Manchester City 2-2 Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez earns the Gunners a point as hosts' hopes of reaching Champions League next season remain in the balance after throwing away the lead twice
- Sergio Aguero fired Manchester City into the lead in the eighth minute with well-taken left-footed strike at the Etihad
- But Arsenal hit back immediately when Olivier Giroud leaped highest to head home a corner past City's Joe Hart
- Danny Welbeck was forced off in the first half after appearing to hurt his knee when he clashed with Bacary Sagna
- Belgium playmaker Kevin De Bruyne regained City's lead six minutes after the restart with a stunning solo goal
- Alexis Sanchez scored Arsenal's second goal after linking up well with Giroud before sending Hart the wrong way
An exciting game this may have been – there were three very good goals – it was nevertheless one to illustrate the enduring flaws of Manchester City and Arsenal. Neither deserved to lose, neither were good enough or reliable enough to win. It sums up their seasons, their recent pasts.
A draw was no good for either team. The beneficiaries were Manchester United who suddenly and unexpectedly find Champions League qualification in their own hands.
Alexis Sanchez scores Arsenal's second goal of the match after linking up well with Olivier Giroud before sending Joe Hart the wrong way
The Chilean jumps for joy after watching his placed finish hit the back of the net during the second half of the crunch top-flight clash
Kevin De Bruyne regains Manchester City's lead six minutes after the restart when he fired a right-footed strike into the back of the net
The Belgium playmaker wheels away to celebrate his second-half goal as the jubilant Manchester City supporters join in behind the goal
Arsenal striker Giroud (centre) rises highest to level the scores in the first half after powering his header past the helpless Joe Hart
Giroud celebrates after ending a run of just over 15 hours without scoring in Premier League with his sixth headed goal this season
Sergio Aguero gives Champions League-chasing Manchester City the lead in the eighth minute with a well-taken left-footed strike
The former Atletico Madrid star celebrates scoring his 24th Barclays Premier league goal of the season in Sunday's clash with Arsenal
Outgoing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini waves to the fans after taking charge of his final home match as the club's boss
Arsenal supporters present at the Etihad on Sunday continue to protest against manager Arsene Wenger following a frustrating season
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE FROM THE ETIHAD STADIUM
Meanwhile, the gap between these teams and our new Barclays Premier League champions is worth noting. Not only have they been unable to stop Leicester’s march to glory, Arsenal are now twelve points behind the flying Foxes while City trail them by fifteen.
That is worth considering for a moment as it represents just how gravely Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger have failed.
Here opportunity knocked for both. A win for City would have left them one more victory away from a top four finish and something to hand to incoming coach Pep Guardiola. Arsenal, meanwhile, could have wrapped things up ahead of next week’s home game against Aston Villa
Neither could do it, though and while Wenger at least was able to head for the sanctuary of the team bus, Pellegrini was not so lucky.
The Chilean had to endure a farewell lap of the pitch in a near-deserted stadium. That was excruciating and unfortunate. Pellegrini may not go down as the most charismatic City manager but he deserved better than that.
As for the football, City began and finished the game the brighter while Arsenal somehow managed to stay in it courtesy of some pluck and some questionable City defending.
Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho (left) accidentally fouls Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck during the opening exchanges of the tie
Arsenal playmaker Jack Wilshere (left), who has recently returned to the first-team fold after a spell on the sidelines, was on the bench
With less than 10 minutes played, Aguero scores the first goal of the match by latching onto Fernandinho's downwards header
The Argentinian wheels away to celebrate his opener on Sunday as Aaron Ramsey (left) and Nacho Monreal (right) look on frustrated
With rivals Manchester United winning on Saturday, City knew Sunday's clash was a must-win and they enjoyed their first-half opener
So it will now go all the way to the final day of the season and some belated excitement for both sets of supporters at the end of a campaign that hasn’t contained anything like enough.
Having kept the unthinkable prospect of United catching them at the back of their minds until now, City at least began as though they had finally woken up to the possibility. After the soporific nature of their two European displays against Real Madrid, they couldn’t have looked more different early on.
City were energetic and aggressive and had already threatened once or twice before taking an early lead.
A dinked cross from the right from Jesus Navas found Fernandinho in the eighth minute and when the midfielder squeezed the ball back to Sergio Aguero he deceived Mohamed Elneny and drilled the ball powerfully past Petr Cech low to the goalkeeper’s left.
Less than ten minutes gone and already Arsenal were in trouble. Frankly, they only looked half interested.
This City team is capable of extraordinary things, though, and not always in a good way. Sure enough, defender Gael Clichy nodded an aimless Arsenal cross from the left back across goal to concede an utterly needless corner and from the set piece Olivier Giroud rose unattended to head the Londoners back in to the game.
Arsenal almost immediately hit back when Gael Clichy's (unseen) header back across his own goal narrowly bounces wide for a corner
But from the resulting corner, Giroud ended his goal drought with a header from Alex Iwobi's delivery to draw his team level at the Eithad
The France international is mobbed by his Arsenal team-mates after equalising for his side two minutes after Manchester City had scored
Aguero reacts in disappointment after missing an opportunity to score in the first half of Sunday's crucial Premier League match
England manager Roy Hodgson will be concerned after Welbeck picked up an injury in the first half and was replaced by Wilshere
Arsenal players take advantage of a break by grabbing an energy drink as Welbeck is attended to by a member of Gunners' medical team
If that was a stroke of fortune for Arsenal, pretty soon it evened itself up. Danny Welbeck fell to the ground clutching his right knee and limped off to place his Euro 2016 ambitions in serious doubt. Some players do not have any luck, it seems.
From here it became a better, more even game, if one characterised by mistakes.
City remained the more progressive side and were no doubt encouraged by the struggles of both Arsenal full backs Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. Navas, unusually, was excellent in exploiting Monreal’s discomfort.
There were precious few chances, though, until Kevin De Bruyne contributed another example of his special talent six minutes in to the second half.
The Belgian’s break from halfway owed much to his determination and strength and his low right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area was immaculately positioned. But how Bellerin allowed his opponent to ever reach the 18-yard-line is another discussion altogether. If De Bruyne’s contribution was brilliant then the Arsenal defender had every reason to examine his own.
England midfielder Wilshere, making just his second appearance of the season, came on for Welbeck and looked lively in the first half
Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez gets a surprise when Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala quite literally jumps over him in the first half
Arsenal's French striker Giroud jumps for a header with Manchester City's Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi
Cech comes rushing outside his box to intercept the ball - making a big hash of it in the process - but just about beats Aguero to the ball
De Bruyne, the former Chelsea midfielder, scores a stunning solo goal in the second half to regain Manchester City's lead at the Etihad
The playmaker is congratulated by his Manchester City team-mates after scoring his side's second goal of the match on Sunday afternoon
Midfielder Jack Wilshere (right) cuts a dejected figure as Arsenal concede a second goal in the clash with their Premier League rivals
Again Arsenal looked all but out of this game. Again City looked as though they had it under control. We should have known better than to start looking at the league table, though.
With half an hour to play, Arsenal slowly woke up. Substitute Theo Walcott overran one chance in the 67th minute and that proved portentous as soon after Alexis Sanchez played a sumptuous one-two with Giroud and buried a low shot with his right foot from the edge of the area.
Wenger and his coaches celebrated unexpected parity with glee while Pellegrini’s sudden need was illustrated by the introduction of substitutes Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure and Bony.
They did rally as Aguero fizzed a volley across goal, De Bruyne’s free-kick was touched over and then Bony’s sweet volley shook the frame of the goal with three minutes remaining.
In terms of the eventual shake down, that moment could be very important indeed but for City to find themselves in this position is staggering, vulnerable to a late rally from this United team of all teams.
Certainly it is a puzzle but one that will perhaps not occupy Pellegrini for long. Pretty soon this will all be somebody else’s mess to clean up.
Substitute Theo Walcott, who replaced youngster Alex Iwobi, misses a glorious opportunity to level the scores again at the Etihad Stadium
But moments later and Arsenal got the equaliser through Sanchez with Hart wrong-footed by the former Barcelona star
Sanchez points to the sky in celebration after scoring the north London side's equalising goal against their top four-chasing rivals
The Manchester City manager was taking charge of his final home game as manager before he is replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer
Fans at the Etihad show their support for the outgoing manager by displaying a banner with the words: 'Pellegrini This Charming Man'
Another banner which reads 'Thanks Manuel' is displayed at the Etihad prior to kick-off in Sunday's Premier League match