With nine goals conceded before this one (six in the league, three in the Champions League), Roberto Mancini declared before the kick-off: "We need to stop conceding so many and making life difficult. [Against Real Madrid] we didn't defend as we can on the edge of the box and made some mistakes – we need to resolve this problem quickly." Mancini had made Joleon Lescott the chief culprit for this malaise, as he was dropped for Matija Nastasic for the 3-2 defeat in Madrid. But after being restored Lescott was again uncertain, skinned too easily by Aaron Ramsey early on, with his heading also lacking conviction – it was his poor effort that went straight to Laurent Koscielny for Arsenal's equaliser. Expect Nastasic to get a second go soon.
Before Sunday's start, six minutes was the sum total in this campaign for Sergio Agüero, with the absence of last season's 30-goal man closing off City's ability to move in behind sides quickly. Before the quarter hour his directness had Agüero steaming beyond Arsenal to collect Gaël Clichy's pass, and he cut in from the left and let fly at Vito Mannone to force a corner. After a neat take-and-pivot from Scott Sinclair and a later shot that was blocked by Kieran Gibbs, the 24-year-old Argentinian might have grabbed a late late winner from Koscielny's botched clearance but the effort went just wide.
When David Silva flows through a game so do City, but the Spaniard has struggled this season as he did during the second half of the last one. With no City goal since 11 April – one of only two so far for 2012 – one frustrated fan urged him to "have a go" before the interval, when Silva jinked into space inside the area. But instead of unloading at Mannone he attempted one more Hollywood twirl. Still, it was Silva's corner that created Lescott's opener, and one searing run after the break suggests a welcome upturn in form could be imminent.
Aaron Ramsey, in his first start of the season, led his side from midfield, certainly during the first half. Two surges that opened up City illustrated his useful turn of pace and from one break beyond Lescott, Lukas Podolski should have converted. Santi Cazorla has smoother moves, as shown when he purred into the area and threaded a clever reverse pass to Gervinho. It was also Cazorla's lateshot that won the corner, which he took, that led to the equaliser.
The Ivorian's revival as a credible first-choice Arsenal attacker awaits completion. After three goals in the previous two games Gervinho was handed a fifth start and could have opened the scoring after 15 minutes; a Sunday League first touch when clear allowed Joe Hart to collect comfortably. His movement also disappointed: when the outlet for a Cazorla burst, Gervinho struggled to find a clever, space-creating run and the attack died.