three points at the Etihad Stadium with an impressive 2-0 victory.
The Gunners put in one of their most organised, disciplined performances of the season, snuffing out the Manchester side’s goal threat to overcome them on their home patch for the first time.
Cazorla netted the opener from the penalty spot on 24 minutes, following Vincent Kompany’s foul on Nacho Monreal, and then delivered the free-kick for Giroud to head home midway through the second half.
Arsenal looked solid from the start, settling deep and containing the home side to such an extent that they were unable to muster any kind of threat to David Ospina’s goal.
The Gunners were content to try and hit City on the break and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost created an opening for Giroud when he galloped away from Martin Demichelis, but Kompany did enough to force the ball behind.
However, the City skipper was caught out by Monreal’s quick exchange of passes with Giroud and his trip on the Arsenal left-back immediately prompted referee Mike Dean to point to the spot.
Joe Hart dived the right way, but he was unable to keep out Cazorla’s perfectly-placed penalty – and Arsenal successfully protected their lead for the remainder of the first half.
City failed to manufacture even a glimpse of an equaliser – but it was a different story after the break as they sent on a second striker, Stevan Jovetic, and applied the pressure.
Ospina was called into action just 90 seconds after the restart, diving to tip Sergio Aguero’s effort behind and then beating out an angled drive from Jesus Navas soon afterwards.
Arsenal continued to rely on the counter-attack and they might have scored again when Alexis Sanchez, Cazorla and Giroud combined to set up Aaron Ramsey, who speared over from the edge of the box.
But the Gunners did double their advantage on 66 minutes when Sanchez won a free-kick and Cazorla clipped the ball in for the unmarked Giroud to steer his header into the net.
It could have been worse for the home side as Hart dived to keep out Sanchez’s drive soon afterwards but, at the other end, Ospina had to be alert to foil Navas again.
City substitute Edin Dzeko also went close late on, but the visitors ended the game looking comfortable as they secured the victory that lifts them back to fifth place in the Premier League.
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain (Rosicky 66), Ramsey (Flamini 83), Cazorla, Sanchez (Gibbs 83); Giroud