English Premiership

Arsenal's title hopes over

2010-04-24 21:17
Arsenal's Sol Campbell and Robin van Persie. (AFP)

London - Arsenal's already slim hopes of pipping Manchester United and Chelsea for the Premier League title disappeared after a goalless draw with Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The point, which left third-placed Arsenal seven points behind United with only six available from their remaining two games, was of more use to City.

Roberto Mancini's men are currently fifth and hope to overtake Tottenham for fourth place and therefore qualify for the Champions League next season.

City's hopes of doing just that, which will hinge on a home game with Tottenham next month, have been hit, however, by what appears to be a serious injury to goalkeeper Shay Given.

The Republic of Ireland international was carried off on a stretcher in the second half after hurting a shoulder making a save.

Former Arsenal title winners Patrick Vieira and Kolo Toure were both in the City starting line-up.

Emmanuel Adebayor began on the bench, however, on his return to the club he left acrimoniously before this season started, with the Togo forward barracked by a large section of the Arsenal fans.

Adebayor angered Gunners' supporters earlier this season by running the length of the field to celebrate his goal in City's 4-2 win over Arsenal at Eastlands in September.

Robin van Persie was handed the Arsenal captaincy on his first start since suffering an ankle injury in November.

Bacary Sagna, the Arsenal defender, headed wide from an early corner but opening exchanges saw no clear chances.

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was dazed when Vincent Kompany's fair challenge saw his head hit the turf, but he was soon able to recover.

City defender Wayne Bridge had already taken a knock and was replaced by Micah Richards just before the half hour mark.

Van Persie used his pace to get into a shooting position but Toure arrived just in time to block.

Arsenal forced a couple of corners as the first-half neared an end but the second saw Mikael Silvestre head harmlessly over.

Samir Nasri forced Given into a save before van Persie found the side-netting with another effort from a similar position on the left.

Van Persie headed a Nasri cross over as Arsenal began the second half looking like they intended to change that sorry statistic.

On came Adebayor in the 51st minute to a hail of abuse after Vieira had been applauded off.

The City striker had passed a pre-match fitness test on a thigh injury to make the bench and was soon the subject of a robust challenge by Alex Song.

Tomas Rosicky sent a drive from the edge of the box straight at Given, who hurt a shoulder tipping a Diaby drive round a post.

The Irishman needed lengthy treatment and was eventually replaced by rookie Gunnar Nielsen, the Faroe Islands international, who was making his City and Premier League debut.

Nielsen was far busier in the closing minutes than Given had been all game but kept his composure to ensure City went back to the north-west with a valuable point.

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