Manchester City players celebrate after scoring against Arsenal in the English Premier League, December 14. Reuters
Manchester City at home are kind of like the Rat Pack in Vegas -- cool, slick, entertaining, and from just another level, which even the best teams in the Premier League struggle to touch.
It was the yellow ball saying "I want to hit the back of the net with great regularity" yet again at the Etihad as City turned on that unending attacking verve to pull off a 6-3 victory over Arsenal.
Goals from Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, Fernandinho, two of them, David Silva and Yaya Toure pulled City to within three points of leaders Arsenal, who got their goals through the I'm-finally-back-in-the-starting-lineup Theo Walcott, a brace, and Per Mertesacker.
The likes of Liverpool and Chelsea can now pull to within two points of Arsenal with a victory of their own, but it will be City that everyone will be looking at, the home side just plain and simple scary at home.
Arsene Wenger made a couple of interesting changes, giving starts to Walcott and Jack Wilshere, who had a game to forget, at the expense of Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla, while it was let's-go-with-what's-working-quite-well starting XI for City.
The first half was on expected lines really - City the unstoppable attacking force of an object just relentless with their forays forward, while Arsenal took their time to grow into the game, with chances as well as possession in the final third few and far between.
Right from the off, the home side put the Arsenal defence under siege, pinging balls one after the other, exchanging passes at will, with the deadly strike duo of Alvaro Negredo and the incomparable Sergio Aguero a constant threat.
Arsenal were struggling to get out of their own half in the first 15 minutes or so, with Pablo Zabaleta in particular enjoying plenty of space down the right - a good cross here or a touch there and City would have gone into the lead well before the ten-minute mark had been hit.
As it turned out, it took them 13 minutes, and off a corner from Arsenal fans' arch-nemesis Samir Nasri. Martin Demichelis got a head onto the cross at the near post, with the ball then falling perfectly to Sergio Aguero, who had peeled off Laurent Koscielny, to volley home sweet as whipped cream.
Arsenal did grow into the game slowly but surely, but still City were by far the dominant side, just creating chances at will.
Negredo was particularly threatening, latching onto passes from City's midfield time and again; his finishing though did leave a little to be desired as the Spaniard fired wide after some good work from Vincent Kompany.
Theo Walcott grabbed a couple of consolation goals for Arsenal. Reuters
After the home side fluffed their lines a few times, they were made to pay by Arsenal just past the half hour mark. Yaya Toure, of all people, was caught on the ball in his own half by Aaron Ramsey, who drove forward before picking out Mesut Ozil on the left. The German maestro took his time before finding Theo Walcott on the edge of the box, with the Arsenal forward's shot taking a slight deflection off Demichelis and nestling into the back of the net.
City should have gone back into the lead soon after, but Negredo yet again was profligate, sliding the ball wide when one-on-one with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal failed to build on the we-are-level-at-the-etihad-which-is-quite-unbelievable-in-itself goal, as City, like snow in the Himalayas poured forward time and again.
They would be rewarded for their forward endeavour on 38 minutes as Toure, determined to make up for his calamitous error, picked out Zabaleta on the right, with the Argentine fullback then playing in a perfect low cross for third-time-lucky Negredo to slot home.
To make matters worse, Arsenal lost one half of the league's best central defensive partnership -- Laurent Koscielny -- in the process, with the French defender stretchered off with a knee injury.
Thomas Vermaelen came in and the re-jigged Arsenal back-four saw off the rest of the half, but with the promise of seeing Aguero and co. a lot more in the second 45.
Fernandinho scores Manchester City's third goal against Arsenal. Reuters
The one thing you don't do against Manchester City at home is make a mistake in your own half - but Arsenal did just that shooting themselves in the foot, leg, arm and a few other places, gifting the ball to Fernandinho in the edge of their own area, with the Brazilian then calmly and wonderfully curling the ball past the despairing-oh-please-don't-go-into-the-back-of-the-net dive of Szczesny for his first goal for the club.
That left Arsenal with a mountain the distance of a few light years to climb, and Giroud could have put them right back in contention had he taken at least one of three really good opportunities. First Wilshere floated in a nice pass over the top for Giroud, who just could not make the right contact with his left foot.
Giroud then mishit a cross attempt from the right, with Theo Walcott, free as a bird, waiting in anticipation for a tap-in, and in a couple of minutes the French striker just could not get enough on his head after a peach of a cross from Bacary Sagna down the right.
Arsenal had shown they had a stomach for a fight now, and just kept getting at the City backline with just desserts served courtesy a curler magnifique from Theo Walcott in the 63rd minute.
However, such is City's confidence at home, that they are just a flick of a switch away from a goal, and that turned out to be the case yet again as Jesus Navas, in for the injured Aguero early in the second half, put the ball on a plate for Silva to coolly glide in.
Arsenal would not go without a fight, and Wilshere tested Pantilimon with a snorter from 25 yards, with the camera then inevitably panning to Joe Hart on the bench after the cracking save from the current City number one.
City, though, just kept at it, not making the mistake of taking their eyes off the ball after a comfortable lead twice as Samir Nasri huffed and puffed but just could not find a goal against his former side.
Nasri, though, would turn creator for Fernandinho's second goal, with Yaya Toure also netting from the penalty spot, as Arsenal, Nicklas Bendtner's offside goal and Per Mertesacker's correct header notwithstanding, were just overrun by City's ridiculous attacking power.
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