Arsenal and Manchester City played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium in the early Saturday kick-off. Gunners debutant Danny Welbeck was lively from the start and should have given his new side the lead in the 12th minute, when sloppy play by City gave him a clear run at goal. However, he went for the dink over Joe Hart and it bounced off the post.
In contrast, City’s new boy Frank Lampard looked off the pace and was just after 20 minutes into the game when he brought down Jack Wilshere. Arsenal dominated for large parts of the first half as City relied on the counter-attack. City could have taken the lead in the 26th minute when James Milner was involved in some good link up play with Sergio Agüero, but he fired over the bar. However, Agüero put City ahead less than a minute later, after Jesús Navas put a perfectly-weighted pass into the Argentine. The latter’s deft touch beat Wojciech Szczęsny.
David Silva nearly doubled City’s lead just after the half hour mark after a good move down the right flank involving him, Pablo Zabaleta, and Navas, but he could not quite beat Szczęsny. City then dominated the closing stages of the half as Silva pulled the strings. Agüero’s strike separated the sides at the break.
Arsenal again started brightly and Welbeck had another half chance to put the Gunners ahead, but his weak effort disappointed. City then came back into the game almost went two up when former Gunner Gaël Clichy ran at goal but his effort went wide.
However, Wilshere leveled in the 63rd minute when he started and finished off a flowing move after City lost the ball. Wilshere ended up face-to-face with Hart and beat him with ease. City boss Manuel Pellegrini wasted no time in making a change and raised eyebrows when he replaced Agüero with Edin Džeko. The former looked despondent as he came off, but it was unclear whether the move was tactical or if the player came off due to injury.
Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, who had been peripheral figures for most of the game, finally started to come into their own as the Gunners pressed for a second. The Chilean was give some rough treatment by the City players but most of it went unpunished.
Sánchez then gave the best possible response with a clinical volley from a Wilshere header. Aaron Ramsey could and should have made it three for Arsenal just a few minutes later, but he failed to control a volley after a delicate chip from Wilshere played him in.
City should have had a penalty when Wilshere looked to have handled the ball in his own penalty area, but referee Mark Clattenburg waved away protests. Nevertheless, City fought back and Martin Demichelis leveled in the 83rd minute with a header from an Aleksandar Kolarov corner. The latter then hit the post in the 88th minute. Substitute Samir Nasri thought he had won the game against his old club, but his goal was disallowed for offside. In the end, Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City was a fair result.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd