Manchester City returned to the Premier League summit after a brief hiatus as they beat Arsenal in a thrilling game.

Following Manchester United's lunchtime win over QPR, David Silva pounced after Mario Balotelli's shot was saved to score the only goal of the match.

Sergio Aguero could have made the win more comfortable but fired over early on, while Pablo Zabaleta hit the post.

Arsenal had a number of chances though, and Joe Hart saved from Gervinho, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey.

Robin van Persie could not find his 20th goal of the season either, with a shot saved and a goal ruled out for offside, as the hosts restored their two-point lead at the top over their city rivals.

Mancini happy with 'important' win

Following their defeat by Chelsea last Monday, the result was the perfect response from Roberto Mancini's team, who ended Arsenal's unbeaten run of eight games while maintaining their 100% home record this season.

It also means that City remain unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium in 2011, having drawn just two of 28 games in the last year.

While it was an even contest, Aguero should have put City ahead in the first five minutes when Gareth Barry found Zabaleta down the left in a flowing move.

But although Aguero controlled the resulting cross he blasted his shot over the bar from 10 yards out.

City's leading league scorer had another chance soon after, but was snuffed out by the recovering Arsenal defence when he cut inside from the inside right channel.

A frantic opening period also saw Hart twice save in quick succession, first stopping Gervinho's angled shot and then tipping Ramsey's effort from the resulting corner round the post.

MAN CITY'S GOAL GLUT

  • City have now scored 50 goals after 16 Premier League games at an average of 3.125 goals a game

The Gunners defence again featured four centre-backs and was not so smart when Per Mertesacker allowed Balotelli to shoot from close range, but keeper Wojciech Szczesny saved well and showed further signs of his recent improvement when he saved another Aguero effort.

Former Arsenal players Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure were named in the City line-up but French midfielder Nasri's mixed form continued when he gave the ball away, leading to another Ramsey chance.

Having reached the break without conceding, the Arsenal defence was forced into a reshuffle two minutes after the re-start when Ignasi Miquel replaced Johan Djourou.

Wenger queries offside decisions

That meant Laurent Koscielny moved to right-back, and he was nowhere to be seen when Balotelli checked his run to stay onside and cut in from the left to play a key part in the goal.

His shot was saved again by Szczesny but when the ball broke to Silva, following Aguero's headed attempt, the Spaniard made no mistake from two yards out for his sixth of the season.

Walcott almost hit an instant reply, in what was one of his first meaningful contributions, and there followed a pulsating period in which Aguero fired wide, Hart saved from Van Persie and Zabaleta hit the post from 20 yards.

Nasri also played a fine one-two with Silva but overhit his pass with Balotelli waiting to pounce.

City boss Mancini took steps to secure the lead as the visitors looked for an equaliser and with the game entering the final stages, Hart was again on hand to tip Thomas Vermaelen's drive over the bar.

And the City keeper was relieved to see another long-range Vermaelen effort curl past the post as City hung on.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester City

  • 25 Hart
  • 02 Richards
  • 04 Kompany
  • 05 Zabaleta
  • 28 K Toure
  • 18 Barry Booked
  • 19 Nasri (Dzeko - 85' )
  • 21 Silva
  • 42 Y Toure (De Jong - 85' )
  • 16 Aguero Booked
  • 45 Balotelli (Milner - 72' )

Substitutes

  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 06 Lescott
  • 15 Savic
  • 07 Milner
  • 11 Johnson
  • 34 De Jong
  • 10 Dzeko

Arsenal

  • 13 Szczesny
  • 04 Mertesacker (Chamakh - 82' )
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 06 Koscielny Booked
  • 20 Djourou (Miquel - 47' )
  • 08 Arteta Booked
  • 14 Walcott (Arshavin - 69' )
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 17 Song Booked
  • 10 Van Persie
  • 27 Gervinho

Substitutes

  • 01 Almunia
  • 49 Miquel
  • 07 Rosicky
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 26 Frimpong
  • 30 Benayoun
  • 29 Chamakh
Ref: Dowd
Att: 47,303

Match Stats

Shots

15 12

On target

9 8

Corners

4 6

Fouls

13 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:05 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +3:01

Thomas Vermaelen has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses left.

90:00 +1:59

Effort from deep inside the area by Edin Dzeko misses to the left of the goal.

90:00 +1:40

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alex Song on Sergio Aguero. David Silva takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +0:25

Yao Gervinho produces a cross, Pablo Zabaleta gets a block in.

89:18

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marouane Chamakh by Micah Richards. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick. Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a fantastic save. Short corner worked by Robin van Persie.

88:17

Andrey Arshavin produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

87:32

Sergio Aguero concedes a free kick for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

86:26

The ball is sent over by Laurent Koscielny.

84:53 Substitution

Substitution Samir Nasri leaves the field to be replaced by Edin Dzeko.

84:53 Substitution

Substitution Gnegneri Toure Yaya leaves the field to be replaced by Nigel De Jong.

84:42

The ball is swung over by David Silva, Headed effort from inside the area by Micah Richards misses to the left of the goal.

83:42

Unfair challenge on Vincent Kompany by Andrey Arshavin results in a free kick. Vincent Kompany takes the free kick.

81:29 Substitution

Substitution Per Mertesacker leaves the field to be replaced by Marouane Chamakh.

79:47

Drilled right-footed shot by Sergio Aguero. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save. Outswinging corner taken by Samir Nasri from the right by-line, clearance by Per Mertesacker.

77:27

Inswinging corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line, Micah Richards manages to make a clearance.

76:57

Centre by Laurent Koscielny, Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.

75:06

Inswinging corner taken by David Silva from the right by-line, Robin van Persie manages to make a clearance.

73:56

Mikel Arteta concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Barry. Direct free kick taken by Samir Nasri.

73:02

Vincent Kompany takes the direct free kick.

73:02 Booking

Booking The referee shows Mikel Arteta a yellow card.

72:58

Mikel Arteta challenges Gnegneri Toure Yaya unfairly and gives away a free kick.

71:19

Per Mertesacker restarts play with the free kick.

71:19 Substitution

Substitution James Milner joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mario Balotelli.

71:19 Booking

Booking Sergio Aguero shown a yellow card.

71:14

Foul by Sergio Aguero on Thomas Vermaelen, free kick awarded.

70:39

Andrey Arshavin produces a cross, comfortable save by Joe Hart.

68:32

Free kick taken by Robin van Persie. Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Pablo Zabaleta gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie, save made by Joe Hart.

68:32 Substitution

Substitution Theo Walcott leaves the field to be replaced by Andrey Arshavin.

68:32

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gareth Barry on Mikel Arteta.

68:25

Gnegneri Toure Yaya concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Ramsey. Free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.

68:00

Theo Walcott produces a cross, blocked by Pablo Zabaleta.

66:33

Theo Walcott sends in a cross. The offside flag is raised against Robin van Persie. Joe Hart takes the free kick.

65:54

Pablo Zabaleta has an effort at goal from outside the box striking the post.

64:47

David Silva fouled by Alex Song, the ref awards a free kick. Strike comes in from David Silva from the free kick, Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

63:33

Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.

61:56

Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Kolo Toure gets a block in.

61:25

Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Sergio Aguero goes wide of the left-hand post.

60:19

Effort on goal by Gnegneri Toure Yaya from 20 yards. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

59:14

The official flags Sergio Aguero offside. Per Mertesacker takes the free kick.

57:58

Sergio Aguero fouled by Laurent Koscielny, the ref awards a free kick. Samir Nasri fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

56:31

Foul by Sergio Aguero on Per Mertesacker, free kick awarded. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

55:46

Robin van Persie is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Joe Hart.

53:50

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.

52:12

The assist for the goal came from Sergio Aguero.

52:12 Goal scored

Goal! - David Silva - Man City 1 - 0 Arsenal David Silva scores a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man City 1-0 Arsenal.

52:10

Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny. Sergio Aguero takes a shot.

50:25

The assistant referee flags for offside against Mario Balotelli. Indirect free kick taken by Per Mertesacker.

48:54

Sergio Aguero sends in a cross, clearance by Ignasi Miquel. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by David Silva, clearance by Ignasi Miquel.

46:22

Laurent Koscielny takes the direct free kick.

46:22 Substitution

Substitution Ignasi Miquel replaces Johan Djourou.

46:22

Theo Walcott fouled by Pablo Zabaleta, the ref awards a free kick.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:00 +2:04 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

45:00 +1:31

Gnegneri Toure Yaya gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.

44:01

Vincent Kompany restarts play with the free kick.

44:01 Booking

Booking Laurent Koscielny receives a caution.

43:44

Unfair challenge on Sergio Aguero by Laurent Koscielny results in a free kick.

43:02

Kolo Toure concedes a free kick for a foul on Yao Gervinho. Free kick crossed right-footed by Mikel Arteta from right wing, clearance by Pablo Zabaleta.

40:08

Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

38:05

Robin van Persie crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, clearance made by Kolo Toure.

38:05 Booking

Booking Gareth Barry is cautioned.

37:51

Gareth Barry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta.

34:47

Robin van Persie takes a shot. Blocked by Micah Richards.

33:48

Aaron Ramsey fouled by Gnegneri Toure Yaya, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.

33:14

Gnegneri Toure Yaya fouled by Aaron Ramsey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.

32:21

Aaron Ramsey produces a cross, Robin van Persie has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.

30:50

The ball is sent over by Gnegneri Toure Yaya, Per Mertesacker makes a clearance.

29:31

Gareth Barry delivers the ball, clearance by Per Mertesacker.

28:52

Inswinging corner taken by David Silva, clearance by Robin van Persie.

27:44

Handball by Robin van Persie. Kolo Toure takes the direct free kick.

26:00

Samir Nasri challenges Yao Gervinho unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robin van Persie crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.

25:02

Robin van Persie produces a cross, Pablo Zabaleta makes a clearance.

23:53

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Gnegneri Toure Yaya. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.

23:02

Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

22:53

Micah Richards sends in a cross, Laurent Koscielny makes a clearance.

20:45

Gnegneri Toure Yaya fouled by Aaron Ramsey, the ref awards a free kick. Vincent Kompany restarts play with the free kick.

17:42

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.

17:04

Short corner worked by Robin van Persie. Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.

16:54

Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.

16:15

Sergio Aguero handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

10:56

David Silva takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

10:20 Booking

Booking Alex Song is booked.

8:47

Effort on goal by Sergio Aguero from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

5:04

Mikel Arteta concedes a free kick for a foul on Mario Balotelli. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Samir Nasri from left channel, save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

0:00

The referee gets the match started.

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