Arsenal 0 Manchester City 1

Arsenal’s Carling Cup campaign came to a sudden halt at the Emirates as over £70 million pounds of Manchester City talent put pay to the Gunners hopes of avenging last season’s Wembley defeat. Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero combined for the only goal of the game, with Adam Johnson’s telling pass to the Argentine splitting open a Gunners’ defence. It was heartbreak for Arsene Wenger’s young side, City netted with their only attempt on target, but the way in which Arsenal took the game to their expensively assembled opponents was a joy to see and bodes very well for a rosy Arsenal future.

Changes

So Arsenal’s 20 year record of never having lost a home Carling Cup fixture has gone, but the Gunners can be proud of having competed effectively in this game. Wenger made wholesale changes from the team that drew with Fulham, Ju Young Park, Emmanuel Frimpong along with Francis Coquelin and Ignasi Miquel were in the starting eleven.The first real chance fell to Park on 12 minutes, but City ‘keeper Costel Pantilimon manage to keep out his goal bound effort.

Hot

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was enjoying the run of the expansive Emirates pitch, and every touch was greeted with an expected roar. His shot from 25 yards was again heading in, and was too hot for Pantilimon who could only palm the ball for a corner. With only half an hour on the clock, Aleksandar Kolarov was replaced by Aguero, and that was to prove to be the difference. Up until the late goal, Laurent Koscielny, and Sebastien Squillaci held firm and Johan Djourou continues to grow into the right back role.

Not recovered

Arsenal dominated possession, but the problem was up front with the lacklustre form of Marouane Chamakh another concern that Wenger will need to address. The Morocco forward has not recovered since going off the boil having netted ten Premiership goals before last Christmas,That and the evident combination of a lack of confidence will be a huge concern for Wenger who has limited striker options.

Booed

Unlike Samir Nasri who was continually booed, Kolo Toure was given an easy ride by the Emirates crowd, and his steady defensive work was thwarting the Gunners going forward. Oxlade-Chamberlain was again given licence to roam, and as he dazzled past Pablo Zabaleto, once again his shot was too hot for Pantilimon who parried the ball away.

Devastating

With ten minutes remaining, Thomas Vermaelen was introduced in place of Miquel. Bizarrely Lukasz Fabainski’s goal had still not bee threatened by City. Seven minutes before time, that all changed to devastating effect. Arsenal had a corner, but Dzeko took possession and raced away on the left. He fed Johnson and with Djourou unable to track back with Aguero, the City number 16 took Johnson’s pass to find the target.

Frustration

Substitute Gervinho tried to respond, and his cross deep into injury time was perfect, but Chamakh and Squillaci were unable to get any contact, to the visual frustration of the watching Robin Van Persie and Wenger. After the final whistle, Wenger denied there had been a tunnel altercation between Frimpong and Nasri other than an exchange of words. An exchange of strikers is what will occupy Wenger come January. Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka anyone ?