Manchester City 0-0 Arsenal: Stubborn Gunners defence keep the Champions at bay
Manchester City struggle to break down the Arsenal defence (Photo by Michael Regan via Getty Images)

The eagerly anticipated clash between Manchester City and Arsenal failed to live up to expectations as the two sides played out a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium on Easter Sunday.

City started the game on the front foot but struggled to find a way past the Gunners defence. It proved to be Arsenal that had the best opportunity of the first half but Gabriel Jesus' strike was wide. Aside from that, however, it was a cagey first half at the Etihad.

After the restart, both sides created early opportunities with Mateo Kovacic striking wide before Gabriel Jesus failed to prod home Bukayo Saka's cross. The defending champions pushed for the breakthrough but failed to test David Raya in the Gunners goal.

The draw means Liverpool move to the top of the Premier League following their victory against Brighton earlier in the day. Despite that, the title race is finely balanced heading into the final two months of the campaign with just three points separating 1st from 3rd.

  • Story of the match

Pep Guardiola made two changes from the side that defeated Newcastle United 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals. Nathan Ake came in for the injured Kyle Walker to partner Rúben Dias at the back with Manuel Akanji moving to right-back.

The second change came in attack as Belgian winger Jeremy Doku made way for fellow countryman Kevin De Bruyne. Goalkeeper Ederson remained ruled out which meant Stefan Ortega kept his place between the sticks.

Meanwhile, for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta kept a familiar line-up to the one that started in the Champions League victory over FC Porto. Just one change was made from that memorable night with Gabriel Jesus coming in for Leandro Trossard.

The Brazilian joined Kai Havertz and Bukayo Saka in the front three. Could the Gunners complete a league double over the reigning Premier League champions for the first time since the 2007/08 campaign?

The match did not take long to kick into life with the home side dominating early on. With four minutes gone, De Bruyne looked to seek out Erling Haaland from a free-kick but William Saliba was in the right place at the right time to clear away the danger.

With 15 minutes on the clock, City threatened in front of goal for the first time but Ake's header was straight at goalkeeper David Raya. Manchester City had the lions share of possession in the opening quarter but were unable to break down the Gunners backline.

The home side were forced into an early change on 26 minutes as Ake hobbled off with an injury concern and replaced by 19-year-old Rico Lewis. Yet another blow for Guardiola in the full-back department with Walker already missing for the Champions.

However, up the other end, Mikel Arteta's side created a rare chance in front of goal. Ben White's cross came to Jakub Kiwior on the left-hand side, who unselfishly set up Jesus on the edge of the area, whose effort drifted wide of the target.

City continued to provide a threat going forward with Josko Gvardiol's cross almost catching out Raya but the Spaniard shot stopper was alert. Neither side were able to make the all-important breakthrough with the match evenly poised at 0-0 going into the second half.

Second Half

Two minutes after the restart, Manchester City came close as a curling effort from Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic was struck inches wide of the post.

Meanwhile, Arsenal threatened an opening when Martin Ødegaard played the ball down the line to Saka, who tried to pick out Jesus in the middle but the former City striker failed to prod home.

As the match approached the hour mark, Guardiola brought on Jack Grealish and Doku in place of Kovacic and Phil Foden with City looking to finally break the deadlock. The Gunners also made a double substitution with Jorginho and Kiwior making way for Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Aside from the early second half chances, neither side could find a way past two very strong defensive lines. However, City were looking more likely to open the scoring. Leandro Trossard was introduced for Arsenal with 20 minutes to go, replacing forward Jesus.

De Bruyne pushed forward for the home side as his cross found Doku but the winger's effort deflected over the bar. As the match headed towards the closing stages, Saka was replaced by Gabriel Martinelli, the man who scored the winning goal at the Emirates back in October.

Manchester City continued to push for a winner as De Bruyne's corner was headed on by Gvardiol towards Haaland at the backpost but the Norwegian goal machine was unable to bundle the ball into the back of the net.

Despite the constant pressure from City in added time, Arsenal held on to pick up an important point on the road. However, despite a good result, the Gunners drop to 2nd in the table.

It proved to be a defensive masterclass from Arsenal's French centre-half William Saliba. With Manchester City dominating on the possession front, Saliba ensured the City attack were kept quiet.

During the game, Saliba had the most touches, most successful passes and tackles as well as winning possession eight times. The defender also ensured the Gunners brought an end to City's 57-game goal streak at the Etihad.

An impressive display from a player that provides huge importance to Mikel Arteta's side.

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