At times the defense was cringe-worthy. At times possession was painful. There were more than few bad giveaways. Both teams had moments of brilliance, but both teams also had moments of disaster.
All told, it ended even as Arsenal twice fought back to level the score as the points were shared at the Emirates with a 2-2 draw. Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero each gave Manchester City a one-goal lead, but both times they were pegged back as Theo Walcott and Shkodran Mustafi got goals for the Gunners.
The opening strike by City came less than five minutes into the match and it was embarrassingly easy for the visitors. After a Danny Welbeck attempt went wide, City countered immediately. A ball through the middle of the field gashed the Arsenal midfield and defense all at once, and Leroy Sane rounded David Ospina and passed the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
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City continued to pepper the home side. David Silva hit the post in the 10th minute, and his second effort on the rebound was saved by Ospina from a tight angle. It appeared the visitors would truly dominate at least the first half, but that didn’t exactly occur. City began to sputter, failing to connect forward after their hot start. Arsenal looked to build large spells of possession, and they worked hard to equalize five minutes before the break.
On an Arsenal short corner, the eventual cross wasn’t cleared far enough, and Shkodran Mustafi headed it back to Theo Walcott who skipped by a defender and poked home to level things at 1-1.
But it wouldn’t last long. City responded immediately, with Kevin De Bruyne hitting the post, and then they took a chance and went right back in front. David Silva fed Sergio Aguero on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box, and he finished from a very tight angle past David Ospina and two sliding defenders.
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Arsene Wenger was forced into a halftime change as Laurent Koscielny came off due to an Achillies problem, replaced by Gabriel. City came close to going two-up straight out of the break as Aguero headed wide, and Arsenal made them pay for missing. Again off a corner, Mustafi rose high above the trees and delivered a massive header to again draw the Gunners level.
Fernandinho forced a big save from David Ospina minutes later, rifling a bouncing ball low towards the bottom-left corner that Ospina parried away. Ospina was down to receive treatment for a hip injury but would continue. He was needed again in the 65th minute on an Aguero header which he lept high to catch.
Both teams cautiously looked for the win, and Alex Iwobi ripped a howitzer on the 88th minute that fizzled just over. Manchester City screamed for a penalty in stoppage time for a handball on Nacho Monreal, but there was little in the shout.
With the sides level at the final whistle, Arsenal stays in sixth place, two points back of Manchester United and still seven back of Manchester City in fourth. The visitors will be disappointed not to get all three points, as they stay in fourth, failing to take the chance to jump Liverpool.