Man City face Champions League misery after Arsenal draw
Sloppy City slip up again and could be pipped to fourth place in the league by Manchester United
Manchester City 2 Arsenal 2
A point apiece pleased Arsenal more than their hosts in a pulsating match played in hot Manchester sunshine. The result means that the Gunners are all but assured of Champions League football next season, but Manchester City's fate is no longer in their hands, with local rivals United now in position to overhaul them.
But City only themselves to blame after twice taking the lead and then allowing their visitors to equalise.
Arsenal keeper Petr Cech was at fault for both City goals, the veteran keeper allowing himself to be beaten at his near post by Sergio Aguero in the first-half and Kevin de Bruyne in the second. Luckily for Cech his forwards weren't so sloppy.
Olivier Giroud ended his four month goal drought in the league with a smart header just two minutes after Aguero had given the City lead. And the Frenchman then showed his skill as a provider, laying off a sumptuous ball for Alexis Sanchez, who picked his spot and coolly drove a low shot past Joe Hart on 68 minutes.
City fans showed their frustration at how the season has panned out by streaming out of the Etihad at the final whistle, despite the fact they knew Manuel Pellegrini was going to address the fans after the last home match of his three year tenure as manager. The Chilean was left to thank just a few thousand fans, who had the graciousness to acknowledge a reign that brought the club a Premier League title and two League Cup crowns.
Pellegrini's replacement will be Pep Guardiola, who will not relish the prospect of Europa League football on Thursday nights if City finish fifth.
But that is what he is faced with as the tussle between the two Manchester clubs promises to provide more drama in the final week of this extraordinary season.
City are fourth on 65 points with one game to play (away at Swansea), while Manchester United are two points behind their neighbours but with two fixtures remaining. The first of those is away at West Ham tomorrow night, no easy task given that it's the Hammers' last match at Upton Park after more than 100 years of football prior to their installation at the Olympic Stadium. But should United win at West Ham, and also collect three points at home to Bournemouth on Sunday, then City (assuming Arsenal pick up at least a point against Aston Villa) will finish fifth and miss out on qualification for next season's Champions League.
The Gunners are third, two points behind Spurs and three in front of Manchester City and their last match of the season is at home to bottom club Aston Villa, who are without a win in the Premier League since beating Norwich in February.
In fact they could still finish second if results go their way, particularly as Tottenham appear to have blown up yards from the finishing line. The Lilywhites, who saw their faint hopes of winning the title slip through their fingers at Stamford Bridge last Monday, suffered their first home defeat in the league since January, losing 2-1 to Southampton on Sunday.
And Mauricio Pochettino's deflated troops face relegation-threaened Newcastle on the final day.
The downside for Arsenal, apart from the performance of Cech, was an injury to Danny Welbeck, who limped off in the first half with a knee problem. He will undergo a scan and could now be a doubt for England's Euro 2016 squad, announced on Thursday.
The beneficiary, though, was another England hopeful, Jack Wilshere, who came off the bench and declared himself happy with his performance.