Manchester City kept the gap to within seven points over Manchester United as they comfortably saw off Arsenal in a game that finished with both sides having ten men.
Laurent Koscielny’s early sending off was met by a chorus of boos from the home support after he was adjudged to have fouled Edin Dzeko inside the penalty area and deny the City striker a goalscoring opportunity.
Despite Dzeko missing the resultant penalty, Arsenal were immediately on the back foot, with a man disadvantage.
Arsenal seemed to lose their heads, and a quick free-kick was finished off by James Milner before Dzeko had the simplest of finishes after David Silva’s initial effort was saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
City captain Vincent Kompany was sent off late in the second half for a two footed challenge on Jack Wilshere, but it was too late for the Gunners.
With the game significant to any title ambitions Man City still held, they were given an early opportunity. Koscielny pulled down Edin Dzeko inside the six yard box and received a straight red card by referee Mike Dean, as the official followed his interpretation of the rule book .
Edin Dzeko took the resulting penalty, but the strike was a poor one from Dzeko, and was saved at the second attempt by Szczesny.
Despite an early penalty miss, City soon were in front. A quick free-kick was slipped through by Tevez to find the run of James Milner, who finished brilliantly across Szczesny to erase any memories of the earlier penalty miss.
Manchester City were dominating the match and Carlos Tevez struck a fierce shot before Javi Garcia headed wide after a short corner routine was swung in by Gareth Barry.
City doubled their lead shortly after. Tenacious work from Pablo Zabaleta allowed Milner time to pick a cross and find David Silva, his original effort was parried only for Edin Dzeko to tap in and compound Arsenal’s misery.
Arsenal did have a sight of goal when good link up play between the returning Abou Diaby and Lukas Podolski forced a simple save out of Joe Hart.
Despite Arsenal improving after the break, they never really looked like troubling an organised Man City outfit. Cazorla hit a shot over the bar before substitute Olivier Giroud headed over from six yards.
However, it was Manchester City who had the clearest opportunity. Carlos Tevez was put through by Dzeko, and as he tried to round the goalkeeper, Szczesny kept any hope Arsenal had intact with a good low save.
City were then reduced to ten men themselves. Captain Vincent Kompany lunged in at Jack Wilshere, for which Mike Dean issued the red card.
Theo Walcott had a late effort cleared off the line but Manchester City held on for a vital victory that keeps them in the hunt for the Premier League title, their first victory at Arsenal since 1975.