- Venue:St Andrews Stadium
- Referee:Webb, H
Its all over at St Andrews! And a late freak injury time goal from Phillips means the points are shared at Birmingham. Arsenal will argue that they deserved to win, but failure to convert pressure into goals has told in the end.
Kevin Phillips scores! He didn't know much about it, however sub Kevin Phillips has been hit in the face by the ball, and its looped over Almunia to level the scores!
Carr is booked for fouling Arshavin.
Bowyer fails to capitalise on a great chance for Birmingham after Almunia's original punch clearence found the City player, Bowyer however could not compose himself and the ball sailed into the stands.
It seems the Nasri substitution was a great piece of tatical work from Wenger, with him and Arshavin really making a difference since their introduction.
Gardner enters the referee's book after he fouls Diaby.
Kevin Phillips comes on to replace Cameron Jerome.
Samir Nasri scores! The Arsenal player picks the ball up in the middle of the park, he goes on a run and strikes from distance to give Arsenal a deserved lead.
Christian Benitez replaces James McFadden.
Diaby has the ball in the back of the net! However Howard Webb has blown the whistle for an earlier foul by the Frenchman, some Gunners fans though might be thinking that decision was on the soft side.
Good period of pressure from Arsenal as Nasri has a crack on goal, Hart is equal to it however, but the Gunners certainly on top.
A great cross comes in for Bendtner at the back post. Johnson goes up to clear it, but he misses the header, the Danish Striker isn't prepared for this however and watches as the ball floats by.
Sagna puts in a cross and its met by Bendtner, but his effort goes wide of the post.
Double change for the Gunners as Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri come on to replace Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky.
Song seems to be hobbling as well now, but he seems to be running it off, which will be a relief for Wenger.
Ferguson puts in a great free-kick that Johnson flicks onto the post! The ball then hits Dann and somehow, from only a couple of yards out, goes over the bar!
Arsenal on the attack again, with Diaby trying provide Walcott with a delicate through ball, Birmingham are able to intercept however. Arsenal are certainly on top, and need to make this pressure count.
Diaby has a great chance! He received the ball on the edge of the box, but he decides to strike the ball straight at Joe Hart, either side of the City keeper and that could have been the lead.
Arsenal have scored 17 goals in the last 6 games, however a sterdy City home defence has meant the Gunners are yet to add that total.
McFadden applies great pressure on Sol Campbell, and the defender is forced to head the ball out for a corner, however, there is an offside from the resulting play and Arsenal can clear the danger.
Rosicky cracks and effort from well outside the box, it takes an uncomfortable dip for Hart, but the keeper is equal to it.
The game restarts, and Fabregas is still present in the side, so the Spaniard, it seems, is now fine.
Howard Webb blows his whistle and the sides head into the break with the scores at a deadlock. Arsenal had the upper hand at first, but as the haf went on, City certainly proved that they're not out of this either.
Sagna does well to head Gael Clichy's ball across the face of the goal, but no Arsenal player is there to take advantage.
Johnson heads clear for Birmingham, however, the header is a poor one and Walcott attempts to volley home from the edge of the box, he fails to make a proper connection and Hart saves easily.
Fabregas is running with more freedom now after a touchline discussion with Wenger, perhaps the Gunners midfielder has been told to make it to the break for future assesment.
Fabregas seems to be struggling, he's attempting to run it off, but at the moment its not looking good for the Arsenal playmaker.
Jerome also tries his luck with an effort on goal, Almunia tips the ball wide, City are on the ascent!
Manuel Almunia makes a good save from a James McFadden effort from range.
Walcott is the aim of a great diagional through ball, however its just too long for him, and hart is able to collect the ball and stop the danger.
Gael Clichy is booked for bringing down Craig Gardner on the wing.
Arsenal are certainly the team on top so far in this half, however the Gunners have yet to capitalise on this pressure, and this will give City hope.
Sol Campbell has a clear header on goal from a Fabregas corner, but the effort goes over the bar and the scores remain level.
Walcott puts good pressure on Dann, and the City player loses possession of the ball in a dangerous area, keeper Hart however reads the danger well and comes out to stop the Arsenal youngster before he can get a shot on goal.
Alexandre Song is cautioned as he brings down James McFadden in a late tackle.
Birmingham play Arsenal at their own game and hit the Gunners on the break, however a poor ball ends that particular move.
James McFadden tries his luck from range, and his shot goes just wide of the post.
Craig Gardner has an effort on goal, but its goes safely over the bar, Arsenal however, have made the stronger start in the opening 10 minutes.
St Andrews of course was the scene of Eduardo's horrific leg break 2 years ago, he starts on the bench today, along with an Arsenal bench high in quality with players like Andrey Arshavin ready to come on and make the difference.
Diaby has a great effort on goal early on after Rosicky provides the pass, the shot however is deflected wide, and the resulting corner is collected by Hart.
Arsenal will be looking to make it 7 wins on the bounce in the League while Birmingham will be hoping to continue their fantastic home record as referee Howard Webb gets the game underway.
Arsenal make 4 changes with Sagna,Diaby,Walcott & Rosicky in for the suspended Vermaelen, Eboue, Nasri & Arshavin begin on the bench as Arsenal start with;Almunia, Sagna, Campbell, Diaby, Clichy, Denilson, Song, Walcott, Fabregas, Rosicky, Bendtner
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish names an unchanged starting XI from the side that lost to Blackburn midweek as City start with; Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Gardner, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Jerome, McFadden
Arsenal will be looking to keep their Premier League title dream alive with a win against Birmingham City at St Andrew's on Saturday afternoon.
However, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger and his players have bad memories of seeing their aspirations derail at the Midlands outfit in the past.
Ahead of their game with the Blues at the end of February 2008, they sat atop the table, but a 2-2 draw and a shocking leg break for Croatia striker Eduardo, proved to be their downfall.
Three consecutive stalemates followed - against Aston Villa, Wigan and Middlesbrough - and a defeat at Chelsea started their spiral from the summit.
Wenger will be hoping his side are made of sterner stuff this time and he is likely to use their failings two years ago as his inspiration.
Arsenal have won their previous five league fixtures and they sit just two points adrift of leaders Manchester United and, with a favourable run-in, the Emirates Stadium-based club will be confident of going close this term.
Birmingham's form has taken a turn for the worst following a fantastic mid-season run that yielded seven wins and five draws from 12 fixtures.
They have won just one in the last four - at Portsmouth - and back-to-back defeats against Sunderland and at Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday has locked Alex McLeish's men in ninth spot.
Their unlikely European assault appears to be over, but a successful mid-table finish will be more than welcome for the side that won promotion from the Championship last season.
The visitors will be without Thomas Vermaelen through suspension following his dismissal in last weekend's victory against West Ham United.
Long-term absentees Aaron Ramsey (broken leg), Kieran Gibbs (metatarsal fracture), Robin Van Persie (ankle) and Johan Djourou (knee) are still sidelined.
William Gallas' calf problem is easing, but the contest may come too soon for the Frenchman.
Garry O'Connor (hip) and Lee Carsley (ankle) continue to be the only concerns for McLeish.
Birmingham may still be hurting from their loss to Arsenal earlier in the season in north London.
Kevin Phillips came to Birmingham City's rescue with a last-minute equaliser which denied Arsenal of a crucial victory, as the St Andrew's clash ended level at 1-1
It was a fitting contribution from the veteran striker who only appeared for the last six minutes of the game, but still managed to record the 250th goal of his career.
As a result of Phillips goal Arsenal followed in the footsteps of Manchester United and Chelsea in their failure to win at St. Andrew's.
They appeared to be heading for their seventh successive win following an 80th minute strike by Samir Nasri.
But Phillips popped up with his vital equaliser to enable Birmingham to extend their unbeaten home run to 12 games to equal their best record set up in 1973-74.
It was the first return of Eduardo to St Andrew's since his career threatening broken leg he sustained two years ago in an accident with Birmingham's Martin Taylor. But he only began on the substitutes bench.
The culture and skill of the Arsenal side was clearly evident. Abou Diaby was always prominent, while Cesc Fabregas stamped his mark on the proceedings in the early stages only to tail off as the game progressed.
Birmingham's endeavour kept them in the game with James McFadden demonstrating his potential danger with a low drive which went just wide.
A mistake by Liam Ridgewell let in Theo Walcott but Joe Hart bravely foiled the young Arsenal player on the edge of the area.
Increasing Arsenal pressure resulted in some stalwart defensive work by Roger Johnson to keep the Gunners at bay.
Like other opposition Arsenal discovered why Birmingham are defensively so strong at home.
Alex Song and Gael Clichy were booked to the annoyance of manager Arsene Wenger, who visibly made known his feelings to the officials.
Birmingham gained in confidence as demonstrated by Cameron Jerome firing in a shot which Manuel Almunia had to scramble across his goal to save.
Jerome's pace was a problem for the Gunners and he broke through again only to see Almunia make another scrambling move to his right to keep out the striker's effort.
Off the field tempers were became a little frayed on both benches with the two managers exchanging their views.
The Gunners stepped up a gear at the start of the second half but Birmingham continued to battle in a determined fashion.
Diaby, who often caught the eye, moved forward to threaten when he turned and shot from the edge of the area straight at Hart.
There was an incredible miss in the 62nd minute. Roger Johnson hit the far post following a Craig Gardner pass only to see his defensive colleague Scott Dann amazingly nudge the ball over the bar from only a couple of yards from the rebound.
Substitute Nasri wasted Arsenal's best scoring opportunity with a weak effort easily saved by Hart.
Nasri made no mistake in the 80th minute when he collected a pass, advanced unchecked and rifled in a low shot past the diving Hart.
But no team can underestimate the finishing skill of Phillips and he popped up with his face-saver from a Gardner pass.
Shots off target