Sunday Roundup: Honours Even Between Arsenal And City, Real Remain Atop La Liga, Barca Thrash Granada, Napoli-Juventus All Square

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Reuters / Carl Recine

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City

Arsenal twice came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw against Manchester City in a dramatic Premier League fixture on Sunday, and now sit seven points behind the fourth-placed visitors.

Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero twice gave City the much-needed lead before the break, but Arsenal were lucky to equalise through Theo Walcott, before Shkodran Mustafi’s perfect header after the break made sure the points were shared.

Against a background of the supporters’ discontent regarding the recent form of Arsene Wenger’s boys, Arsenal were nervy from the very beginning.

They fell behind in the fifth minute when Sane rounded keeper David Ospina and finished calmly after Arsenal’s defence was left clueless by a brilliant through-ball from Kevin De Bruyne for his 13th assist of the season.

City, however, lost impetus after that goal, and Walcott levelled from close range in the 40th minute after being played onside by Arsenal old boy Gael Clichy, who tried his best to make amends.

While both the sides couldn’t hide the defensive frailties throughout the match, they managed to demonstrate their attacking brilliance in spells.

Pep Guardiola’s debut season in England hasn’t been an unqualified success, but he has given City one of the Premier League’s sleekest attacks, and Arsenal’s equaliser suddenly spurred the visitors back to life.

It was Aguero who restored City’s lead two minutes later, after being picked out by David Silva before finishing with great composure.

But there was still something left in the thrilling contest. Arsenal defender Mustafi again restored parity eight minutes after the break, to rise above Nicolas Otamendi to head Mesut Ozil’s perfect corner past keeper Willy Caballero, and City’s defence seemed a static one.

Despite the crucial assist, Mesut Ozil once again faced the Arsenal fans’ rage for missing a chance to score. There were also groans early on in the match when he seemed to prematurely give up on chasing a ball into the corner, and those complaints became louder by the end of the first half, when he casually surrendered possession just outside his own box in the build-up to City going 2-1 up.

The draw now takes City, who visit Chelsea on Wednesday, on to 58 points, a point behind Liverpool, who have played a game more than Pep Guardiola’s boys.

Arsenal, meanwhile in sixth position, have 51 points and are in great danger of missing out on a top-four finish for the first time since 1996. They will be desperate to end a three-match winless streak in the Premier League when they welcome West Ham on Wednesday.

Granada 1-4 Barcelona

Barcelona managed the absence of top scorer Lionel Messi with calm and composure to cut Real Madrid’s La Liga lead to 2 points following a 4-1 win at Granada.

Luis Suarez’s perfect lob just before half-time opened the scoring, before on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jeremie Boga gave Granada an unexpected equaliser with a composed finish.

But Paco Alcacer restored Barcelona’s lead before Uche Agbo was sent off for two yellow cards. Ivan Rakitic’s deflected finish made it 3-1, before Neymar scored the fourth.

Real Madrid 3-0 Alaves

Real Madrid maintained their lead at the top of La Liga with 10 games in hand after dispatching Alaves to secure a fourth straight league win.

Karim Benzema put Zinedine Zidane’s side on course for a much-needed win, meeting Dani Carvajal’s fine cut-back. While Deyverson and Edgar wasted chances to bring back Alaves into the game, two goals in three minutes sealed the points for the Los Blancos. Isco made it 2-0 before Nacho headed home after Gareth Bale’s free-kick rebounded off the bar into his path.

Napoli 1-1 Juventus

Reuters / Ciro De Luca

Juventus are now six points clear at the top of Serie A with eight games remaining, following a hard-fought draw away to Napoli.

Sami Khedira put the visitors ahead after only seven minutes, playing a deft one-two with Miralem Pjanic. Napoli captain Marek Hamsik levelled just after the break from Dries Mertens’ reverse pass.

The build-up to this exciting clash had been dominated by the return of former Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, but the Argentine was unable to have a meaningful impact on the match.


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