Manchester City’s Champions League hopes were dealt a blow as Arsenal twice rallied from behind to claim a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afteroon.
- Manchester City 2 Arsenal 2
- Aguero finishes from outside the area
- Giroud heads home from a corner
- De Bruyne scores a lovely solo goal
- Sanchez finishes from a Giroud assist
Sergio Aguero put his side in front within the first ten minutes with a fantastic finish after Fernandinho knocked a Jesus Navas cross down to him on the edge of the box.
Olivier Giroud levelled the score from a corner soon after, before Kevin de Bruyne’s solo effort put the home side back in front minutes after the restart.
The City defence let Arsenal back into the match by not closing down a move between Alexis Sanchez and Giroud. Arsenal’s top scorer finished well from the edge of the penalty area after a lovely lay-off from the Frenchman. Despite laying seige to the Arsenal defence in the closing stages, City were uanble to find the all-importnatn breakthrough as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
Both teams were playing for the certainty of a Champions League spot while a draw would have Arsenal in the clear and keep City’s fourth position under threat for the final game of the season.
As it happened, Arsenal took advantage of some poor defending to bring about the latter scenario, meaning that City could surrender their position to Manchester United next Sunday.
The De Bruyne/Aguero combination featured as early as the fifth minute with the Belgian’s clever through-ball giving City’s leading scorer the chance to square a dangerous ball across the face of the Arsenal goal. Fortunately for the Gunners there wasn’t a blue shirt at the end of it.
Three minutes later, however, Aguero had his team in front with a terrific finish from the edge of the area. Naval curled a cross into the centre of the box where Fernandinho knocked the ball down into the path of Aguero. The Argentine controlled, turned away from his marker to swivel and smash the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to open the scoring.
Two minutes later Manchester City pressed the self-destruct button when Gael Clichy’s inexplicable close-quarter header back to Joe Hart evaded the keeper and rolled inches wide of the goalpost. From the resultant corner Giroud evaded Eliaquim Mangala to head home and bring the visitors back on level terms.
Gabriel Paulista made a crucial block from a thunderous Aguero effort from just inside the penalty area. Fernando had done well to create space down the left and find his striker with a great pass.
Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck needed to be substituted on 24 minutes after pulling up with some discomfort in his knee. Jack Wilshere came on for the young England international.
The half continued to entertain despite no further shots on target for either side. However it remained relatively clear that Manchester City were the more likely team to carve out a chance.
At half-time Manchester City boasted a significant advantage in possession and almost double the number of completed passes.
de Bruyne put his team back in front on 51 minutes with a fantastic solo effort. Although it must be said that Arsenal’s defence gave the Belgian enough space for the goal to look easy. The 24-year-old simply ran at goal without having to face anything resembling a committed tackle and fired a low shot into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Four minutes later City were again on the attack and really should have had a third but Kelechi Iheanacho wasted a golden opportunity to put Navas through for what would have been a serious threat to Cech’s goal. As it happened, the 19-year-old Nigerian opted to take a very ambitious shot on goal which came nowhere close to bothering the Arsenal keeper.
Arsenal battled manfully to claw their way back into the game and were rewarded when City’s defence gave Alexis Sanchez acres of space to play a neat one-two with Giroud. The Frenchman’s layoff to the Gunners’ form player was perfect, allowing him to smash the ball past Joe Hart.
De Bruyne and Aguero again showed that they are arguably the Premier League’s best forward pairing with a fantastic one-two ending with the Belgian youngster chipping the ball back into Augero’s path as he runs into the Arsenal box. Unfortunately for the home fans the Argentinean’s excellent volley across the face of goal rolled past the right-hand upright.
This proved to be the final piece of goalmouth action and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.