Two goals from center halves saw the points shared at the Etihad today, as Arsenal hung in and got a draw from a late Laurent Koscielny equalizer after Joleon Lescott put the hosts up shortly before halftime from a bullet header off a corner. Follow us below the jump for how all the action unfolded!
Arsenal started with Aaron Ramsey on the right, while Santi Cazorla started behind the striker with Lukas Podolski on the left. The Gunners would have the better of the opening six or seven minutes, producing more threat towards the City goal. Cazorla had an effort from 25 yards on nine minutes, but Hart saved it easily.
Arsenal put together some good stuff 13 minutes on, Gervinho working really hard against Joleon Lescott to keep the ball in play on the byline. The chance fell to Kieran Gibbs eventually, but he elected to square it to nobody rather than take the shot, which was available to him.
A minute later, City had their first real chance, as Sergio Aguero had the run of the left, cut inside, and shot. Vito Mannone pushed it away.
15 minutes on, Gervinho had a real chance. Ramsey played him straight through on goal, but the Ivorian's first touch was horrifying. Joe Hart gobbled it up. City were starting to generate some threat, too, and 20 minutes on, Laurent Koscielny had to take care of a ball in the box to Aguero.
24 minutes on, Carl Jenkinson went to work. He chased an Arteta pass up the right, beat the daylights out of Lescott, and cut inside towards the box. He laid it back for Likas Podolski, who blazed his shot over from 20. It was great stuff from Jenkinson. Arsenal were doing a good job retaining their shape, effectively eliminating any easy lanes to start an attack for City. 28 minutes on, Cazorla played Gervinho almost through, but Gael Clichy did a great job recovering just in time.
City had another half-chance on 32 minutes, Edin Dzeko knocking the ball down for Aguero, but Keiran Gibbs was on hand to dive in and block the incoming drive. On the counter, Ramsey won a free kick, but Cazorla's effort was easily saved by Hart. Arsenal had another chance on 36 minutes, Gervinho cutting inside and shooting just wide of the near post
Arsenal had to sustain some pressure on 39 minutes, City working very hard and eventually winning the corner. And it would prove fatal, as Mannone got nowhere near it, and Joleon Lescott popped it home.
1-0 City, 40 minutes.
Arsenal were still pushing, though, and Cazorla had a shot wide on 44 minutes. The half came to a close without further incident. Arsenal were the better team overall, but spurned their chances, and one bad set piece led to the halftime scoreline. They would have to come out firing the same way in the second half.
City brought on Jack Rodwell for Scott Sinclair to start the second half in a bid to lend some solidity to their midfield which had been mostly bypassed by Arsenal in the first half. They had a free kick on 50 minutes which eventually fell to Aguero, who shot over from a tight angle. City won a corner a minute later, having the far better run of play in the first five minutes of the half.
And then the first ten minutes, as they won another corner which Mannone saved from Javi Garcia on 56 minutes. The game sort of fizzled along for a while after that, neither side really threatening for six or seven minutes, City containing all of Arsenal's ventures through the middle pretty handily. Arsenal looked to be tiring a little bit, and one wondered if subs were forthcoming as the rain came down. Gervinho blazed over from ten yards on 67 minutes as still no subs were on the field for Arsenal.
City brought on Carlos Tevez for Dzeko on about 68 minutes, and then it was Arsenal's turn, finally. 72 minutes, Olivier Giroud replaced Diaby, and Theo Walcott came on for Podolski. Podolski coming off instead of Gervinho was puzzling, but there you go.
Arsenal started to put more pressure on, but just wouldn't shoot. 80 minutes in, City launched a ferocious counter, but Mannone made a great save to his left on Aguero.
Finally Arsenal got a shot away on 82 minutes, Cazorla testing Hart, who pushed it behind for a corner. From the corner, it was on. The ball was cleared only as far as Koscielny, and wouldn't you know, he lashed it home.
1-1. 83'. Get in.
City weren't giving up, though, and they had a dangerous corner of their own. Vincent Kompany overhead kicked it, Mannone made a great save. Kos's clearance was horrible, right to Aguero, who really should have scored, but missed at the far post.
It was too close.
Mario Balotelli came on.
Arsenal really pushed for a winner, and in the 91st minute, Gervinho should've had it. He had a shot in space from 18, but put it badly over the bar when he really needed to hit the target. Jenkinson escaped up the right, and Javi Garcia hopped on his back and earned a yellow. Toure made a foul throw with time expiring...and that was it.
Draw. 1-1. Great result.