City midfielder involved in tunnel incident with former team-mate Frimpong after helping seal semi-final spot
ARSENAL 0 vs MANCHESTER CITY 1
ARSENAL midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong and former Gunner Samir Nasri were involved in a stormy verbal bust-up in the players’ tunnel after Manchester City dumped the north Londoners out of the Carling Cup.
A clinical late counter-attack finished by Sergio Aguero sent the Premier League leaders into the last four and punished an Arsenal side that promised much but failed to capitalise on the attacking verve of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And the action continued after the final whistle with youngster Frimpong and Nasri, who was booed relentlessly on his first match back at Emirates Stadium, carrying on a niggly duel that had flickered throughout the match. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted he had not been aware of the row, but a senior club source confirmed there had been a heated exchange involving Frimpong, who criticised Nasri when he left the Gunners in the summer, and the France playmaker.
Wenger praised the efforts of his side, whose combined cost was less than that of City matchwinner Aguero, and in particular Oxlade-Chamberlain, but blamed their defeat on “naive” defending.
“I don’t believe in luck,” he said. “I believe we had to stop the counter-attack and when you are on a corner, that is your job when you are a defender. You have to stop that. I felt we made it easy for them. They had a clear-cut chance and you couldn’t see them missing.”
England under-21 midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain was Arsenal’s biggest threat with repeated raids down the right, and Wenger added: “He looked the whole night like he could deliver something special. He has improved a lot already.”
Aguero, brought on after just half an hour for Aleksandar Kolarov, sealed City’s win after strike partner Edin Dzeko picked out Adam Johnson’s run, and he deftly laid off to the £38m Argentina star.
BY FRANK DALLERES
Costel Pantilimon’s superb reflex save from Ju-Young Park prevented Arsenal from taking an 11th-minute lead, and changed the complexion of the game. The Romanian looks a capable deputy for City’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Nasri can play better. This was the first time he came back to Arsenal and maybe he was a bit nervous. It’s not easy for a player to play here for a few years and come back. I think he can improve a lot. But i think it was the same situation with players who arrived last year, like Edin [Dzeko]. Samir is a champion. I’m sure he will improve. December and January will be crucial months. We play ever three days at the moment.
Man City manager, Roberto Mancini
If Marouane Chamakh’s latest anaemic performance does not prompt Wenger to consider signing better back-up for Robin van Persie in January, then what, if anything, will? The Moroccan ambled about up front to little effect, and did nothing to dispel the notion that his confidence is shot to pieces following a dire 2011. Ju-Young Park did little more and is too slight to lead the line. Wenger has £50m in the bank; surely it’s now time to invest in a reliable deputy for the prolific Dutchman.