Carling Cup: Manchester City v Arsenal – as it happened

Preamble:Tonight Arsenal fans find themselves in a bind. By which I do not mean they all attend some throbbing Wednesday night hotspot for S&M aficionados, simply that they find themselves straddling the horns of a dilemma, which, now you mention it, does sound like something the aforementioned aficionados might do. How and ever (as my old history teacher used to insist on saying), the Gooners‘ pickle is this: to boo Emmanuel Adebayor, or not to boo? Ashley Cole’s prominent role in the dismemberment of Arsenal on Sunday suggests booing may be counter-productive, so perhaps the travelling fans should blow kisses or hurl garlands of roses at the man they consider a Togolese traitor? Or chant that his mother is a respectable and lovely lady, contrary to their previous claims?

Some would say that Arsene Wenger has an even more testing quandary: to continue using the Carling Cup to cultivating saplings, or field a more experienced team in the hope of ending a trophy-drought that’s threatening to become as embarrassing as City’s, whose line-up tonight shows that Mark Hughes isn’t foolish enough to be picky about how he nabs the club’s first piece of silverware for a generation. Wenger, meanwhile, is not about to abandon his principles now … I know because I’ve just seen the line-ups. Here, have a gander for yourself.

Teams:Manchester City: Given; Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge; Wright-Phillips. Ireland, Barry, Bellamy; Tevez, canada goose coat 1000 bulbs garland AdebayorSubs: It’s a secret. Well I haven’t been told at least.

Arsenal: Fabianski; Eboue, Song, Silvestre, Traore; Eastmond, Merida, Ramsey, Rosicky, Wilshere; VelaSubs: Mannone, Bartley, Coquelin, Frimpong, Gilbert, Randall, Watt

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7:40pm: Someone had to make this gag after the splendid set-up, so hats off to Craig McEwan for not shirking it: „Can we assume that Messrs Mannone, Bartley, Coquelin, Frimpong, Gilbert, Randall, Watt will all be at the party with the other Junior Gunners?“

7:42pm: Has Adebayor being taking PR lessons from Thierry „I’ll knock you out of the World Cup in underhand fashion and then sit down next to you to display canada goose coat 1000 calorie diet my gallantry“ Henry? In the tunnel he’s going along shaking hands with the Arsenal players and even sticks a kiss on Mikael Silvestre …

7:44pm: „To boo or not to boo is an interesting question,“ reckons Amir Adhamy. „I’d say that in this instance, more so than Ashley Cole’s. Regardless of whether it inspires acts of brilliance from the person in receipt of the boos … sometimes they just have to know.“ Do you not think he already knows?

1 min: Within 40 seconds Given is forced into action, rushing off his line to pounce on the ball before Rosicky could finish off a trademark Arsenal passing move …

2 mins: Adebayor has just touched the ball and it seems he is not being booed …. no, Arsenal fans prefer to assail him with expletives – I’d forgotten about that option. „Cashley has always been a hate figure so he thrives when confronted with boos (as well as money),“ froths Peter Corway. „Adebayor on the other hand, needs love and affection (much like the Arsenal team tonight just before their mammies tuck them in) so booing Adebayor will put him off his game. Again.“

4 mins: „BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!“ A canada goose coat 1000 bulbs change of strategy from the travelling fans, then. But it didn’t put off Adebayor there, as he held off Silvestre – who perhaps was afraid he might get another kiss – before passing to Ireland. The player, not the country – that would have been very wayward.

6 mins: Traore shows commendable tenacity to chase down Wright-Phillips after being beaten. From the resultant corner Adebayor outjumps Song and powers a downward header towards goals. Fabianksi was well positioned. So we still don’t know how Adebayor will celebrate if he scores.

9 mins: City are playing well so far, enjoying most of the possession. Wright-Phillips is looking particularly dangerous down the right. He’s already put in a few good crosses, though no team-mate has yet been able to connect with them. „For those of relying on you words to follow the game, please compare and contrast the respective crowd reaction to Messrs. Adebayor and Toure,“ pleads Kyle Karinene. „Kolo was a marvelous servant to the club and not a complete self-involved berk. I bet the crowd gives him some polite applause.“ No applause, Kyle, but no boos or insults either. Indifference seems to be the order of authentic canada goose jacket sale the day for Toure.

11 mins: Twice in the last two minutes Tevez has beaten the offside trap and scampered into the box. On the first occasion his subsequent cross towards Ireland was intercepted by Silvestre, and on the second Song, at centreback tonight, hustled the Argentinian out of the danger zone. Good defending on both occasions, then.

13 mins: Toure charges down a Ramsey shot from distance. „While Manchester fielded a young team yesterday, one got the idea it was less development and more cattle market,“ carps Ben Dunn. „Big Ferg advertising players for sale who are young but not good enough to be playing for a top four (five?) team. Arsenal, however, give the impression these kids have a real chance of making it at the Emirates. Wilshere isn’t going to the World Cup, is he?“ Doubt it. And nor is Walcott, by the way. At least not in my admittedly worthless opinion. Also, I think you’re being a bit harsh on Welbeck, De Laet, Obertan and Gibson – all four look like decent enough prospects to me.

15 mins: Arsenal are beginning to dart and probe menacingly around the City box. City, at a stretch, have managed to cut out the final ball every time so far, but the threat from Arsenal is growing.

17 mins: Bellamy bursts into the box and then runs into Song before going down in a way that brings pleas for a penalty from the home crowd. The ref wisely ignores them. „I’m actually kind of surprised at how young the Arsenal bench is tonight,“ gasps Daviod Mooney. When Fergie sends out the bairns in a league cup match, he’ll typically keep a couple of senior players in reserve in case he needs to rescue a result. Wenger has taken the other tack jacket, naming a bench that’s even more inexperienced than the starters.“

20 mins: Shoddy play by Silvestre followed by a bad miss by Bellamy! The way to silence all those folks who’ve been slagging off Arsenal’s supposed lack of physical prowess is not to let yourselves be muscled off the ball in the box by … Shaun Wright-Phillips, yet that’s what Silvestre just did. The tiddler in blue then pulled the buy canada goose jacket london ball back to Bellamy, who dragged the ball wide from eight yards.

22 mins: A lovely through-ball by Wilshere with the outside of his foot presents Vela with a chance to shoot from 16 yards, but pressure from Lescott is enough to hurry the Mexican into tonking the ball over the bar. „I have to say, as an Arsenal supporter I hope they lose this game,“ mewls Thad Brown. „Van Persie’s ankle has sated my thirst for season ending injuries in unimportant games.“

24 mins: Tevez collects the ball just inside the Arsenal half and then, with the Arsenal defenders backing off, scurries all the way up to the edge of the box before jinking past Silvestre and shooting straight at Fabianksi. Elsewhere, word is Chelsea are trailing 1-0 at Blackburn!

26 mins: The camera has just focused on Wilshere, at the precise time that he chose to expel a large amount of saliva from his mouth. And unhappily for the lad, he got it all wrong and gobbed on his own jersey. Perhaps these young Gunners should wear bibs?

28 mins: Silvestre has just taken a huge risk with a slightly unnecessary sliding tackle on Adebayor in the box. It was well-timed, however, and enabled him to relieve some of the pressure that has been building from City over the last few minutes.

30 mins: Vela darts past one in the City box before being muscled off the ball by Lescott. „Do you think the reason Ashley Cole played well on Sunday is because he’s a rather brilliant footballer?“ croaks Gary Naylor. „Gallas + £5M was it? That’s about as good a deal as Francis Jeffers for £10M.“

32 mins: Vela’s clever movement is posing a constant challenge to City, but so far the much-maligned Toure and Lesccott have been up to it. A moment ago Ramsey lifted a sweet ball in to the striker, who was immedaitely crowded out by the centrebacks. Meanwhile, a nostalgic Alex Kirkup in Florida wibbles: „Arsenal might just as well have put these down as subs: Hugh Pugh Barney McGrew Cuthbert Dibble Grub.“

35 mins: Another good recovering tackle by Traore as Wright-Phillips threatened to break free down the right again.

36 mins: Rosicky barges Tevez off the ball – not a phrase I was expecting to write – and the Argentine ripostes by bulldozing the Czech to the ground. Freekick to Arsenal.

38 mins: Wright-Phillips got the jump on Traore there and no mistake … until Traore got back to clobber him. That’s a yellow card and the left-back is going to have to be careful for the rest of the game. From the ensuing freekick, an Arsenal player turns the ball fractionally over his own bar. And from the ensuing corner, Fabianski rushes off his line to put in a good catch.

40 mins: Toure handles a Vela cross in the box, but the ref refuses to give a penalty, probably because he reckons it was accidental. Moments later Traore commits another foul and Mark Hughes and the entire City crowd want the full-back to be shown a second yellow. The ref decides to be lenient. Wenger would be wise to replace Traore at half-time …

43 mins: The pressure is mounting from City, with Arsenal beginning to look a little ragged and conceding far too many freekicks in their own half. „Harrumph!“ harrumphs David Hunt. „Gallas + £5m for Cole was a great bit of business for the Arse. They needed a centre half badly and had Clichy to replace Cole! Even my Chelsea supporting mates reckon Arsenal got the better of that deal (especially as Cole has only played well for Chelsea since Mourinho left and he was able to bomb forward like he used to).“

45 mins: It’s a tense battle on the pitch, and beyond. Mark Hughes and Arsene Wenger are prowling along the touchline and casting some fairly scornful looks at each other …. if it comes to blows, I know who my money’s on …

Half-time: The referee’s whistle is the cue for the stadium announcer to blare a bit of Thin Lizzy over the PA (and we all know which bit … I can’t help feeling that poor old Phil Lynnot is being misrepresented by the incessant playing of The Boys are Back in Town – his repertoire was so much wider than that), and for Hughes and Wenger to cool themselves down while pepping their players up. No goals, and not a huge amount of goalmouth action, but, along with a pleasing pace and some flashes of class, there is a genuine edge and intensity to this game that makes it quite engrossing.

Hughes v Wenger: The outcome may not be as obvious as I’d implied. „Don’t count The Boss out in a scrap with Hughes!,“ wails John Morris. „Superior reach. Grew up in a pub. Capable of dishing out heaping scorn at close quarters.“

„My money would be on Wenger,“ screeches Michelle Peter-Jones. „Imagine Clark Kent turning into a Superman! Super Wenger!“

46 mins: Adebayor – who has been very subdued so far – collides with Song in the box, provoking more howls for a penalty from the City fans (and boos from the Arsenal ones). The ref is unmoved.

48 mins: Wilshere threads another nice ball through to Vela, who had strayed fractionally offside. „You gotta be kidding!“ rails Richard Clarke. „Arsenal clowns putting their money on Wenger in fisticuffs with Hughesie!? As can i wash my canada goose jacket with their title aspirations, dream on …“

GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal (Tevez 50′) That was flimsy play by Arsenal, punished impressively buying a canada goose jacket online by Tevez. The Argentinian instigated it himself, pestering Rosicky into giving up the ball by the left touchline and then exchanging passes with Bellamy before dashing into the box, easily eluding Song and crashing the ball into the top corner from 14 yards.

52 mins: Rosicky meets a Wilshere corner, but can’t direct his header on target.

54 mins: City were piling on the pressure, puling Arsenal’s defence hither and thither until Toure shanked a pass straight to Vela, who scampered forward and found Wilshere at the edge of the box. The youngster was too hasty, however, and blemmed his shot way over the bar,.

56 mins: Bellamy races down the right and fizzes a cross into the centre. Fabianski charges off his line and hurls himself at Adebayor, who is so alarmed he slaps his shot wide from 10 yards.

58 mins: „OFF, OFF, OFF!“ No, the City faithful don’t want referee Keith Foy to perform a strip-tease (I think), rather they want him to dismiss Silvestre after the centreback hauled authentic canada goose outlet down Adebayor outside the box. A yellow card is all the mercifully still-clad Mr Foy brandishes. And Bellamy blasts the freekick into Fabianski’s mid-riff.

60 mins: City are still the more accomplished team but they’re also now displaying a certain nervousness when Arsenal get the ball, probably because of the number of leads they have relinquished recently, or possibly for the reason Ali Musa alludes to: „We probably shouldn’t persist with the Wenger-Hughes fisticuffs scenario, especially now City are in the lead, but I have a suspicion that Wenger would win using a Spock-like neck grip buy canada goose parka uk or something slightly alien like that,“ confides Ali.

61 mins: At Ewood Park, Didier Drogba has come off the Chelsea bench to equaliser. Maybe it’s time Arsenal threw on …. um … Frimpong?

63 mins: Arsenal catch the City defence out with a quick throw-in. Merida centres and Ramsey, straining to meet it, heads over the bar.

65 mins: A lull. „Thank you for using the word ‚blems‘,“ hurrahs Michael Ollier. „I haven’t heard it for 35 years!“ Still a classic, though, eh. You budgie.

68 mins: Here comes the change: Eastmond off, Sanchez Watt on. Sanchez Who? you might be tempted to reply.

GOAL! Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal (Wright-Phillips 70′) Brilliant! That was the pre-Chelsea Wright-Phillips! He picked the ball up wide on the left, hurtled forward, created space for the shot with a little feint that wrong-footed Traore, and then smashed the ball into the top corner from 23 yards!

71 mins: Wright-Phillips attempts to nip the ball through to Ireland, who had burst into the box, but his pass is over-hit. „Was that Snoop Doggy Dog who just come on for Arsenal?“ quips Ashwin Chandra, who has spotted a very, very slight similarity between the rapster and young Sanchez Watt.

73 mins: City change: Tevez off, Kompany on. „Can’t bear to keep on watching, but I will,“ stammers Michelle Peter-Jones. „Just like every other Arsenal fan, I’m a glutton for punishment.“ Golly, perhaps I wasn’t so far off the mark with that earlier reference to S&M aficionados …

75 mins: Adebayor emerges as a surprising pacifist … he’s just intervened in some churlish finger-wagging between Bellamy and Wilshere.

76 mins: Wilshere booked for a late tackle. City change: Wirght-Phillips off, Weiss on. „When will Arsenal have strength in depth?“ demands Ali Musa. „By the time the players develop biceps, they’ve jumped ship to Italy. Wenger may as well throw on the bench itself.“

78 mins: Song somehow escapes with a booking after bodychecking Ireland to the ground to prevent a clear goal-scoring chance. That was surely a red card offence. „This looks like it will be the third game in a row that Arsenal will not score,“ notes Trey Howard. „How will Wenger blame the ref in this game?“

79 mins: Bellamy smacks a freekick into the wall, and then, after it had reboundedx to him, smashes a fine effort into Fabianski’s arms from 25 yards. „Alan green just took over commentary on BBC and started slagging City off, just then SWP broke and hammered in a beauty“ gushes Richard Clarke. „I love it when anyone, especially my beloved city cracks a boot into Alan Green’s proverbial goolies.“ I’m not familiar with that particular proverb, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want you to educate me.

81 mins: Play has become scrappy, Arsenal are frustrated, and there are now lots of fouls all over the pitch, Kompany, Ramsey and Bellamy all going into the book within seconds of each other. „Wenger reminds me of King Canute-sitting against the tide of modern football economics,“ recalls Patrick Smith. „At this point we have to ask is he principled or simply arrogant. To believe that he alone will some how best canada goose jacket for skiing manage to buy all his players on the cheap and that they will work for him for less and that he will against all the odds manage to find a whole squad in this manner and beat all the other scouting networks combined to this end and continually find the hidden gems for his crown where no else can.“

83 mins: Two Arsenal corners easily cleared in the space of a minute.

85 mins: As Arsenal strive for salvation, Song is continually stepping out of defence in a bid to inject more thrust into midfield. Which says it all really.

87 mins: Top save by Fabianski, or slack finishing from Bellamy. Barry teed up the Welshman with an incisive pass, and after taking his time to size up his options, Bellamy blasted straight at Fabianski from 12 yards.

GOAL! Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal (Weiss 90′) How pointedly ironic that it is a City youngster who gets his name in lights tonight. Bellamy did all the groundwork, flying down the left past comically inept challenges from Eboue and Song and then firing the ball across the six-yard box, where the young Slovakian arrived to slam it into the roof of the net.

90+2 mins: Good effort by Merida! His curler from 20 yards beat Given but came back off the bar. „I just had a look at the Chelsea team tonight,“ admits Alastair Lees. „Its average age must be at least 30 (a guess). Reserves maybe, but hardly for the future.“

Full-time: City’s sequence of nine consecutive quarter-finals defeats in all competitions reaches an end in emphatic fashion. Their expensively assembled first team has quashed Arsenal’s reserves, who though tidy in patches, looked like they could have benefited from having a couple more seasoned warriors alongside them. Thanks for following it here. Please call again.