Man City 3 – Arsenal 0

Man City 3 - Arsenal 0

If newspaper reports are to be believed, City are lining up just about every manager in Europe including Jose Mourinho to replace their current boss, but Hughes managed to do something Mourinho never could on Wednesday: Get Shaun Wright-Philips sparkling.
The England winger scored a rapier-like clincher to cap an outstanding individual display, earning him a standing ovation as City built on Carlos Tevez’s magical opener to advance to the Carling Cup semi-finals, with Vladimir Weiss’ late strike the cherry on the cake.
Defeat caps a miserable 10 days for Arsenal, who have now lost three games on the bounce, raising yet more question marks over the success of Arsene Wenger’s youth policy, which still hasn’t delivered a trophy since 2005.
The name of Emmanuel Adebayor was the significant one in a full strength City line-up ahead of kick-off, a starting XI that boasted over £150 million worth of talent.
By contrast Wenger stuck to his guns, or his young guns more accurately, calling on four of the rookies that played in the victory over Liverpool to play alongside fresh additions Armand Traore, Carlos Vela and Jack Wilshere.
They put up a good fight too, matching City all the way in a ‘you attack, we’ll attack’ first half.
All eyes were on that man Adebayor from the opening whistle, a chorus of boos greeting every touch after his mass assault on about half the Arsenal side during September’s league game.
The Togolese has scored just once since the suspension that resulted from that match, but he should have doubled that tally with the game’s first meaningful effort, rising high above Alex Song at a corner but aiming his header directly at Lukasz Fabianski.
Moments later Adebayor would fall over the ball in the middle of the pitch. Cue ironic jeers.
Arsenal’s youngsters are so balanced that they wouldn’t slip on a banana skin, yet there was a clear power advantage to City, which should have resulted in a goal for Craig Bellamy. Wright-Phillips was the unlikely figure to outmuscle Mikael Silvestre, but when the England man cut the ball back to the penalty spot Bellamy failed to hit the target.
Moments earlier the Welshman had seen a penalty shout turned down after he nudged the ball past Song and ran into the Cameroonian. Bellamy screamed ‘penalty’, but Chris Foy was not to be fooled.
For all of Arsenal’s pretty football, they were looking too lightweight up front, Carlos Vela leaving a hole in the middle every time he ran the channels. The one time he did burst down the middle the situation required a first time shot, but Vela clipped wide of a stranded Shay Given.
No time to breathe, City were straight back up the other end, Tevez sending Silvestre on his haunches before keeping Fabianski honest at his near post.
Time for Adebayor to get involved, and not for the right reasons again, jumping in two-footed towards Silvestre who did him a favour by making little fuss of the situation.
The game needed a goal, and just five minutes after half time it got an absolute beauty.
Tevez was the man to deliver it, capitalising on Rosicky’s blasé use of possession to cut back inside Emmanuel Eboue and Song to arc a cracker in off the far post and crossbar.
Now Wenger’s Gunners needed to come out of their shells and Aaron Ramsey showed an instant intention to get forward, bursting behind the City back four only to slash wildly over with his left foot.
Greater ambition meant greater gaps in The Gunners’ back four though, and they had Fabianski to thank for a Peter Schmeichel-like leap in front of Adebayor, who looked destined to score from five yards out following Bellamy’s cross.
The Arsenal keeper could do nothing moments later though as Wright-Phillips finally killed Wenger’s kids off, dropping a shoulder to unleash an absolute arrow into the far top corner.
Wright-Phillips was withdrawn, Weiss came on and the magic rubbed off as the youngster smashed his first goal of the season in off the underside of the bar, although by that time City fans were already dreaming of a possible Cup final against their nearest neighbours.

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