By Chris Harris at Emirates Stadium
We twice came from behind to earn a battling draw in an entertaining return to Premier League action.
Leroy Sane got in behind our defence to sidestep David Ospina and score into an empty net, but we responded well and equalised when Theo Walcott rolled the ball past Willy Caballero.
Our joy was short-lived, David Silva setting up Sergio Aguero for City’s second. But the outstanding Shkodran Mustafi soared high to power in a second equaliser from Mesut Ozil’s corner.
Not for the first time, these teams shared an attacking mindset - and made the odd defensive error. But a draw was a fair result and, although it keeps us in sixth place, the tenacity and character in the performance should breed confidence.
Another home game is right around the corner - West Ham are at the Emirates on Wednesday.
OX, RAMSEY RULED OUT
Arsene Wenger made three changes for the visit of City - all of them enforced.
"Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain have a chance of being available for West Ham on Wednesday"
Petr Cech picked up a calf problem in the defeat at West Brom, Aaron Ramsey joined him on the sidelines with a similar problem, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned from England duty with a tight hamstring.
Ozil returned to the side, while Francis Coquelin and Ospina were also drafted in.
The hope was that the international break would press our reset button after a miserable March, and there was an obvious incentive - a chance to leapfrog Manchester United and close the gap on fourth-placed City.
The clever money was on an open, attacking game with a fair few goals. The last seven meetings had produced an average of just under four a game.
We might have had freakish goals at either end in the first few minutes. Ospina anticipated a through-ball but his clearance ricocheted off Raheem Sterling and floated wide of goal. Then Danny Welbeck almost blocked a clearance straight into the City net.
A more orthodox goal soon came, and it went to City. De Bruyne’s volleyed through-ball found Sane, who’d sneaked inside Hector Bellerin. His pace took him clear and a shimmy past Ospina set up a simple finish.
We retreated and De Bruyne hit the post with a first-time curler from the edge of the area. Silva was first to the rebound; Ospina pushed his shot away at the near post.
The pace barely dropped below a gallop but, after that early setback, we started to turn the tide.
Mustafi broke into midfield to give us a spare man and that helped create a chance for Ozil. Alexis found him in the box and the German turned his man to get a shot away, but it lacked power.
Walcott’s instant cross forced a hurried clearance, Nacho Monreal fired over and Alexis clipped a shot wide as City were forced back.
The pressure told when a short corner was half-cleared and then headed back into the box by the towering Mustafi. Walcott got the ball under control ahead of Gael Clichy and kept his cool to find the bottom corner.
The cheers had barely subsided when City were back in front. De Bruyne broke into the box and, although Laurent Koscielny did well to block his shot, Silva was first to the loose ball. He found Aguero, and he found the bottom corner.
The half-time whistle went and that was the last we saw of Koscielny, who succumbed to an Achilles injury. On came Gabriel for the second half.
Aguero could have put daylight between the sides but steered a free header wide after drifting into space in between Mustafi and Gabriel to meet Jesus Navas’ cross.
Mustafi was decidedly more accurate at the other end.
His goal was simplicity itself, Ozil’s outswinging corner met by a determined Mustafi, who climbed above everyone to power a downward header past Caballero. It was the kind of goal we conceded at West Brom last month - and it brought us level again.
Now City were on the back foot, forced to rush their passes as we chased everything down. But a mistake from Alexis let in Navas for another cross and Aguero for another header. Ospina plucked the ball out of the air.
On came Olivier Giroud, and Alex Iwobi soon followed. But our last decent chance fell to Ozil, and he couldn’t capitalise on a mishit pass from John Stones.
Referee: Andre Marriner
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