Sergio Aguero's late breakaway goal earned Manchester City a first win at Arsenal for 36 years and a place in the Carling Cup semi-finals.
Park Chu-young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tested City's goal in a first half the Gunners edged.
But although Edin Dzeko was off target on three occasions, the Bosnian helped create the winner on 83 minutes.
After an Arsenal corner, his pass set Adam Johnson free and he teed up Aguero to score his 12th goal of the season.
It was a cruel blow to the Gunners, who for much of the game looked the more likely winners.
However, the quality of the build-up to the goal, and the finish itself, made it a worthy denouement to a game which never really gained any true momentum.
Coming just two days after their 1-1 draw at Liverpool, City were often lacklustre, yet despite a much-changed side, it once again showed their expensively assembled strikeforce are able to find solutions where the rest of the team otherwise appear lost.
CITY BREAK MORE RECORDS
- Before this victory, Manchester City had not won in 28 trips to Arsenal stretching back to 1975
- City won the League Cup the same season
Former Gunner Samir Nasri was the only player to remain in the side from the trip to Anfield and he was given a torrid time from the start by the home supporters.
His side began the stronger, with Johnson firing just over when he cut in from the right on 10 minutes.
But although Arsenal also made 10 changes to the team which drew with Fulham on the weekend, they justified Arsene Wenger's pre-match comments that his youthful squad were capable of matching their more experienced opponents.
A minute after Johnson's strike, City's giant keeper Costel Pantilimon did well to save Park's close-range effort following Francis Coquelin's dangerous cross.
Pantilimon then tipped Oxlade-Chamberlain's 25-yarder round the post just before the half hour as Arsenal's impressive midfield turned the game in their favour.
City switched their formation in the first half as Aguero was introduced in place of the injured Aleksandar Kolarov.
But it did not stop Coquelin and the muscular Emmanuel Frimpong imposing themselves on central midfield opponents Nigel de Jong and Owen Hargreaves, who was making his third appearance of the season.
Allied to that industriousness, Oxlade-Chamberlain showed some neat touches and looked Arsenal's most dangerous player when he again cut in from the right to sting Pantilimon's hands.
Most of City's chances fell to Dzeko, who was their most productive outlet, yet City rarely reached the heights that they have done this season.
Visiting boss Roberto Mancini had complained about his side's lack of rest before the game, and City improved after the break, but the introduction of Gervinho after the hour mark gave more zip to Arsenal's attack.
Then, just as it looked as though the Ivorian might help eke out a winner, City scored a wonderful goal on the break which originated from an Arsenal corner.
Dzeko was the architect, speeding on to the loose ball to evade two challenges and picking out Johnson, with the English winger spinning on the edge of the box to set up Aguero for a well-taken finish from 12 yards.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It was an unfair result but I felt we were a bit naive. I felt as well we did not take our corners very well but overall what is frustrating is that we lost a game we looked the winner of.
"We put a lot of effort in and are not rewarded. We lacked a little bit of experience to be decisive in the final third.
"I think in midfield (Emmanuel) Frimpong did well and (Francis) Coquelin did well. Sometimes you could feel in the final third we lacked a little in creativity - but overall we did well and I cannot fault the team. They did very well and showed heart, quality and desire."
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "Samir Nasri can play better because he is a top player. Tonight is the first night he came back to Arsenal and it is not easy for a player that played here for four or five years.
"I think that he can improve a lot but it was the same situation with those who arrived last year, like Edin (Dzeko) and David (Silva).
"It (the win) is not important for him, it is important for the team. For him it is better than he played tonight so, when he comes back to play here in the league, he knows what will happen."
- 21 Fabianski
- 06 Koscielny
- 18 Squillaci
- 20 Djourou
- 49 Miquel (Vermaelen - 80' )
- 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arshavin - 87' )
- 26 Frimpong
- 30 Benayoun
- 39 Coquelin
- 09 Park Chu-Young (Gervinho - 67' )
- 29 Chamakh
- 24 Mannone
- 05 Vermaelen
- 40 Eastmond
- 23 Arshavin
- 53 Ozyakup
- 56 Yennaris
- 27 Gervinho
- 30 Pantilimon
- 05 Zabaleta
- 13 Kolarov (Aguero - 32' )
- 15 Savic
- 24 Onuoha
- 28 K Toure
- 11 Johnson
- 19 Nasri
- 20 Hargreaves Booked (Razak - 79' )
- 34 De Jong
- 10 Dzeko
- 12 Taylor
- 02 Richards
- 03 Bridge
- 36 Suarez
- 44 Rekik
- 62 Razak
- 16 Aguero
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +3:39
Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.90:00 +2:48
Unfair challenge on Marouane Chamakh by Kolo Toure results in a free kick. Emmanuel Frimpong crosses the ball in from the free kick.90:00 +0:56
Corner from the right by-line taken by Andrey Arshavin, save by Costel Pantilimon.88:34
Corner taken right-footed by Andrey Arshavin.87:07
Sebastien Squillaci fouled by Sergio Aguero, the ref awards a free kick. Lukasz Fabianski takes the free kick.86:20 Substitution
Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Andrey Arshavin coming on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.85:46
Effort from inside the area by Yao Gervinho misses to the right of the goal.84:52
The official flags Sergio Aguero offside. Sebastien Squillaci takes the indirect free kick.84:36
The ball is delivered by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, save made by Costel Pantilimon.83:00
Assist by Adam Johnson.83:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Sergio Aguero - Arsenal 0 - 1 Man City Sergio Aguero scores a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 0-1 Man City.82:09
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Nigel De Jong manages to make a clearance.79:33
Edin Dzeko concedes a free kick for a foul on Laurent Koscielny. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.79:01 Substitution
Substitution Thomas Vermaelen replaces Ignasi Miquel.78:30 Substitution
Substitution Abdul Razak on for Owen Hargreaves.78:13
Headed effort from deep inside the area by Edin Dzeko misses to the right of the goal.75:31
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.74:52
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Yossi Benayoun from the left by-line to the near post.72:00
Shot by Yao Gervinho from a long way out goes over the crossbar.
Yossi Benayoun concedes a free kick for a foul on Nedum Onuoha. Nedum Onuoha restarts play with the free kick.66:56 Substitution
Substitution Chu-Young Park goes off and Yao Gervinho comes on.66:45
Marouane Chamakh produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.64:41
Nigel De Jong gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Yossi Benayoun. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.64:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by Yossi Benayoun on Samir Nasri. Direct free kick taken by Samir Nasri.63:04
The official flags Adam Johnson offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the indirect free kick.61:14
Owen Hargreaves produces a right-footed effort from long distance that goes harmlessly over the bar.57:30
Francis Coquelin fouled by Adam Johnson, the ref awards a free kick. Yossi Benayoun takes the free kick.56:55
Samir Nasri is ruled offside. Sebastien Squillaci takes the indirect free kick.56:27
Edin Dzeko has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.55:37
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Owen Hargreaves by Marouane Chamakh. Free kick taken by Owen Hargreaves.55:03
Effort from a long way out by Sergio Aguero goes wide right of the goal.54:36
Johan Djourou challenges Samir Nasri unfairly and gives away a free kick. Samir Nasri restarts play with the free kick.53:47
Nedum Onuoha fouled by Marouane Chamakh, the ref awards a free kick. Nedum Onuoha restarts play with the free kick.52:28
The free kick is swung in right-footed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, clearance made by Pablo Zabaleta.52:28 Booking
Booking Owen Hargreaves booked.52:17
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emmanuel Frimpong by Owen Hargreaves.51:19
Foul by Marouane Chamakh on Pablo Zabaleta, free kick awarded. Costel Pantilimon takes the direct free kick.50:38
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.49:49
Corner taken by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from the right by-line, save made by Costel Pantilimon.49:06
Marouane Chamakh concedes a free kick for a foul on Kolo Toure. Nigel De Jong takes the direct free kick.48:46
Emmanuel Frimpong fouled by Edin Dzeko, the ref awards a free kick. Emmanuel Frimpong takes the free kick.46:51
Foul by Stefan Savic on Marouane Chamakh, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Yossi Benayoun.46:02
Edin Dzeko has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.45:01
The referee gets the second half started.45:00 +1:14 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +0:14
Sergio Aguero gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chu-Young Park. Yossi Benayoun restarts play with the free kick.41:17
Foul by Emmanuel Frimpong on Edin Dzeko, free kick awarded. Owen Hargreaves takes the free kick.33:34
The referee blows for offside against Adam Johnson. Lukasz Fabianski takes the indirect free kick.33:17
Adam Johnson decides to take the corner short.31:19 Substitution
Substitution Aleksandar Kolarov leaves the field to be replaced by Sergio Aguero.30:26
Stefan Savic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance by Owen Hargreaves.29:05
Short corner worked by Adam Johnson.28:08
Adam Johnson takes a inswinging corner.27:22
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.27:07
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes a shot. Costel Pantilimon makes a save.25:38
Corner taken right-footed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the near post, Stefan Savic makes a clearance.25:19
Francis Coquelin takes a shot. Stefan Savic gets a block in.20:16
Pablo Zabaleta sends in a cross, clearance made by Laurent Koscielny.19:17
Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.17:34
Marouane Chamakh is adjudged to have handled the ball. Pablo Zabaleta restarts play with the free kick.17:01
Edin Dzeko is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Lukasz Fabianski.16:21
Free kick awarded for a foul by Laurent Koscielny on Edin Dzeko. Nigel De Jong takes the free kick.14:57
Effort from outside the penalty box by Pablo Zabaleta goes wide left of the goal.10:59
Chu-Young Park takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.9:07
Adam Johnson takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.7:56
Aleksandar Kolarov challenges Francis Coquelin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Francis Coquelin takes the direct free kick.6:34
Nigel De Jong concedes a free kick for a foul on Marouane Chamakh. Direct free kick taken by Marouane Chamakh.5:50
Ignasi Miquel takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.4:19
The ball is swung over by Aleksandar Kolarov.0:14
The referee blows for offside against Adam Johnson. Free kick taken by Lukasz Fabianski.0:00
The game begins.
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