Arsenal 2 Manchester City 2
Walcott, 40 Mustafi, 53 Sane, 5 Aguerro 42

Given the sequence of recent Premier League losses, a point and not a loss is always a welcome, and how Arsenal were made to work for their share of the spoils against a resolute Manchester City at the Emirates stadium on Sunday. Twice City took the lead, and twice the Gunners fired back, with neither side able to take what would have proven to have been a decisive third. Leroy Sane gave City the lead having outpaced Hector Bellerin with barely five minutes gone. They Walcott levelled five minutes before the break, but almost immediately afterwards, Sergio Aguero restored the visitors advantage. 2-1 down at the break, the Gunners levelled again after 53 minutes when Shkodran Mustafi rose to head home from Mesut Özil’s corner. Both sides went for a winner, with City giving more worries to David Ospina’s goal, while late on, substitute Alex Iwobi struck over the City bar in a rare incisive move by Arsenal. This may have been a dress rehearsal for the two sides FA Cup semi-final at Wembley later this month, and unlike here, then we must have a winner. How both Arsenal and City would have wanted the edge going into their Wembley encounter.

Given all the speculation over Arsene Wenger, and the speculation of the respective futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Arsenal knew they had to show more fight than they did in the abject loss at the Hawthorns two weeks ago. Their frayed nerves were evident in a cautious opening and soon they were cut wide open as the visitors sensed easy pickings. With only three minutes on the clock, City almost took the lead in comical circumstances. Ospina cleared, but hit straight into Sterling. Fortunately for the Colombia keeper, the ball deflected wide.

Moments later and no sooner had Welbeck had a smart turn and shot which flew just wide of target, narrowly fail to give Arsenal the lead, then City strode up the other end to actually take the lead. Kevin De Bruyne played a simple long ball out and Sane was facing up against Bellerin. The German outpaced the Gunners’ right back all too easily and finished from a tight angle. What has helped to Bellerin of late seems to be a pertinent question.

Playing with ease and as a unit, City sensed that they could get more, but Ospina was able to tip De Bruyne’s shot onto his post and then save the follow up from Silva as the Gunners’ defence went missing at the crucial moment.

Mesut Özil has been either injured or ill of late, and needed a big game here. With his first telling contribution, his turn and shot lacked power as Willy Caballero gathered comfortably.

Perhaps with their move of the half, Arsenal combined the skills of Alexis but he struck just wide after the move involving Welbeck and Özil.

The visitors were being pegged back, and from an Arsenal corner, Walcott stayed alert as the City defence didn’t clear their lines. Gael Clichy tried to relieve Walcott of possession, but actually played Walcott onside as the Gunners striker fired past Caballero for the leveller.

The parity remained for less than two minutes as City having seen Ospina save from De Bruyne, were given too much time from the Gunners defence who couldn’t clear the danger. This time, Silva played in Agureo to his right and the Argentine finished past Ospina to restore City’s lead to a hushed Emirates stadium.

City emerged just as committed for the second half, as Arsenal just couldn’t get either their passing game or any semblance of luck to help their cause. They should have been further adrift when Navas took Fernandiho’s return to cross for Aguero to head just wide when the ball seemed destined for the back of Ospina’s net.

The next goal however would be greeted with loud cheers by the home supporters. A corner from Ozil and Mustafi rose to head in his second Arsenal goal to make it 2-2.

Try as they might, the Gunners were denied the freedom to play their passing game. At the other end Ospina pushed out Fernadinho’s half volley and Alexis’s poor back heel had Navas pouncing to cross for Aguero, but Ospina gathered.

Walcott was replaced by Giroud and Welbeck by Iwobi. Both sides had late chances with Silva firing wide from a corner as Arsenal switch off and Iwobi struck over the bar after a swift break and assist from Bellerin.

All square, and the Gunners will look for more when West Ham arrive at the Emirates stadium in Wednesday.