Arsenal 2, Manchester City 2
Danny Welbeck starts for Arsenal; Jack Wilshere stars for the Gunners but his handball is missed; Martin Demichelis equalises for City who could have won the game
Martin Demichelis’ late header earned City a point but they might have had a penalty if a handball by Jack Wilshere had been spotted.
Arsenal were shown a lesson in marksmanship after Sergio Aguero put City into the lead but the Gunners never gave up and levelled midway through the second half through Jack Wilshere. Wilshere turned provider when he headed Vincent Kompany’s clearance to Alexis Sanchez who beat Joe Hart with a wonderful side footed volley to put the Gunners into the lead. Slack marking allowed Demichelis’ late header to rescue a point for City who will be aggrieved that Wilshere’s handball in the Arsenal area went unpunished.
Manuel Pellegrini praised the quality of football from both sides but was unhappy with the performance of the officiating during the game.
The Chilean said: “Both goals by Arsenal had clear fouls in the build up. There was a foul on Sergio Aguero in the build-up to Jack Wilshere’s goal and Danny Welbeck pushed Vincent Kompany in the back for Alexis Sanchez’ goal.”
Pellegrini further bemoaned a handball by Jack Wilshere in the penalty area which seemed to have been missed by the assistant referee.
“The referee had a very bad day today. I think we were unlucky.” he said, barely masking his displeasure, and refused to comment on the performance of Joe Hart – preferring instead to concentrate on the team effort.
Pellegrini added: “We also had a good chance for Edin Dzeko at the end. It was difficult to play away without Yaya Toure. This year it will be a difficult one for us because other teams will want to beat us.”
City had made six changes from the 1-0 home defeat against Stoke before the international break, with starts for Jesus Navas, James Milner, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, Fernandinho and a debut for Frank Lampard.
Out went Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, and Aleksandar Kolarov. Stevan Jovetic was injured on international duty with Montenegro while Fernando also missed out through injury and Yaya Toure was rested after a long trip to Africa for an Ivory Coast African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Cameroon.
Arsene Wenger’s new £16m signing from Manchester United Danny Welbeck started his first game against former rivals City and he could have put his name in lights at the Emirates after just 13 minutes after he intercepted a loose pass and chipped Joe Hart in the City goal only to watch the ball come back off the post.
The chance illustrated clearly why United manager Louis Van Gaal chose to release Welbeck after signing Falcao on the last day of the summer transfer window on September 1.
Van Gaal had brutally compared Welbeck’s goalscoring record with that of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and found the Mancunian lacking. His fate was to be replaced by Falcao with other United youngsters to be given a chance.
Despite bossing the early stages of the game the Gunners were once again profligate when it mattered and they were soon punished by a more clinical striker who struck the fifth goal from just eight shots on target in league games against the Gunners this season.
City took the lead after 28 minutes when Jesus Navas broke free on the counter attack after an Arsenal move broke down. He picked out team mate Aguero as he entered the box and the Argentine lifted the ball over Wojciech Szczesny to put the Champions into the lead.
City replaced Frank Lampard with Samir Nasri at half time, both players disliked at the Emirates for different reasons, but it was the Gunners who tested City first in the second half.
Welbeck had two chances to score but saw one effort cleared and couldn’t reach Alexis Sanchez’ ball into the six yard box.
Gael Clichy drifted a chance past the back post after racing past Mesut Ozil as City inevitably took control of the second half.
The Gunners eventually got their equaliser after battling on, though, and Aaron Ramsay’s through ball to Jack Wilshere was gratefully finished by the Englishman after beating Gael Clichy in the 63rd minute to open his goalscoring account for Arsenal this season. Aguero seemed to have been fouled in the build-up but he was booked for protesting.
Mathieu Debuchy dragged his shot wide as the Gunners tried to capitalise on their momentum and regained some composure.
Joe Hart had to race of his line to collect the ball after Danny Welbeck looked set to beat Martin Demichelis to an Arsenal forward pass.
Wilshere brilliantly controlled header from Vincent Kompany’s headed clearance arrived at Alexis Sanchez whose brilliant side footed volley beat Joe Hart to put Arsenal into the lead after 74 minutes – his third goal in three games in all competitions.
It could have been worse for City had Aaron Ramsay connected with Wilshere’s chipped pass with the goal at his mercy.
City grabbed their equaliser with 7 minutes to go after Martin Demichelis’ header from Aleksandar Kolarov’s corner went in off the post. The Argentine defender found himself unmarked as Arsenal went to sleep again.
Welbeck’s last action was a wayward strike which drifted wide of the top corner before he was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 87th minute.
City could have snatched a winner a minute later with two late chances. A deflected cross found Kolarov whose first time drive came back off the post.
The woodwork was rattled again as Laurent Koscielny’s attempted sliced clearance from David Silva looped onto the post with City finishing strongly in added time.
Samir Nasri was flagged offside as he tucked away the loose ball from Edin Dzeko’s blocked shot at the death. A big cheer rang around the stadium as the majority of fans realised that the former Gunner hadn’t just sealed victory for City.