Manchester City have exposed problems in the heart of Arsenal’s defence to seal a 2-0 friendly victory at Beijing’s Olympic stadium.
Two goals just before half-time from Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure proved enough for the Premier League champions against an Arsenal side without many of its key players – including wantaway captain Robin van Persie – on Friday.
The striker has been at the centre of transfer speculation linking him to both Manchester clubs. City boss Roberto Mancini earlier this week said he was a keen admirer of the Dutchman.
Arsenal started brightly in torrential rain at the “bird’s nest” stadium.
Theo Walcott – known as Xiao Laohu, or tiger cub in Chinese – burst through the right on four minutes to cross for fellow England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the chance was snuffed out by Stefan Savic.
Ten minutes later Gervinho weaved inside the box to lay off to Walcott, whose effort was blocked.
Walcott then created a chance for himself, much to the delight of the home crowd, who cheered his every move.
The forward made space just beyond the left-hand side of the penalty box, but his attempt to curl the ball into the right corner went narrowly wide.
Moments later Carlos Tevez darted into the box and attempted to play himself through by clipping the ball around Arsenal rookie Carl Jenkinson.
But the Argentinian pushed the ball too far and it ended up safely in the hands of Arsenal’s reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
City were beginning to gain the upper hand and went in front five minutes before half-time.
Defender Jenkinson was caught out of position and Yaya Toure dribbled beautifully into space before laying the ball off for the in-coming Zabaleta, who drilled home from inside the box.
City made it 2-0 just three minutes later, again taking advantage of some poor defending from Arsenal.
The dangerous-looking Aleksandar Kolarov ran into space down the left and cut a deep ball into the box which was laid off by Sergio Aguero for Yaya Toure to tap in from close range.
City took their foot off the pedal in the second half and defended deep, much to the frustration of Arsenal.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was unfortunate not to pull one back for Arsenal when he hit a rasping shot from the edge of the area which bounced off both posts.
Halfway through the second half, Tevez jostled past Kieran Gibbs to find space for himself on the right. He crossed for Aguero, who somehow missed the target from close range.