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Manchester City held to a barren draw by Arsenal

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Bukayo Saka and Kevin de Bruyne battle for the ball Photo CBS Sports
Bukayo Saka and Kevin de Bruyne battle for the ball. Photo/ CBS Sports
  • Manchester City and Arsenal drew 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium in a Premier League title race clash, on Easter Sunday.

Manchester City and Arsenal drew 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium in a Premier League title race clash, on Easter Sunday.

In a highly anticipated championship match with few clear-cut opportunities, neither the Citizens nor the Gunners could produce on Sunday.

Before limping off hurt early in the first half, Nathan Ake came the closest to scoring for the home team. Gabriel Jesus also had a few early-half chances for the Gunners against his old team.

For the most of the second half, Man City kept Arsenal in their half, but they were unable to break through a tenacious and disciplined Gunners defense, and the points were finally split in a tight match.

Kevin De Bruyne’s comeback to the starting lineup gave Man City hope, and less than twenty-four hours after Guardiola’s press conference in which he declared Stones out of the match, Stones unexpectedly showed up on the bench. But Ederson and Kyle Walker missed games because of injuries.

The only change to Arteta’s starting lineup after their Champions League victory over Porto prior to the international break was the return of Jesus against his former club. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Magalhaes were both cleared to start for Arsenal, while Gabriel Martinelli recovered from a foot injury to start on the bench.

Manuel Akanji and Kai Havertz Photo talkSPORT scaled

Manuel Akanji and Kai Havertz Photo/ talkSPORT

The Citizens grabbed charge of the game early on after a furious start in the center of the pitch amid an electrifying atmosphere at the Etihad. But in the seventh minute, Jesus chested down a floating cross from Ben White inside the area and sent a weak shot into the side netting at the near post to give Arsenal their first chance at goal.

In the fifteenth minute, after Man City had enjoyed a prolonged spell of possession, De Bruyne curled a tempting in-swinging corner towards Ake within a crowded six-yard box. However, the Dutchman could only flick his header straight at David Raya. This was Man City’s first serious chance.

Arsenal found it difficult to thread passes together and had to focus mostly on keeping the hosts’ aggressive attackers quiet within their own half, while City, with their 75% possession, probed patiently in the final third.

The Man City players and supporters at the Etihad Stadium expressed their annoyance at referee Anthony Taylor for choosing to keep his cards after several late Arsenal tackles went unpunished.

In the 33rd minute, Arsenal executed one of their better plays of the first half as Odegaard whipped the ball towards Jakub Kiwior, whose caressed a pass into Jesus just inside the box. The Brazilian performed a good job of creating space and cutting to his left foot, but his low strike was only unable to go beyond Ortega’s left post.

Less than two minutes after the restart, Man City made a strong start to the second half and nearly broke the deadlock when Kovacic bent a 25-yard right-footed shot inches wide of the post.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw both teams play with more vigor and energy than the first forty-five, and both sets of fans responded by encouraging their teams, knowing that the game was still up for grabs.

Haaland and Gabriel share a light moment after the game Photo Sporting News

Haaland and Gabriel share a light moment after the game Photo/ Sporting News

As the game entered its last 20 minutes, tensions increased as Man City tried to breach Arsenal’s disciplined low defense in a bid to win the game. Arsenal started to retreat farther and further back.

After Saka was replaced by Martinelli for the last ten minutes, play began right away. Martinelli’s strong strike was blocked by Akanji, and Doku and Haaland both attempted to score at the other end, with the latter failing with a swing and a miss with his left foot at the back.

Going into the final nine games of the campaign, there was still a thrilling three-way title chase since neither team was able to establish a decisive lead during the five minutes of extra time. As a result, the points were split.

Arsenal will host Luton Town at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, while Man City will welcome Aston Villa, a team aiming to finish in the top four.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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