FULL TIME: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City.
... and that's that. City won the first half, while Arsenal were the better team in the second but didn't score any goals, which is very Arsenal. Everybody should be happy enough with their efforts, and will be toweling themselves down vigorously as you read this. Right, any sport going on elsewhere?
90 min: A final change for City, Aguero replaced by Lopes. Vermaelen romps upfield, and has a weak flash at goal. And then, Howard Webb puts the whistle to his lips....
89 min: It's still raining.
87 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain has another pop from distance. Again it's as close as it's possible to get, an effort from 30 yards that flirts with the top-left corner but drifts just wide of the post. Meanwhile there's another change by City: Razak is replaced by Suarez.
86 min: Arsenal are passing it around a lot, and going absolutely nowhere.
84 min: Carlos Tevez is replaced by the 17-year-old George Evans.
82 min: Afobe isn't far away from breaking into the area down the inside-left channel. He eventually loses control after a bustling run, hardly surprising in these conditions.
80 min: It is belting down in Beijing, Greater Manchester. Puddles are forming on the pitch. I would say this has suddenly descended into meaningless farce, but, well, you know.
79 min: Eastmond, haring down the inside-right channel, flashes a delicious drive across the face of goal as he lashes onto a clever backheel from Chamakh. That wasn't far away from creeping into the bottom-left corner.
77 min: Song is replaced by... er, erm, look can I blame the new MBM tools for this? City meanwhile make their second change, swapping Yaya Toure for Johnson.
76 min: Gibbs wheechs a rising shot towards the top-left corner. The ball was probably sailing wide, but it was hit with enough force to scare Pantilimon into turning the ball behind anyway. The corner... well.
73 min: Aneke turns on a blade of grass, 30 yards out, and zips a wonderful shot towards the bottom-right corner in one smooth movement. Pantilimon is behind it all the way, and parries clear. The lively Arsenal youngster is soon coming right back at City, looking to break clear down the inside-right channel, but can't control the ball, which is shepherded behind for a goal kick by Savic.
70 min: Tevez powers down the right. Once he's level with the area he slides a pass into Aguero, who should score, but dinks the ball over the advancing Fabianski and to the right of the target. Cute, but too cute.
69 min: Gibbs is finding an awful lot of space down the left, but every time he's sent clear, he can only find a City head with a hopeless, aim-free cross.
68 min: Stair rods are coming down in Beijing. The rain is rat-a-tat-tatting on the microphones in a dull, repetitive, and very irritating manner. It's like one long, never-ending action replay during the Olympic football coverage.
65 min: A couple more changes for Arsenal: Eastmond and Aneke come on for Jenkinson and Gervinho. It's almost like watching England under Sven.
64 min: Arsenal tiki-taka it around for a couple of minutes, but then are reeling after a misplaced pass allows Boyata to hoick a long ball up the centre to set Tevez two-on-two. He draws both defenders towards him, then haplessly clanks the ball into one of them as he looks to slip Aguero free down the inside-right. That should probably have been the third.
62 min: Song chips a pass down the middle for Chamakh, who helps the ball further forward with his soft eyebrows and into the hands of Pantilimon.
61 min: Afobe comes on for Andre Santos.
60 min: City have achieved next to nothing up front during this half so far. Some of that's down to Arsenal's improved tempo, but mainly they appear to have the brandy out and cigars on. It's almost as though they're under the impression this game means nothing.
57 min: Kompany is replaced by Boyata.
56 min: Oxlade Chamberlain is so unfortunate. He picks up the ball just to the right of the City D, and unleashes a stunning shot which twangs off the right-hand upright, flies straight along the line, and strums the left-hand post before flying out. That all happened in approx 0.0000000034 seconds. Pantilimon had put down roots. Superb attempt.
55 min: Another run by Gervinho, who has been busy without looking particularly dangerous. He shimmies and shakes down the right, but is eventually bundled off the ball by Zabaleta. Arsenal have certainly upped the tempo.
51 min: It's pelting down in the Bird's Nest. The Ox goes on a baroque ramble down the left, cuts inside, and feeds the ball inside to GIbbs, who in turn releases Gervinho, cutting in from the right. Gervinho digs a shot out, having let the ball run half-a-circumference behind him, and it's a decent effort, but Pantilimon tips over. That's the end of the attack, modern corners being what they are.
48 min: A reasonably uneventful opening to the half - a lot of high-speed puff and bluster. Which gives me time to tell you that we're having a few technical issues with our email, so there's probably little point sending in your usual quips, bons mots, low-level abuse, death threats, etc. You'll just be screaming into the void. Apologies, you know we still love you, right? We may be new and shiny, but it's still the same old us.
And we're off again!
Three changes for Arsenal: Walcott, Diaby and Arteta are replaced by Chamakh, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
We're looking to add animations like this to the MBMs in time for Rio 2016. Stay tuned!
HALF TIME: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
44 min: GOAL!!! Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City
Arsenal are all over the shop here. Jenkinson is once again on his holidays, allowing Kolarov the run of the left wing. He steams into the area, and flicks a low ball across the six-yard box to Tevez, who miskicks into the general direction of Yaya Toure, the big man bundling home from a couple of yards.
42 min: City tiki-taka it around the middle awhile.
40 min: GOAL!!! Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City
City don't throw a chance away this time. Jenkinson is in all sorts of bother upfield as Biton tears down the left in acres of space. He rolls a pass inside to Yaya Toure, who shuttles the ball further wide right to Zabaleta. The Argentinian bombs into the box and sends an instant pearler into the bottom-left corner. All very pretty.
39 min: City really should have taken the lead here. Yaya Toure bursts into the Arsenal half. He's got options either side of him, plus the chance to power forward to the box and take a shot himself. But he eventually plays a pass out wide to Aguero, causing the forward to check slightly. Aguero cuts inside and looks to curl one into the top left, but it's never happening. Arsenal were in all sorts of trouble, light at the back, but City threw it away.
36 min: This is all Arsenal at the minute. With everyone else asleep, Arteta chases down a ball bouncing along the byline to the right of the City goal. He hoicks the ball back into the centre for Santos, but Kompany and Zabaleta combine to bundle the ball away.
34 min: Jenkinson has a crack from distance. It's decent enough, but always rising high. Then Gervinho has a shoogle and a shake down the inside-right, nearly setting up Arteta with a pull-back.
31 min: Walcott shimmies in from the left and unleashes a rising shot towards the top-right corner. It really isn't too far away at all, but with Pantilimon fingering thin air in desperation, the ball sails just over the woodwork.
30 min: Yaya Toure is this close to slipping Aguero free into the Arsenal area, but he's block-tackled marvellously by Jenkinson on the edge of the D. That was superlative last-ditch defending.
28 min: Gibbs and Santos combine down the left, opening City up. The ball's pulled back to Walcott, free in acres just inside the area, in a fairly central position. He wastes one split-second too many in getting his shot away, and it's stopped by Kompany. By Kompany's hand? Possibly, though I don't care. Which is a legitimate stance to take, by the way, because none of the Arsenal players seem particularly bothered by the possibility either, for reasons that should be fairly obvious to us all.
25 min: Well, this was pretty poor for a while, but City respond to that decent period of Arsenal pressure with a sortie upfield of their own. Aguero drops a shoulder this way, then shimmies that way, and so nearly rips clear of Jenkinson down the inside-left channel. He gets a shot away, but it's deflected up and over the bar. So close to the opening goal. This is better. We can upgrade everyone's status to: jet lagged semi-interested millionaires ambling around China. Who needs the biggest sporting event on Earth?
23 min: Jenkinson bombs down the inside-right channel and attempts to send a fizzer into the bottom-right corner. It's not a bad effort, especially as the clumsy bugger's sent a Heskeyesque clump of turf after the ball. Pantilimon tips the ball round the post. From the corner, Santos attempts to curl one into the top-left corner from distance, but gets a wee bit too much on the effort. A decent one, though.
20 min: Yaya Toure trundles down the inside-right channel after a long ball. For a second, he's clear on goal, but the man who almost single-handedly won City the title last season during that run-in can't get a shot away. Bartley battles well to shoulder ahead of the City midfielder, and makes off with the ball. That's marvellous defending from a promising young player.
17 min: "Would it be wrong to assume you drew the short straw?" is Phil Withall's rhetorical gambit. "Biggest sporting event on Earth vs jet lagged disinterested millionaires ambling around China?" Ah but. Not a great deal going on here, and I can put my feet up to watch the opening ceremony tonight with the popcorn on. So it's not a bad deal, all told. If the Mike Sammes Singers don't make an appearance, mind you, that's when the funky cloud will come down.
13 min: Kolarov picks the ball up on the left, takes a touch past Jenkinson, who might as well have not been there, and takes a whack from just outside the area. The ball's deflected out for a corner, luckily for Arsenal as Fabianski was wrong-footed by the deflection, the ball so nearly flying into the left-hand side of the unguarded goal. Nowt happens from the corner, setting a theme for next year's Premier League I'll be bound.
10 min: Better from Walcott, who cuts inside from the right and slides a low ball across the front of the City box. Diaby shapes to have a dig, but he's crowded out of it very quickly. Both teams are happy to throw men forward, but nothing's quite coming off yet.
8 min: Walcott tries to diddle Kolarov down the right, but miscontrols and is hounded out of it easily enough.
8 min: Walcott tries to diddle Kolarov down the right, but miscontrols and is hounded out of it easily enough.
8 min: Walcott tries to diddle Kolarov down the right, but miscontrols and is hounded out oESC
10 PRINT "8 min: Walcott tries to diddle Kolarov down the right, but miscontrols and is hounded out of it easily enough."
20 GOTO 10
5 min: Arsenal show upfield for the first time, winning a free kick down the right. From the set piece, Bartley, formerly of poor old Rangers, nearly sends a header goalwards at the far post, but can only force a corner. Nothing comes from that.
4 min: Yaya Toure skedaddles down the right, cuts inside, and feeds Tevez, who shovels a lame shot goalwards. This is a bright start by the champions.
3 min: A bit of space for Zabaleta down the left. He zips in a low cross towards Tevez, but Vermaelen is on hand to snuff out the danger.
1 min: Aguero is set clear down the middle by a long ball, but he's marginally offside, although Jenkinson does his best to play him on. Then Song scampers after a hoof down the right, but the ball's cut out before the Arsenal man can get to it. A nice old-fashioned start, with a couple of big aimless hoofs and a lot of over-excitement. This is England!
And we're off!
The teams take to the pitch, City in their powder blue, Arsenal in their equally traditional (yes it is) red and white outfit with little bits of dark blue on it. And to a soundtrack of vuvuzelas - thank God they're back! - City get the ball rolling.
Look who the referee is: Howard Webb (England). Is there anything this man can't do?
Advance apology: As you can see, the Guardian has some fancy new MBM tools.
Obviously, change is a good thing. We can now very quickly, and at speed, go bold, do italics, and write lists using bullet points about how we can
- go bold
- do italics, and
- write lists using bullet points
but it does mean I could make even more mistakes than usual during this match. So sorry for anything that goes down, but we can't progress without pain. Gideon Osbourne would be so proud of us.
Well done, Guardian!
is what he'd say between mouthfuls of foie gras. (We can do big red quotes now too, by the way.)
Kick off: 1pm (BST, which is all that matters during London 2012, if we can't be insular now, when can we be?)
But will we actually learn anything about the destination of the next Premier League title from this game? Possibly. Maybe. Probably not. Take a look at the teams:
Arsenal: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Bartley, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Song, Andre Santos, Walcott, Gervinho.
Subs: Szczesny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Chamakh, Miyaichi, Yennaris, Eastmond, Miquel, Aneke, Eisfeld, Afobe.
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure, Savic, Kolarov,
Toure Yaya, Biton, Razak, Tevez, Aguero.
Subs: Holmen Johansen, Adam Johnson, Suarez, Boyata, Scapuzzi, Lopes, Evans.
It's still worth a gander, though, right? Right!
The wait is over: the London 2012 curtain goes up today! So, naturally, for the Guardian's first live sporting coverage of the fortnight, let's head off to the venue of the 2008 Olympics, the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing! Yes, it's a friendly between The Arsenal and Manchester City. After all, London 2012 is so 2012; we're all about 2013 now, and the destination of the next Premier League title. Do keep up.