Benarbia soars on Keegan's big dipper

Sheffield Wednesday 2 Manchester City 6
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The Independent Online

City's extraordinary start under Kevin Keegan's win-or-bust style of management continued with yet another breathtaking performance, this time producing a result that was emphatically in their favour. Two goals each for Paulo Wanchope and Shaun Goater, supplemented by the impressive Algerian Ali Ben-arbia and Danny Granville, brought a second away victory in a season in which City's eight First Division matches so far have generated 40 goals.

It was rollercoaster football of the kind by which Keegan's teams are inevitably characterised. City fans reacted with little more than raised eyebrows as the home side took a third-minute lead, Owen Morrison's cross from the left catching the defence flat-footed as the Argentinian Pablo Bonvin, making his first start, stuck out a boot to divert the ball into Nicky Weaver's net.

Though City conceded four goals in each of their last two away games, a single-goal set-back is not necessarily a cause for concern. Against a side short of experience, the incl-ination to attack as the best form of defence brought them two goals in three minutes.

There seemed little danger as City attacked the left flank but, after cutting inside, Ben-arbia squeezed a drive from just inside the area past Kevin Pressman at his near post. It was a second goal for City's new recruit, signed from Paris St-Germain on a free transfer, following one in the 4-3 defeat at Coventry last week.

Worse followed for Pressman. Three minutes later, Stuart Pearce launched a long free-kick for Goater to chase. With Pressman and the defender Ashley Westwood waiting for each other to deal with it, Goater stretched out a long leg and lobbed over Pressman.

Caught cold a second time two minutes into the second half as Leigh Bromby headed home Morrison's free-kick to haul Wednesday level again, City came up with an even better response, three goals in 11 minutes. With huge holes appearing in defence, Wanch-ope released Granville into unguarded space on the left.

Then came two goals in two minutes, each created by Ben-arbia, whose clever touches have earned him instant popularity. After his precise chip onto Wanchope's head for a fourth goal after 67 minutes, he threaded a sublime pass through a crowded box and Goater skipped around Pressman to score his 10th goal this season. Wanchope's penalty 12 minutes from the end compounded Wednesday's misery.

Keegan, to general incred-ulity, said he was not entirely happy. "It may be entertaining," he said. "But we are giving away too many goals and I'd honestly be pleased to win our next match 1-0."

Sheffield Wednesday 2

Bonvin 3, Bromby 47

Manchester City 6

Benarbia 32, Goater 35, 70, Granville 59, Wanchope 68, pen 80

Half-time: 1-2 Attendance: 25,731

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