Manchester City 1 Arsenal 1

Laurent Koscielny rifled in a stunning leveller to grab the Gunners a deserved point after Manchester City had taken a first half lead at the Etihad stadium . It was a disappointing way to have conceded, and especially given that Arsenal had dominated the opening 45 minutes. Jolean Lescott rose to give the home side the advantage, but with their intricate play and neat passing, the Gunners never looked to be in panic mode. They should have come away with more than a solitary point, but Koslcieny ensured that an away point would be their reward for another tough away day encounter.

We believe it, but it’s down to consistency. What happened today should strengthen our belief. We are not perfect yet” – Arsene Wenger on Arsenal’s title aspirations

Wenger reflects on battling Gunners at City - Listen

 

With Thomas Vermaelen ruled out with flu, Koscielny was handed his first Premiership start of the season alongside Per Mertersacker at the heart of the Gunners’ defence. The skipper’s armband was handed to Mikel Arteta. It was the brilliance of Santi Cazorla however that was to prove to be a constant menace to City. The Arsenal midfielder stood out with Arteta and Aaron Ramsay also catching the eye, as Abou Diaby again powered from midfield. An early chance saw Gervinho put in by Ramsey, only for the Ivorian’s first touch to desert him when clear.

Time for Cazorla to introduce his presence with two shots from distance – one a free-kick – which had Joe Hart at full stretch. Gervinho then found the side-netting, with Kieran Gibbs’ low cross just failing to hit the target. A lacklustre City were to see David Silva test Vito Mannone, but Arsenal continued to dominate. Five minutes before the break and very much against the run of play however, City took the lead. Silva’s cross fell to Lescott, and as Mannone came out only to claim fresh air, the defender found the net. Up until now, a zonal defence has worked well for the Gunners, but on the evidence here – Koscielny and Lukas Podolski stood stationary – Steve Bould may want to have a re-think on that one.

Mannone then tipped away a stinging Edin Dzeko, and City emerged starting the brighter for the second 45 minutes. To his credit Sergio Aguero stayed on his feet despite the attentions of Koscielny as the home side began to stir With the home side preferring to sit deeper, Arsenal and Cazorla in particular went in search of the leveller. The Spain midfielder drew another fine save from Hart, but from the resulting corner the Gunners finally found the target.

Lescott cost City £22 million, two years ago. Koscielny cost Arsenal £10 million less, and it was the France defender who reacted the quickest after City failed to clear the ball with Hart well beaten from a striker’s finish from the Arsenal defender. Vincent Kompany and Aguero had chances to restore City’s lead with Gervinho hitting high when a composed finish could have given the Gunners’ another three points. Both sides remain unbeaten, but after this draw, it will be Arsenal who will be the happier.