Laurent Koscielny produced an 82nd minute equalizer to rescue a point for Arsenal against Manchester City at the Etihad.
In truth, the goal was just reward for an Arsenal side that performed excellently in the first half before falling behind to Joleon Lescott’s 40th minute header. For much of the second 45 minutes it appeared that City’s defense would hold firm before Koscielny popped up with a fine equalizer.
Arsenal had the better of the opening period and had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 16th minute. Aaron Ramsey slid a perfect pass through to Gervinho running clear on goal, but in contrast to his recent form, the Ivorian produced an abysmal first touch to take the ball straight into the path of Joe Hart.
Despite Lukas Podolski also having a good chance that he put well over, it was City that took the lead against the run of play. David Silva curled in a dangerous corner and goalkeeper Vito Mannone came and failed to get a touch on the ball, leaving Lescott to jump highest and head the ball into the unguarded net.
The action dissipated after the restart as City defended strongly and looked threatening on the counter attack. Sergio Aguero was heavily involved as he fired a half-volley over the top from close range and felt he should have had a penalty after a challenge from Koscielny. Although the Argentinian managed to stay on his feet, there was clear contact from the French defender, who was lucky not to be penalized.
Another opportunity came City’s way as Yaya Toure led a break in typical fashion, surging forward from his own half. But with Aguero sprinting to support on one side and Tevez doing likewise on the other, the Ivorian took too long before slipping it to Aguero, allowing Laurent Koscielny to get in a saving challenge.
Just minutes later, City were made to pay for their wastefulness.
Santi Cazorla rifled in a fine effort from 20 yards out that Joe Hart could only see late through several bodies and did well to push wide. But from the resulting corner, there was nothing the England goalkeeper could do to prevent an equalizer.
Lescott, a hero at the same end in the first half, was the culprit in the second as he headed the ball straight to Koscielny from the corner who took a touch before firing a fine finish into the top corner.
The goal ratcheted up the action in the final minutes as both sides had chances to snatch the three points.
First Vincent Kompany produced some fabulous skill as he chested down Silva’s header with his back to goal and then produced a fine overhead kick that Mannone did excellently to dive and repel. From the rebound Koscielny only cleared to Aguero who put a shot agonizingly wide of the far post.
There was a another excellent opportunity for Gervinho too as he created space for himself on the edge of the box but fired high and wide when he really should have at least found the target.
Arsenal showed that they have a resilience that could well see them challenge strongly for the title this season, while City have still yet to find their best form at both ends of the pitch.