This was a game decided by small margins and it is arguable that a few little things could easily gone our way on another day. City had he better of the chances in the first half and in the early second half, but as the game wore on we really looked like equalising and if not for a fairly stonewall penalty, and some slightly poor crossing and finishing, would have come out of this game with a point.
City's side is stuffed full of classy players, for me their best two today were Aguero and Balotelli, they have pace and skill, they can create chances from nothing. Both players forced fine saves from Sczcesny in the first half, our young Pole had to be on top form, admittedly there was too much space down our right side defensively, Djourou is no full back and was lost at times. We created some decent openings in the first half and forced Hart into two top saves, Ramsey also miscontrolled when in a great position in front of goal.
City took the lead not long after half time, just after Djourou had gone off, Kos was caught out of position, Balotelli cut inside and shot, the ball broke to Silva who tapped in, Silva was level at best, slightly fortunate for City that the linesman kept his flag down. Just before this Gareth Barry should have been sent off, already on a yellow card, he went through Song's shin in a rather nasty fashion with his studs, Dowd choked this big decision, no surprise. It was the only genuinely nasty tackle of the whole game and he didn't punish it.
RVP was so so close to being onside moments later, he was at most half a yard off, he finished neatly, it was so so tight but it didn't go for us. The game then opened up massively, Nasri had the best City opening, but he choked it as he does so often, summing up his generally weak performance. City dropped deeper and we looked the more dangerous side as the game wore on, RVP was incorrectly flagged offside when he almost scored with a point blank header, Hart tipped over from Walcott and then saved well from RVP's low shot.
Dowd then bottled another massive decision, he had two good reasons to give us a penalty, the ball was crossed in, Vermaelen was blatantly barged down by Toure who got nowhere near the ball, first reason, Micah Richards then handled with his arm up high, second reason, Dowd was well positioned and choked again. Still we created some great opening still, Arshavin scuffed a great crossing chance and mishit his shot when RVP had teed him up neatly, Vermaelen then almost scored twice at the death, the first was straight at Hart who tipped over, the second just wide with Hart struggling.
Overall it was just not to be our day, the injuries to our full backs did not help, a few marginal decisions did not go for us too, also we just lacked that real quality from the bench that may well have forced an equaliser, Arshavin and Chamakh are not bad players, but they have not provided much spark of late. I thought the performances of Arteta and Song were absolutely top drawer, they worked so hard, they ran and ran, did so much great defensive work with such discipline and provided something that we have lacked in recent seasons.
Credit to City, their incisive forwards were dangerous, they always carried an attacking threat and they made things very difficult for us at times with some excellent pressing play. It was a fantastic game of football and it genuinely could have gone either way, we just have to dust ourselves down, keep producing these kind of performances and the results will come. It was a proud day to be a Gooner, even in defeat.