Manchester City 2 Arsenal 0: match report

Manchester City overcame farcical conditions in the
Bird’s Nest Stadium to highlight their determination
to retain the Premier League title.
City, crowned as champions following their dramatic
final-day victory against Queens Park Rangers last
season, beat their potential title rivals despite a
second-half downpour which left standing water on
the pitch.
Goals by Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure were enough
for Roberto Mancini’s team to win the inaugural
Winoly Cup in front of a three-quarters full stadium.
City, with Israeli trialist Nir Biton playing alongside
youngster Abdul Razak in midfield, were playing their
fourth pre-season game following three friendlies
during a two-week training camp in Austria.
And that gave them the edge in the early stages
against an Arsenal team playing only their second full
game of the summer – though they had also played
two 45-minute friendlies against Southampton and
The oppressive heat and humidity, followed in the
second-half by thunderstorms, did little to help the
game as a spectacle, but City highlighted their
readiness to defend their Premier League title, though
Arsenal were backed by the vast majority of
supporters inside the stadium.
City almost opened the scoring inside 15 minutes
when full-back Aleksandar Kolarov saw his goalbound
shot deflected behind by Alex Song.
From the corner which followed, Biton – a 20 year-old
from Israeli outfit FC Ashdod – then sent a header
Arsenal, with Theo Walcott their most lively attacker,
struggled to make headway against City’s
experienced back-four and it was the champions who
went closest again, when Sergio Aguero chipped over
the crossbar from 20 yards.
Walcott was then denied by City captain Vincent
Kompany, who stooped low to head clear the England
winger’s shot on 28 minutes.
Walcott again, Carl Jenkinson and Andre Santos all
went close to scoring as Arsenal enjoyed a dominant
spell before Zabaleta scored the opener for City on 42
The Argentine full-back scored from inside the six-
yard box after being teed up by Yaya Toure.
City scored again three minutes later, when Aguero
laid off for Yaya Toure to strike.
Arsene Wenger made four changes at the interval as
the heavens opened over Beijing and the new faces
injected more purpose into Arsenal’s attacking play.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a replacement for Mikel
Arteta, almost pulled one back on 56 minutes when
his shot hit both posts before bouncing clear.
But despite their second-half improvement, Arsenal
could not find a way through and City should have
increased their lead when Carlos Tevez created a
clear chance for Aguero.
City’s title-winning goalscorer failed to repeat his
heroics from last May, however, as he shot wide from
six yards when it appeared easier to score.
Match details
Manchester City (4-3-1-2): Pantilimon; K Toure,
Kompany (Boyata 56), Savic, Kolarov; Zabaleta,
Biton, Razak (Suarez 87); Y Toure (Johnson 76);
Aguero (Lopes 90), Tevez (Evans 83). Subs: Johansen
(g), Scapuzzi, F Mancini.
Arsenal (4-4-2): Fabianski; Jenkinson (Aneke 65),
Bartley (Miquel 46), Vermaelen, Gibbs; Walcott
(Chamakh 46), Diaby (Coquelin 46), Song (Eisfeld 76),
Arteta (Oxlade-Chamberlain 46); Santos (Afobe 57),
Gervinho (Eastmond 65). Subs: Szczesny (g),
Miyaichi, Yennaris.
Referee: Howard Webb.

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