The injuries and suspensions Arsenal faced made it difficult enough even without the cloud of the Gallas factor, but our record of 1 win in 23 against the Gunners evokes some disconcerting memories in recent years against them.
A surprise was sprung with the selection of Hart in goal - perhaps a real indication that Hughes does not hold too much confidence in Kasper Schmeichel, and defensively we looked as good as we have done all season, with Arsenal restricted to only one or two real chances and Hughes cited the defence as the platform for the victory:
"I thought that was key to the performance today, Dunnie & Micah were really solid and both full backs were prepared to put their foot in, and attack at the right times. That gave us the defensive platform to enable the rest of the team to force the issue.
"I am really pleased because what we have lacked on occasions this year was there for all to see, so we are delighted. Irrespective of circumstances purporting to be around Arsenal, you know facing them will be difficult and you have to perform – which is just what we did."
The first half was largely nondescript from both sides, but with the goal on the stroke of half time it allowed us to really kick on after the break, and some of our attacking forays were superb, carving Arsenal apart time and time again with Wright-Phillips, Ireland and Robinho again impressing - with Robinho's goal a joy to behold.
There were also solid performances from Vassell and Benjani - who linked well with the midfield but does he much different to Jo? Elano was once again on the bench, and yesterday's performance is unlikely to see him back in the side.
One negative aspect was Robinho's ankle injury, which Hughes confessed that whilst not serious. may be enough to keep him out of Thursday's UEFA tie at Schalke.
A big start then as we head into a crucial couple of weeks, but as good as yesterday was, there are likely to be stiffer tests that lie ahead on the horizon.
How pleasing to see us play football and graft in the same game. This, I imagine, is the sort of synthesis that Hughes has been aiming for. >>tldorc.
GOALS from Stephen Ireland, Robinho and Daniel Sturridge earned three much-needed points for City as the Blues piled on more misery for Arsenal. >>MEN.
Manchester City could, should, have had four or five and on the long drive back down the M6, Wenger will have been agonising over how to rescue a season that has descended into farce over the last week. >>telegraph.co.uk
WHEN Robinho killed off Arsenal with the impertinent lob that made it 2-0, he ran to the touchline to celebrate with Elano. It was a gesture of solidarity with the substitute and a rebuke towards Mark Hughes, with whom Elano enjoys cool relations, if only a mild and momentary one. >>timesonline.
Suddenly, that outburst doesn't sound so out of synch after all. "Not brave enough in battle," was one of several ways that William Gallas defined Arsenal in midweek and yes, that pretty much tells the story. >>independent.co.uk
No captain, no goals, no points, no chance of the title. Dispensing with their loudly critical leader on the field helped Arsenal's cause not one iota here. William Gallas remained in the home counties, but his words of criticism were physically embodied in his team-mates at the City of Manchester Stadium. >>observer.co.uk
Sometimes you can look at a game and think the scoreline is one that you didn't deserve but yesterday was not one of those days. >>arseblog.