Arsenal damage Man City PL title hopes with 2-0 win over defending champions

Arsene WengerLondon, Jan 19 - Manchester City's 12-match unbeaten run was ended by Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger's men beat the defending champions 2-0 to damage Manuel Pellegrini's side's Premier League title hopes.

Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla helped Arsenal take the lead in the 24th minute, as he converted a penalty after Vincent Kompany fouled Nacho Monreal. Arsenal doubled their lead after the break when Cazorla's free-kick picked out Olivier Giroud and the France striker headed in from close range.

The result opened the gap between City and current leaders Chelsea to five points in the Premier League table, the BBC reported.

City and Arsenal played out a thrilling 2-2 draw when they met at Emirates Stadium in September, but their clash on Sunday was not as free flowing as that encounter.

Beforehand the focus had been the influence of Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero for Arsenal and City respectively.

Aguero had only returned from a month out with a knee ligament injury as a substitute in City's 1-1 draw with Everton a week ago, and the Argentine was relatively subdued by his standards.

Chile forward Sanchez, who has scored 12 goals for Wenger's side this season, was well shackled by the City defence. And instead Cazorla proved to be the game's outstanding attacking player and it was fitting that he was to have such an influential role with both goals.

City were under pressure was to beat Arsenal after leaders Chelsea beat Swansea City 5-0 in such imperious fashion at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, but the defending champions, who were without Yaya Toure, failed in their attempt as they lacked a player to dictate in midfield, the report added. (ANI)