In the heat of the race to the top four, this game was essential for both teams, as they need all the points they can get. With Chelsea losing to Crystal Palace the day before, a win could’ve boosted either team's chances of a top-four finish and may have given City a hope to win the title that seemed impossible not too long ago.
Ultimately, the game concluded without a winner. Although the draw did hurt both teams’ records in terms of points, it’s still better than a loss for City.
Let's take a deeper look at City's performance against Arsenal:
Honestly, I didn’t have much of a problem with the City defense on Sunday. I would usually be all over them for allowing two goals, but they dealt well with the constant pressure from a talented Arsenal attack all game. John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi made plenty of big stops during the Gunners’ long spell of possession in the first half, and Fernandinho made plenty of contributions in the defensive side.
Gaël Clichy’s underrated pace down the left flank somehow took Arsenal by surprise, and the Frenchman managed to hold his own against his boyhood club. Willy Caballero was left without much of a chance to prevent both goals, with close range strikes that were practically unstoppable. Although they still allowed two goals, a group of solid defensive players held the game in place for the attack to do the rest.
Pep Guardiola went into the game with goals on his mind, as his starting 11 shocked many with the decision to play a 4-5-1 with Jesus Navas at right-back. Although the Spaniard has not played nearly as often this season, his blistering pace threw off Arsenal’s back line, and he was able to make a few dangerous crosses into the box.
Raheem Sterling did not shine in the first half, but I still can’t understand Pep’s decision to sub him off after 45 minutes for Yaya Touré. The Ivorian looked slow and sloppy, and a few of his mistakes almost led to Arsenal goals on the other end.
However, Leroy Sané, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva stepped up to control the midfield this weekend. De Bruyne’s assist to Sané was arguably the pass of the season, and it paid off when the German youngster converted his chance. The Belgian also received his fair share of bad luck, as he hit the woodwork twice on Sunday. De Bruyne actually leads the Premier League in this category, with eight shots off the woodwork, which is INSANE.
David Silva’s combination play with Sergio Agüero was solid, especially with a beautiful assist from the Spaniard to El Kun's goal. Silva also almost scored off a rebound from De Bruyne’s first strike off the post, but David Ospina made a great save at the near post. Overall, the midfield played beautiful football all afternoon long.
While I do love Sergio Agüero, he is quite inconsistent. On Sunday, he barely touched the ball for most of the first half, but then he scored a fantastic goal from a tiny angle a minute after the Gunners equalized, and then he disappeared again.
If City want to secure a spot in the top 4, then Agüero needs to be more consistent. When Sergio delivers complete performances, City become a force to be reckoned with.