By Walter Broeckx
A lot of changes compared to our last match. Özil returned after missing with injury against WBA. Also no Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain who are out with a calf and a hamstring injury.
Coquelin returned to midfield and partnered Xhaka. Up front we had Welbeck and Alexis and Theo on the flanks.
In goal Ospina replaced the injured Cech.
On the bench we had Elneny back after injury and Maitland-Niles also got a place on the bench.
Arsenal starting team: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck.
On the beach: Martinez, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi and Giroud.
Aguero correctly given offside but Ospina blocked the shot anyway. A slip from a midfielder forces Ospina to come off his line again and the ball bounces away to the side line. Welbeck at the other end working hard to find an opening but the shot goes just wide. Sane escapes at the other end and he goes round Ospina and scores. 0-1 after 5 minutes. Bellerin was on the wrong side and Mustafi had advanced to intercept a ball and Sane was put in space by De Bruyne.
Navas then with a wild challenge on Monreal, studs on the chin… that is red card for Xhaka but only a yellow for anyone else. De Bruyne with a shot from distance against the post and another City player with the rebound but Ospina with a save. Coquelin goes in the book for a foul. Still 0-1 after 15 minutes.
Both teams now giving the ball away a few times rather cheaply so no goal situations for a few minutes. Alexis with a ball to Özil but his right footed shot on the turn too weak to really worry the City keeper. Monreal with a right footed shot after a corner but the ball was rising over the goal. A good tackle on the ball prevents a shot from Alexis from a promising position after a backheel from Özil. Alexis with a curling shot then but just wide from the post. Still 0-1 after 30 minutes.
Xhaka also in the book for a foul on Otamendi. A free kick from Alexis goes well wide. City players making a game of not taking the distance at free kicks with only standing 3 meters away from the ball. As it happens a few times this seems to be a tactic told to them. A new way of time wasting maybe as the ref has to move them back at slow pace. Arsenal take a short corner the ball is cleared but put back in front of the goal by Mustafi and Walcott is onside as Clichy was putting them onside and Theo pushes the ball past the keeper. GOAL! 1-1 after 40 minutes.
De Bruyne has a shot that rebounds off a defender against the post. Arsenal then can’t clear the ball and the ball ends up in front of Aguero who scores for City with a low shot. 1-2 after 42 minutes. Welbeck then on goal but he handled the ball and took it with him so correct from the ref to call him back. Alexis with a cross to Walcott but his placed effort goes just over the crossbar. 1-2 after 45 minutes.
Gabriel at the start of the second half in the place of Koscielny. So that will probably be an injury for the French defender. Just what we needed. Gabriel almost with a shot ball to Ospina who has to rush out to clear the ball. Fernandinho goes in the book after a cynical foul on Alexis who had a bit of an opening in front of him. Arsenal win a corner and Özil takes it and finds Mustafi who heads it in! GOAL!! 2-2 after 53 minutes.
City with a corner that is cleared but Fernandino with a shot from distance but great stop from Ospina who then is fouled in the next phase and needs treatment. Welbeck also with a bit of a problem it seems as he goes checking at the side line with Wenger and a staff member. Mustafi also in the book for a foul on Sane to prevent him from starting a promising attack.2-2 after 60 minutes.
Welbeck not completely sharp enough yet but working hard for the team. Alexis then gives the ball away on the own penalty area but luckily Ospina can stop the header from Aguero. After 66 minutes Arsenal make a second substitution with Giroud coming on for Walcott. This will mean that Welbeck will play on the right flank from now on I think. Monreal flagged offside but the linesman clearly blinded by the sun as it was not correct. The match now more closed with City having most of the ball but not really creating much. After 75 minutes Welbeck goes off and Iwobi comes on with the 2-2 score line still.
Otamendi with a bad control but Özil didn’t count on that and the ball ran out of play. Not much goal mouth action in the last minutes apart from a low shot from Silva that went well wide. Iwobi with a shot at the other end after a good attack but over the goal. Navas with a shot but also well wide.
A nervous final extra minutes but both teams go in at the end with a 2-2 score. A fair result I think but both teams don’t win much with this result.