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5 talking points from the NPFL weekend


Mancini happy with point

Manchester manager Roberto Mancini hailed his side's defensive solidity after a goalless draw against Premier League title rivals Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

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The Gunners hit the woodwork through Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas in the first half and the visitors had goalkeeper Joe Hart to thank after he produced a wonderful fingertip save to deny van Persie on the hour.

"They had good chances in the first 15-20 minutes. After that they had good possession but didn't have more chances to score,'' Mancini said. "In the second half we played better but I think four games in 10 days is very hard and today we were missing important players.

"We wanted to win but Arsenal played better than us, maybe. We defended very well in the second half. If we came here with all players I think it could have been another game but four games, 10 points in 10 days is good. I think it was important not to lose this game.''

Both teams finished with 10 men after full-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna were shown straight red cards by referee Mike Jones for a needless clash on the far touchline.

On the double dismissal towards the end, the Italian added: "For me it's not a sending off. For me, two yellow cards was enough.''

City defender Kolo Toure was also delighted with his team's defensive display.

"It was very important tonight because it's always difficult to come here and get points,'' Toure told Sky Sports after a man-of-the-match display helped shut out his former club.

"We wanted to get three points but it was a really difficult game. Arsenal are really in form at the moment. The draw is really good. The team played really well and Joe made some fantastic saves.

"Strikers win you games but defenders win you titles. It was difficult to have chances because Arsenal played very well, but it's good that we didn't lose the game.''

Hart added: "That just shows how much grit and determination we've got. We led a charmed life but the goals are the same size in every game so they've got to put it into the net.''

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger agreed with his City counterpart that the two red cards could have been avoided.

He said: "They looked harsh to me, for both of them. I would have to look at it again. I thought it was a foul for Sagna, and then they just bumped into each other's head. You can give it, you can not give it... I thought it could be yellow cards but unfortunately it was two reds.''

Wenger felt City had come to the Emirates looking for a point but took positives from his side's display.

"In the end the positive is that we kept a clean sheet. Of course, the frustration is that we didn't score. Overall, I feel the way we dominated the game is very positive and we have to rely on our game and keep going.

"I feel we had more chances than you usually have in this type of game. They looked to me like they were set up not to lose. For me, they were happy with 0-0. I don't criticise them for that because they defended well and they deserve credit for that.''


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