Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin, Ozil,Walcott, Alexis, Welbeck
Subs: Martinez, Gibbs, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Giroud
Arsenal avoided defeat, but couldn’t take all three points against Man City at the Emirates today, twice coming from behind to take a 2-2 draw.
Arsene Wenger brought Mesut Ozil back into his starting line-up as he tried to get his team back on track, and there were early chances for both sides via rebounds. An Ospina clearance rebounded off Sterling wide, before seconds later a Clichy clearance whacked off Welbeck and went just wide.
However, City took an early lead from that goal kick. Cabellero took a long kick out, Mustafi headed it on, City played it first time to Sane who outpaced Bellerin, went around Ospina and rolled it into the empty net. It was far too easy. 0-1.
The lead was almost doubled minutes later when de Bruyne hit the post with a shot from outside the area, and when the ball came to Silva he forced Ospina into a good save.
There were early bookings for both Jesus Navas and Francis Coquelin, both in Andre Marriner’s book inside the first 15 minutes, as the game settled down a bit.
Ozil had a chance when he turned Stones, but could find no power in his shot, and Monreal saw a right-footed effort fly over the bar after a corner was cleared.
Walcott was lucky to escape without a booking for a challenge on Siva which saw him go over the ball, and Alexis’s claims for a penalty were waved away when Fernandinho got a toe to the ball but from behind.
Sanchez curled an effort wide of the far post after being set up by Ozil, before Xhaka was the next man into the book when Otamendi made an absolute meal of the slightest contact from a challenge in midfield, but made easy when the Swiss international slid in. In his last eight games that brought his card tally to one red and six yellows.
John Stones headed wide from a corner as City looked to extend their lead, but from an Arsenal corner the Gunners grabbed an equaliser. The set-piece was cleared, City didn’t clear it well, Mustafi headed it back into the area, Walcott got ahead of Clichy and poked the ball home from close range. 1-1.
That seemed to spark City back into life, and the lead last barely a minute. Kevin de Bruyne hit the post, and kept the pressure on. Ozil gave the ball away deep in his own half, City worked the ball well, Silva feeding Aguero who drilled the ball into the far corner to put them back in front. 1-2.
Alexis created a great chance for Walcott to equalise again but he fired just over meaning City took their lead into the break.
Arsenal made a half-time change, bringing on Gabriel for Laurent Koscielny who had an Achilles problem, while City brought on Yaya Toure for Raheem Sterling.
Fernandinho picked up a booking for a cynical foul on Alexis, and City had the first sight on goal of the second period, Aguero ghosting between Gabriel and Mustafi but thankfully he headed wide.
This time it was Arsenal’s chance to take advantage of bad defending. When a Monreal cross was cleared out for a corner, Shkodran Mustafi rose highest to head Ozil’s delivery into the far corner to make it 2-2.
As with the previous equaliser, the visitors were presented with a chance to go ahead again, but Ospina was equal to Ferandinho’s shot, palming it away when the Brazilian had a go from the edge of the box.
The German picked up a booking for a foul on Sane, and then almost found Welbeck in the box but the England striker was caught on his heels as the ball came in.
A careless Alexis backheel on the edge of our box presented a chance for Aguero, but the Argentine’s header lacked power allowing Ospina to save. Arsenal made their second change of the game, bringing on Olivier Giroud for Walcott in the 68th minute, the England man trudging off seemed less than impressed but bar his goal he hadn’t contributed a great deal.
Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed a long spell on top as the game entered its final quarter, and the Gunners made their final change bringing on Alex Iwobi for Danny Welbeck who, like Walcott, had struggled to make any real impact on the game.
There was almost a chance for Ozil after a mistake by Otamendi, but as with everything involving the German it didn’t quite come off. Silva shot wide after a City corner, but both sides seemed nervous to really go for it, afraid of making the mistake that could cost them the game.
A good move saw Iwobi shoot over in the final couple of minutes of normal time, while bodies got in the way of a goal-bound Aguero effort at the other end.
There were calls for a City penalty right at the end when Monreal appeared to handle the ball when trying to head away, but in the end a draw seemed a fair return on the day’s efforts for both sides.
City remain 7 points clear of Arsenal in 4th, while the Gunners stay in 6th.