Arsenal FC: Impressive Gunners Steal a Point at the Etihad Stadium

Mike GoncalvesCorrespondent IIISeptember 23, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 23:  Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla of Arsenal at the finsl whistle during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

An Arsenal side that played with complete confidence and a never-give-up attitude managed to split the points against Manchester City. Arsene Wenger will be pleased with his side's performance after going down 1-0 just before the stroke of halftime.

With Vito Mannone back in goal for the Gunners, Laurent Koscielny made his first appearance in the new campaign, and it sure was a good one. 

A confident and relaxed start for Arsenal looked positive for Arsene Wenger's men. They didn't look overwhelmed on the ball considering they were playing away from home and against the current English Champions. 

Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla featured in the midfield along with Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta. To the surprise of many, Ramsey and Cazorla appeared to be on the same page for most of the match. Confident exchanges between the two along with very good defensive positioning gave the Arsenal midfield that extra bit of confidence they needed.

All of Arsenal's hard work was undone in the 40th minute when Mannone came out to meet a corner kick and came nowhere near the ball. English defender Joleon Lescott out-jumped the Arsenal defenders to put City ahead, much to the frustration of Arsene Wenger.

Critics were beginning to question Arsenal's defensive approach on corner kicks, which didn't come as a big surprise. Although Steve Bould's defensive approach is to opt for zonal marking, Lescott's goal handed the critics something to finally talk about.

Despite being down a goal, a confident and believing air seemed to be flowing through the Arsenal side, and they were credited late in the match. A corner kick that was poorly cleared by Lescott met Laurent Koscielny, who fired a stinger past English keeper Joe Hart.

The Arsenal fans were in heaven while the Manchester City supporters didn't really know what to make of the situation. Another match for City and yet another failed attempt at a clean sheet, which should have Mancini pulling his hair out.

A well-deserved point for Arsenal could well have turned into the full three points if not for a few poor first touches and a defensive mental lapse. Gervinho will be frustrated with himself after Aaron Ramsey picked him out and his first touch ended up in a comfortable save for Joe Hart.

The Gunners now remain unbeaten in the new season, and they will have to build on today's performance.

Mikel Arteta took the captain's armband, and he enjoyed yet another great performance. A total of 106 passes with a 94 percent pass completion rate was just one way of him contributing to the squad. 

He was able to make big contributions in transition offensively and defensively while acting as protection for Mertesacker and Koscielny. 

Arsene Wenger's side proved that they can and will be able to challenge this season, that is if they can stay healthy and focused. 

Steve Bould's new defensive look has clearly helped Arsenal, and if not for two mistakes from the goalkeepers, Arsenal could well have zero goals against in the new campaign.

Did Arsenal deserve the full three points today? What is your view on today's match?

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