Manchester City failed to show the ruthless streak that characterises Premier League winners but beat Arsenal anyway in a nervy, exciting match that should never have been as close as it was. City had the better chances to score throughout the game thanks to an Arsenal defence which quite clearly featured multiple players out of position.
The Gunners held out during an opening few minutes best described as an 'onslaught' and gave Joe Hart a few scares in the first half, but a goal was coming and it was David Silva who got it after Wojciech Szczesny failed to hold Mario Balotelli's driven cross from the left. Although Arsenal went forward regularly, their approach play was lacking and uncharacteristic sloppiness in possession gave the hosts ample chances to break forward and score the second. They failed to thanks to some awful finishing - Samir Nasri and Micah Richards really should have managed to put them further ahead - and some bad luck when Pablo Zabaleta's long-range drive cannoned off the post with Szczesny beaten.
As the game drew to a close, Arsene Wenger hurled his men forward and they came close to making City pay for their profligacy. Richards should probably have been called for a handball in the box on a cross, and Joe Hart was called into action thanks to a blistering shot from Thomas Vermaelen, keeping the game level as the clock ticked its way into injury time. It was the Belgian defender who fashioned the visitors' last chance to come away with a point, but his curling effort from range failed to creep inside Hart's right-hand post as Arsenal just failed to get an equiliser that they probably deserved, the match finishing 1-0.
City, of course, go top of the table again with the win (they'd been temporarily knocked off their perch thanks to Manchester United's 2-0 win away at Queens Park Rangers). Arsenal on the other hand fail to take advantage of Chelsea's slip up against Wigan, and drop to three points back of fourth place, level with Liverpool.