Martin Demichelis's header rescued a 2-2 draw for Manchester City in an enthralling Barclays Premier League contest against Arsenal.
Goals after the break from Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez had eclipsed Sergio Aguero's first-half opener and appeared to have handed all three points to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium. However, the City centre-back Demichelis crashed home a header with seven minutes remaining to ensure Manuel Pellegrini's side earned a share of the spoils.
The draw will frustrate the hosts' manager Arsene Wenger, whose side registered one victory against top-six teams last term, although there were plenty of positives to take from an enterprising performance, not least from Danny Welbeck who almost marked his first appearance since joining from Manchester United on deadline day with a goal when his dinked effort hit a post. By contrast Frank Lampard was was replaced on his debut by former Arsenal man Samir Nasri at half-time.
Pellegrini's men showed their attacking instincts to lead at half-time, Aguero adding the finish to a brilliant breakaway, but Arsenal moved ahead when Wilshere capped a fine team move before Sanchez's perfectly executed volley made it 2-1.
There was time for one last twist, however, as Demichelis met Aleksandar Kolarov's cross, and Nasri almost then stole a winner when he tapped in a rebound from David Silva's shot, but was denied by the offside flag.
Arsenal started the match brightly, showcasing some incisive football, and Welbeck had his first sight of goal when he swept a Mesut Ozil centre into the side-netting in the 11th minute.
Welbeck went agonisingly close to opening his Arsenal account just a minute later. The forward pounced on a loose pass from Silva and bore down on goal before executing a deft chip beyond Joe Hart, only for his shot to rebound off the inside of a post. City struggled to gain a foothold in the early stages and saw Lampard and Pablo Zabaleta booked in quick succession as their frustration grew.
But the visitors stole ahead after 28 minutes with a textbook counter-attacking goal. The ball fell to Jesus Navas who raced clear down the right and played a perfectly weighted pass into the area, where Aguero got in between the Arsenal defence to sweep home from eight yards.
The away side grew in confidence after taking the lead and Arsenal's defence was torn apart by a fine City move from which Silva saw a close-range shot well saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
City looked comfortable at the start of the second half, but Arsenal drew level shortly after the hour. Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey combined well as the Wales midfielder slipped the ball into the path of Wilshere, whose quick feet bamboozled Gael Clichy and his measured finish beat Hart at the near post.
Arsenal took the lead in the 74th minute when Vincent Kompany's attempted headed clearance was nodded to the back post by Wilshere and Sanchez showed great technique to volley his shot beyond the reach of Hart.
Wenger saw Mathieu Debuchy forced off with a serious-looking injury in the 81st minute and his day took another turn for the worse when City equalised.
Substitute Kolarov's corner was blocked but from the follow-up cross Demichelis' header found its way in via the post. There was almost a late twist as City twice struck the woodwork, while Nasri thought he had got one over on his former side with a close-range finish only to be thwarted by an offside call.
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|03 Dec 2014||v Southampton (H)|