Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Rosicky, Flamini, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud
Subs: Fabianski, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Kallstrom, Gnabry, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanogo
Arsenal restored some pride with a 1-1 draw against Man City at the Emirates this evening. Arsene Wenger made just one change to his side after the 2-2 draw with Swansea in midweek, bringing in Lukas Podolski in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while City were unchanged from their derby win over Man United.
The confidence of the visitors was obvious in the way they started the game with both Zabaleta and Navas threatening in the opening minutes. The Gunners had to be alert when City broke from an Arsenal corner, but Gibbs and Rosicky got back to snuff out the danger.
The oily billionaires had plenty of the ball but Arsenal got back into it for a spell with Tomas Rosicky going down in the box looking for a penalty, but in fairness to referee Mike Dead (ugh), the Czech went down looking for it.
But City’s pressure told in the 18th minute when they went ahead. Lukas Podolski lost the ball in the City half, they broke forward, played it into Dzeko whose shot cannoned back off the post and into the path of Silva. The ball seemed to just rebound off him and over the line. 0-1.
Arsenal had the ball in the net moments later but Flamini’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside, but they did show a response without ever really troubling Joe Hart in the City goal.
Samir Nasti found himself with a sight of goal after a poor Gibbs pass but Wojciech Szczesny was equal to the effort, before Yaya Toure picked up a booking when he hauled back Rosicky as the midfielder drove towards goal.
He was joined in the referee’s notebook by Vincent Kompany for a cynical block on Mikel Arteta, as Arsenal tried to get that equalising goal. Podolski broke down the left only to see his cross cut out by Demichelis.
Rosicky tried to drive Arsenal forward but his energy wasn’t matched by his teammates, and the Czech picked up a booking when he kicked Gael Clichy but the referee was a twat because Clichy deserved it for having stupid hair.
City were very much in control, however, and took their one goal lead into the break. There were no changes on either side at half-time.
City seemed content to sit back as Arsenal tried to make things happen, but in the early stages not much did. Tomas Rosicky tried a shot from distance which went well wide, before the game went mental.
Arsenal were lucky not to be 2-0 down when Szczesny got a hand to a low cross which rebounded just wide off Per Mertesacker, but moments later they were level.
Olivier Giroud did great in the corner area, Arsenal worked the ball over to the left hand side, Podolski whipped the ball in and Flamini hit it first time into the corner of Joe Hart’s net. 1-1.
The goal chance reinvigorated Arsenal and it could have been 2-1 a few minutes later when Lukas Podolski’s shot from a tight angle went between Hart’s legs but clipped his heel and deflected just wide.
Flamini then shot over, again from wide of the goal, as City made their first change, bringing on James Milner for Jesus Navas. The game settled down into a midfield battle, with few clear cut chances. Giroud headed a Cazorla free kick wide but the ball was just too high for him, while Arsenal had to survive a scramble in their area which posed real danger.
The Frenchman dragged a shot from distance wide, then Arsene Wenger made his first change, bringing on Oxlade-Chamberlain for Podolski in the 78th minute. Javi Garcia replaced Samir Nasti for the visitors as Pellegrini looked to be settling for the draw that City’s games in hand made acceptable.
Yaya Sanogo replaced Giroud with five minutes to go, as Arsenal really had a go at the rich boys. Joe Hart punched away a Cazorla free kick and a Gibbs cross floated just too high at the back post.
Fernandinho shot over for City as three minutes of injury time kicked in, but neither side could find another goal.
Arsenal certainly deserved at least a draw from the game after a great second half performance, and after the week we’ve had you can’t ask for a great deal more than that.