Yesterday was a good day for the Manchester clubs in the Premier League, as both Manchester United and Manchester City claimed victories in big games.
Manchester United defeated old foes Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford in the early kick-off.
United took the lead on 19 minutes. United worked the ball well and Patrice Evra’s cross was swept home with a first touch finish from goal machine Robin Van Persie.
The Dutchman could have doubled United’s lead in the 27th minute, but the striker fired over from inside the area after Ashley Young had found him with a good pass.
The home side extended their lead in the 53rd minute. Robin Van Persie delivered a dangerous free-kick into the penalty area, Patrice Evra headed towards goal and hit teammate Nemanja Vidic, the deflection was enough to send the ball past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
Liverpool looked far livelier in the second half and got a goal back four minutes later. Midfielder Steven Gerrard struck a long-range effort which was palmed away by David de Gea and substitute Daniel Sturridge had the simplest task of scoring with the rebound.
It was Sturridge’s first Premier League appearance for the Reds and the former-Chelsea man made a good impression.
Liverpool pushed for an equaliser in the last 15 minutes and Sturridge had a glorious chance to equalise late-on, but the striker ballooned his effort over the bar when well-placed in the penalty area.
Despite looking more off a threat to the United goal in the second half Liverpool couldn’t find a second goal, as the home side claimed maximum points and a ten point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
United’s victory put pressure on second place Manchester City and the champions responded with a 2-0 victory at Arsenal, as both teams finished the game with ten men. City were handed a big helping hand in the tenth minute.
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny was adjudged to have dragged City striker Edin Dzeko down in the penalty area. Referee Mike Riley pointed to the spot and produced a red card for the Gunners defender.
The Bosnian striker decided to take the resulting spot kick himself. However Dzeko’s penalty was saved by the legs of Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny, hit the post and rolled back into the greatful arms of Polish stopper.
It didn’t take City long to gain the lead though, as the opening goal arrived on 20 minutes. Striker Carlos Tevez played a clever ball to England international James Milner and the midfielder struck an effort with venom past Szczesny from 12 yards out.
City doubled their lead on 32 minutes. James Milner broke down the right wing and found Tevez with a low cross; the Argentine’s low effort was parried by Szczesny, only for Edin Dzeko to tap home the rebound.
Spanish midfielder Javi Garcia was denied a third goal for the visitors by a goal-line by Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere before the break. The home side produced a far more spirited second half performance, but City had the best early chance in the second half, Edin Dzeko heading over at the back post from James Milner’s cross.
City had another chance with 20 minutes left on the clock, Carlos Tevez failing to beat Szczesny when put through one-on-one with the Pole. Arsenal substitute Oliver Giroud headed wide before the most controversial incident of the clash.
Vincent Kompany went in hard with Jack Wilshere and looked to have got the ball. However referee Mike Dean saw it differently and sent off the Belgium defender for a two footed tackle. The City bench and players were furious about the decision.
The sending off led to a period of Arsenal dominance, but it only really lead to one clear-cut chance, with a Theo Walcott effort being cleared off the line by City substitute Joleon Lescott.
Nothing fell for the Gunners late-on and City held on for three crucial points in the pursuit of arch-rivals Manchester United. City are now seven points behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at the Premier League summit.
Did referee Mike Dean get the big decisions right in the Arsenal vs. Manchester City clash?