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domenica 23 settembre 2012

Acrobatic kick by Koscielny that gives a point to Arsenal. Gunners equalise City: 1-1

Laurent Koscielny's equaliser ensured Arsenal left Eastlands with a deserved point as the Gunners held Premier League champions Manchester City to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. Koscielny's goal eight minutes from time ensured Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start to the season and cancelled out the opener from City centre-half Joleon Lescott.

The Gunners had much the better of the first half but could not make their dominance count and Joleon Lescott headed the hosts in front from a 40th-minute corner. Premier League facts and figures showed that that Arsenal new boy Santi Cazorla had created more scoring chances for teammates from open play (14) than any other player before this weekend and it was easy to see why. He found more space than the Blues would have liked in the opening 45 minutes.

Mancini had seen enough in the first half to be concerned as shown by the removal of Scott Sinclair, who showed some fine touches, and the addition of Jack Rodwell to stiffen up the central area and level out the battle. "I'm very sorry today for the players because it was difficult after Real Madrid," said the Italian. "But I'm worried because we continue to concede goals. We need to improve and we need to work. I don't know why it's happening but probably we don't have enough concentration in some situations.

Wenger's team always displayed a little more poise and, though they also endured periods when their football was not as clean and slick as their manager expects, there were spells when they threatened to wear their opponents down. Santi Cazorla was prominently involved, always wanting the ball and knowing the right thing to do with it. Mikel Arteta played with similar composure and Aaron Ramsey impressed in an unfamiliar wide role. When Jack Wilshere is back playing, this is going to be a delicious midfield.

Their problem is an obvious one, namely how to make do in attack without Robin van Persie. Lukas Podolski was substituted after a peripheral performance while Gervinho is too erratic, his touch frequently poor. One superb pass from Ramsey sent him running clear, at 0-0, but the striker's clumsiness wasted the opportunity, knocking the ball too far ahead and allowing Hart to cut out the danger. 

Mannone, playing in place of the injured Wojciech Szczesny, certainly did not cover himself in glory, attempting to plough through a ruck of defenders and getting nowhere near the ball. 
City could even have been two ahead at the break but Mannone partially redeemed himself with a fingertip save from Edin Dzeko's curling shot.

Prior to the opening goal, the two best openings of the half had both fallen to the visitors; the first after 15 minutes when Gervinho was played clean through on goal by Aaron Ramsey but produced a dismal first touch that saw the ball run away from him to goalkeeper Joe Hart. Nine minutes later, Carl Jenkinson's tidy approach play down the right-hand by-line allowed him to pull the ball back for Podolski who planted a shot high and wide over the City goal.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger threw on Olivier Giroud and Walcott for the game's final 19 minutes, the duo injecting more attacking urgency into their team's play without Hart being unduly troubled at first. Instead, Yaya Toure launched a dangerous 80th minute counter-attack, slipping in Aguero whose shot, under pressure from Koscielny, was turned around the post by Mannone.

It was a half chance, and miss, that proved costly with Arsenal immediately responding through midfielder Cazorla's powerful right-foot strike which Hart did well to tip over, resulting in the corner from which Koscielny equalised. Two minutes later, City might have regained the lead after Aguero drove a rebound just wide after Mannone had done well to keep out Vincent Kompany's acrobatic overhead kick.

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