LONDON (AFP) – Martin Demichelis scored an 83rd-minute equaliser as champions Manchester City held Arsenal to a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Arsenal looked set for victory when Alexis Sanchez slammed home a sumptuous volley in the 74th minute, after Jack Wilshere’s neatly constructed goal had cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s first-half opener for City.
But Argentina centre-back Demichelis headed in an Aleksandar Kolarov corner to prevent Manuel Pellegrini’s side from slumping to a second consecutive defeat after their shock 1-0 loss at home to Stoke City.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will have drawn encouragement from the way his side came from behind to lead, but he was also given serious cause for concern by an ankle injury to right-back Mathieu Debuchy.
Wenger handed a first start to Danny Welbeck and the £16 million ($26.6 million, 20.2 million euros) former Manchester United striker saw an early chipped effort hit the post after he had raced clear.
City, who gave a debut to former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, made the breakthrough in the 28th minute when Aguero met Jesus Navas’s low cross with a delicate near-post finish.
Wilshere equalised in the 63rd minute, gathering a pass from Aaron Ramsey, drifting past Gael Clichy, and lifting a cool right-foot shot over City goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Eleven minutes later the England midfielder’s header set up close-season signing Sanchez to crash an emphatic volley into the top-right corner from around 12 yards.
But after Debuchy had been stretchered off following an awkward landing that required him to be given oxygen, Demichelis met Kolarov’s left-wing corner with a pinpoint header to bring City level.
City came closest to snatching victory, with Kolarov hitting the post, Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny seeing a misjudged clearance hit the frame of his own goal, and Wojciech Szcesny saving from Edin Dzeko.
Chelsea and Swansea City will put their 100 percent records on the line later on Saturday when they face off at Stamford Bridge, while Mario Balotelli is due to make his Liverpool home debut against Aston Villa.
Manchester United host Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, when Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind are all in line to make their first appearances for Louis van Gaal’s side.