Verdict: Arsenal 0 Manchester City 0

City went to an in-form Arsenal with the intention of not coming away empty handed. In that regard, 0-0 was mission accomplished and Roberto Mancini was apologising to no-one for his tactics.

The only surprise was that so many people were surprised by this. The clues were all there leading up to the game.

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Player ratings: Arsenal v Manchester City

Hart – A faultless display as Joe took the opportunity to remind everyone why he’s England’s number one. The save from a long range Van Persie strike was the pick of the bunch. 8

Richards – His steady rehabilitation under the tutelage Mancini continues. Stuck to his duties all night and warranted his recall. 7

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Preview: Arsenal v Manchester City

City ought to be heading to the Emirates full of confidence following a maximum nine points from the festive period. However, injuries ruling out David Silva and Mario Balotelli are undermining that view and Tevez is likely to need to rediscover his goalscoring touch.

Along with the absences, a major concern is the effect of fatigue on the players in this, the last of four matches being played in quick succession. Both Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure can drop off the pace when not at their freshest, and against Arsenal this could be costly.

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Verdict: Manchester City 1 Blackpool 0

City continued their excellent Christmas form with a deflected Adam Johnson shot providing the only goal in a victory over Blackpool. It should have been more, but Carlos Tevez kept the game interesting by reverting to his Manchester United form – showing plenty of skill and enthusiasm without being able to finish.

Roberto Mancini’s temper was raised early on as both returning full-backs, Boateng and Kolarov, were slack in their defensive duties. This prompted the manager to have Zabaleta and Richards warming up after only a couple of minutes.

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