Manchester City missed an opportunity to go top of the Barclays Premier League after being held to a 1-1 draw at Arsenal. Chelsea's shock 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace earlier in the day meant victory for City would put them at the summit on goal difference.
Such a scenario looked set to happen as David Silva broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, with City dominating the first half at the Emirates Stadium. However, a rejuvenated Arsenal emerged after the break, and Mathieu Flamini pulled the hosts level to boost their own flagging title hopes.
City are two points adrift of leaders Chelsea, over whom they have two matches in hand, and one behind Liverpool, who have played one tie more than Manuel Pellegrini's men. Arsenal are three points further back in fourth.
Pellegrini stuck with the XI who won 3-0 over local rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday, and the visitors looked hungry to pick up where they left off, Jesus Navas curling an effort just beyond the left post from 18 yards in the opening few minutes. Tomas Rosicky went down under the challenge of Pablo Zabaleta in the penalty area with 12 minutes gone, but referee Mike Dean waved away Arsenal's protests.
Silva's opener capped a swift counter-attacking move from City, the Spaniard tapping home from close range after Edin Dzeko had rifled an effort against the left post.
Flamini, whose late own goal cost Arsenal in a 2-2 draw with Swansea City on Tuesday, soon had the ball in the back of the net at the other end as a lively first half continued, but his strike, which bounced over the head of City goalkeeper Joe Hart, was ruled out for offside. Samir Nasri was next to have an attempt at goal, but his tame attempt was collected by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
The face of the match changed eight minutes into the second half when Flamini atoned for his midweek misfortune by diverting Lukas Podolski's cross into the back of the net from a central position in the penalty area, his second goal since returning to the club last year.
Podolski scored and provided an assist on Tuesday and he almost repeated that achievement on Saturday, but Hart did just enough to keep out his powerful drive on the hour.
Arsenal were unable find a winner, but a point against the title favourites will come as a relief to manager Arsene Wenger, who has endured a difficult week after marking 1,000 games in charge with a 6-0 defeat at Chelsea last weekend, and will go some way to easing the pain of the 6-3 loss in December's reverse fixture.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "We went through a nightmare last week and you could see with the 2-2 against Swansea the team was on the floor. Despite that, we responded very well today.
"We were a bit nervy at the start, but even at 1-0 down you could see the team was ready for a fight. We could have won it in the second half, but overall it was a game of quality between two good teams. With the players we have out, and what we have seen today, it is remarkable.
"We have to fight until the end of the season, because everybody can beat everybody," he said. "Mathematically, we are still in there, but it is not in our hands."
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "It's a good week. Four points against Manchester United and Arsenal, both away, is a good week for us. Of course we would be more happy if we won today, but it is a good week.
"Arsenal had a better second half, but with no chances to score except the goal. In the first half we had at least four clear chances to finish and maybe we could have finished the game before.
"Today our team made a good performance. It's not easy to come here and beat Arsenal. All of us want to win all of the points, but I think we did a good performance against a very difficult team."
|11 May 2014||v Norwich (A)|
|15 Apr 2014||v West Ham (H)|
|06 Apr 2014||v Everton (A)|
|20 Apr 2014||v Hull (A)|
|28 Apr 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|04 May 2014||v West Brom (H)|