Arsenal etched out a victory (2-1) over Sunderland. There is now some hope in the Arsenal ranks. They outplayed Sunderland and there were no defensive lapses. Sunderland scored from a well taken free kick by Sebastian Larsson.
Wenger started Arteta, Rosicky and Song in mid-field. Rosicky played one of his better games in years as he made quite a few penetrative dribbles. Song was his usual outstanding self, excelling both offensively and defensively. Arteta has cooled off since the season began and frequently becomes a non-factor in the midst of the soccer drama. Gervinho has become a non-factor and when replaced by Arshavin, we saw something of the old Arshavin as if he appears to have awakened from his Siberian slumber.
Vermaelen and Diaby are expected to be back shortly. Diaby, perhaps, can apply that pace and penetration in mid-field that can make Arsenal more than an also-run team in the Premier League.Balotelli: From Woe to Wow
Last season when Mario Balotelli was making a fool of himself, picking up red cards, snarling at referees, manifesting a poor work rate on the field, it was Gareth Barry who stated that Balotelli was a player endowed with an abundance of football talent.
Against Aston Villa that talent was on display. Balotelli scored an incredible bicycle kick to break the deadlock. But it was not just the bicycle kick. There seems to be a new maturity to the impetuous Italian. His work rate has increased, he comes back to help defensively and he is now integrated into the Mancini aggregation.
Much credit for the emergence of a more professional Balotelli has to be given to Mancine. The Italian coach could easily have lost faith in Balotelli as he has lost faith in Carlos Tevez. Manchester City at this early juncture is the premier team in the Premier League. Manchester City has become a well-oiled attacking team. Milner and Barry are in top form. Under Mancini, Kompany has developed into an outstanding central defender and thus far this season DeJong is more composed and less reckless in his tackling. A great deal of money has been spent and Mancini has put all the pieces into place. Sir Alex Ferguson will have to dig deep to finish ahead of his Manchester counterpart in the English Premier League 2011-2012.