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Premier League

  • September 23, 2012
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 47318

Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal: Koscielny saves point for Gunners after Lescott opener

Goals from center half counterparts settles the tie as a game sparse on incident leads to both sides registering their third draw from the opening five Premier League games.

Premier League champion Manchester City was held to a 1-1 draw by Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners were the better side in the first half though found themselves 1-0 down at the interval after Joleon Lescott headed the home team into the lead.

City became the dominant force after the break, but conceded an 85th minute equalizer after Laurent Koscielny rifled home from just inside the box.

The result extends City and Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season, though both have now drawn three games out of their opening five Premier League fixtures.

Roberto Mancini recalled Sergio Aguero to the City starting lineup at the expense of Carlos Tevez while Koscielny made his first start of the season for the visiting side with captain Thomas Vermaelen ruled out by illness.

Though Aguero tested Vito Mannone from distance early on, it was Arsenal which enjoyed the better start to the game with Gervinho let down by a heavy touch when fed through on goal by Aaron Ramsay.

Good work by Carl Jenkinson on the right byline saw the fullback outmuscle Joleon Lescott and cut back for Lukas Podolski but the German could only sky wildly over the bar.

Gervinho lashed into the side netting as Arsenal looked to capitalize on the early domination but it was the home side which broke the deadlock, with Lescott powering home with his head after some questionable goalkeeping by Mannone from David Silva's inswinging corner.

As the first half drew to a close Mannone went close to making amends after tipping Edin Dzeko's fierce drive over the bar with City close to doubling the lead.

Mancini replaced home debutant Scott Sinclair with Jack Rodwell at the start of the second half as City went on to negate Arsenal's early momentum.

Aguero was given an abundance of time at the far post before lashing over when a ball back into the danger area may have been a more prudent option, with the Argentine also denied a penalty after a collision with Koscielny in the box.

Arsenal began to look ragged in possession in its rare forays forward as Wenger sent on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, while Mancini replaced Dzeko with Tevez with 20 minutes to go.

A powerful Yaya Toure drive right through the heart of the Gunners midfield ended up with Aguero forcing Mannone into a near-post save before counterpart Joe Hart parried over after Santi Cazorla tested him from just outside the box.

The diminutive Spaniard swung in the subsequent corner and the ball broke to Koscielny, with the Frenchman taking a touch before lashing an equaliser into the top corner.

Vincent Kompany went close to restoring the host's lead with five minutes remaining, improvising excellently to chest down and fire in a bicycle kick from which Aguero could only guide Mannone's save agonizingly wide of the post.

Gervinho almost snatched a late winner for the Gunners though after sidestepping well the Ivorian could only fire rashly over the bar as the spoils were shared at the Etihad.

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