LONDON: Arsenal responded perfectly to criticism of their fragility on the road by inflicting a second home defeat of the season on Manchester City by 2-0. The ‘other’ winners, however, were Chelsea whose five-point lead was secured by City’s defeat.
City put six past Arsenal in the same fixture last season but Arsene Wenger’s side look a different proposition this time around. David Ospina in goal did not have a serious save to make in the first half while Per Mertesacker was far more solid than in other recent away games.
Mesut Ozil was held back on the Arsenal substitutes’ bench with Wenger relying on a hard-working holding trio of Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. The strategy brought an early reward after 22 minutes with a Santi Cazorla penalty after a clumsy challenge by City skipper Vincent Kompany on Nacho Monreal.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini exchanged midfielder James Milner for attacker Stefan Jovetic at the start of the second half and raised the pace. Instead, Arsenal scored again with a Cazorla free kick converted by Olivier Giroud.
Earlier West Ham’s first win in five games, by 3:0 over Hull, revived their European qualifying dreams. This was a first sheet since before Christmas for goalkeeper Adrian, hero of the midweek penalties win over Everton in the FA Cup. Hull manager Steve Bruce is under renewed pressure after two wins in 15 games.