Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City: Honours even after Emirates thriller

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Spoils shared: Wilshere scored Arsenal's first in the draw against Man City.

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 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.

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Andy Gray and Richard Keys: Premier League predictions – Week 4

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Top Gunner: The fitness of Aaron Ramsey could prove decisive for Arsenal.

Arsenal entertain Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium today in the biggest game of the weekend.

Here Andy Gray and Richard Keys who front beIN Sports’ English Premier League coverage discuss how these two title contenders have performed so far this season and what they think will happen this afternoon.

Andy Gray: City have had the slightly better start to the season, and I thought they looked the business with good wins against Newcastle and Liverpool, but then we had that real surprise when Stoke turned them over 1-0.

That was a real kick in the teeth for Manuel Pellegrini’s boys but City will have learned from what was a catalogue of mistakes leading to Mame Biram Diouf’s goal.

City are coming into a tough run of games with Arsenal today, Bayern Munich away in the Champions League and then Chelsea at home, so they have to make sure they are at their best and don’t make silly errors, but I genuinely believe they will improve as the season progresses.

I don’t think Yaya Toure is anywhere near the form he was in last year which is probably part of the World Cup hangover. He’s not making so many of those surging runs we saw last year but that will come.

Sergio Aguero’s fitness will improve and Stevan Jovetic is like a new signing. I think they will be positive against Arsenal today, playing two up front and they’ll have a real go. You are always better taking the game to Arsenal, and City have the players to do that. 

Arsenal have one win and two draws to their name so far and they need to hope that Aaron Ramsey is fit for this game because he is arguably their best player and major goal threat from midfield. If he has not recovered from his ankle injury it will be a major blow and may well dictate the way this game goes, simply because he is so influential.

Danny Welbeck has a chance to prove himself at Arsenal. He never really did enough at United, so I wasn’t surprised they sold him. I hope he can finally fulfil the potential we all know he has. He works hard and can give Arsenal extra width and pace and he could present City a few problems.

I expect an open game because both sides like to play attacking football. Neither defence looks brilliant at the moment, so there will be plenty of chances in what should be an entertaining game. 2-2.

Richard Keys: What happened to City against Stoke came as no surprise to me because at their best they look awesome and at their worst they look awful, as they did against Stoke.

Apart from the fact they have a habit of cocking it up against smaller clubs like Stoke, I also think that the Premier League title is of secondary concern for them this season. They want Champions League success and that is where their priorities lie.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have a real chance of winning the title this year. I will be interested to see what Welbeck brings to the party. He should have been a regular in the Manchester United team but he didn’t deliver.

I have some sympathy with Louis van Gaal, who said he was not quite up to their standard. Having said that, he was terrific for England the other night so maybe he needed a change of environment. If he works at it, I think he can go on to be a really good player and at £16 million (Dh95.6m) could turn out to be a real bargain.

As Andy says, today’s game will depend on whether Ramsey plays or not. With him in the side, I think Arsenal will win. Without him, I can see it ending 1-1.

CHELSEA v SWANSEA

AG: Nobody really expected Swansea to be second but they have been fortunate with their opening fixtures. Burnley and West Brom were games they were always favourite to win. Victory at Old Trafford was a bit of a surprise, although United have hardly been at their best so far.

I am not going to dismiss Garry Monk’s team out of hand in this game because Leicester made life difficult for Chelsea, but I just can’t see them winning. It might be 0-0 an hour in, but Chelsea never get anxious and will get the job done. 2-0.

RK: There is probably nobody more surprised that Swansea are second than Garry Monk, but he won’t get anything out of this. I agree with Andy. 2-0.

CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY

AG: The only thing that separates these two sides is Premier League experience. 1-0 home win.

RK: I fear for Burnley because the Premier League is a massive step up for them. Palace to win 2-1.

SOUTHAMPTON v NEWCASTLE

AG: Newcastle are playing better than the two points they have suggest. Southampton have been a bit up and down, so we don’t know what we are going to get from them. Both teams will score but home advantage will play a part. 2-1 to Southampton.

RK: I think Alan Pardew is in trouble at Newcastle. If he loses this one his job will be on the line. Ronald Koeman has got Southampton settled and playing good football. They will win 3-1.

STOKE v LEICESTER

AG: That win against City at the Etihad will have given Mark Hughes’ team a lift. I have liked what Leicester have done so far in what has been a baptism of fire in the Premier League against Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal, but I think this game will get away from them. A scruffy 1-0 win for Stoke.

RK: I fancy Leicester to get something out of this. They are a dogged outfit and I think Stoke will struggle to take the game to them. 1-1.

SUNDERLAND v SPURS

AG: Spurs haven’t convinced me so far and the Stadium of Light is not an easy place to go to, so I reckon this will end 1-1.

RK: Tottenham will get better, but at the moment they are mediocre. They won’t get anything against a half-decent Sunderland side. 1-0 home win.

WEST BROM v EVERTON

AG: West Brom have a lot of new players who are still settling in while Everton look a more solid and efficient unit. 2-1 away win.

RK: I haven’t been impressed with Everton but they are a better side than West Brom, where there is still a lot of work to do. 2-1 Everton.

LIVERPOOL v ASTON VILLA

AG: Villa have done OK in their opening games but I still don’t think they are anything to write home about so their position in the league is a bit flattering. Daniel Sturridge will be missing for Liverpool but Mario Balotelli will make his home debut and I think they have more than enough firepower to win this 3-1.

RK: I know Villa have frustrated Liverpool at times. and they have had a great start to the season, but, for me, this has a Liverpool win written all over it. Sturridge will be missed but it is a perfect opportunity for Balotelli to make his mark. I am certain he will score and make himself a hero in the short term and then it’s up to him whether he can do it in the long term. 3-0 home win.

MAN UNITED v QPR

AG: Home banker for me. Radamel Falcao will start, as will Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, and they will go at QPR with the swagger of the old United. I am not saying QPR are going to necessarily get hammered but they are not very good and United desperately need a convincing win and I think this will be it. 2-0.

RK: Withough being disrespectful to QPR, I think this is three points on a plate for United. Van Gaal is due a good win and this will be a case of pick any number because Harry Redknapp’s side are awful. Falcao should have a field day against a poor defence and I can see United tearing QPR apart. 4-0.

HULL v WEST HAM

AG: This will either be a surprise 3-0 win for West Ham or Hull City will revert to type and win it 1-0 as they often do at home. Hull are out of Europe and can concentrate on the league now, so I am going for that narrow home win.

RK: You never know what to expect with these two teams but I think Hull just have the edge with home advantage against a very unpredictable West Ham side. 2-1 home victory.

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Liverpool boss Rodgers moves to calm the Sterling hype

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Sterling form: The Liverpool forward has been one of the stars of the season so far.

Liverpool forward Raheem Ster­ling needs protecting, not putting on a pedestal as England’s next great hope, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

The talented 19-year-old has enjoyed a stellar nine months since regaining a place in the starting line-up, becoming one of the Reds’ stand-out performers and playing in his first World Cup.

Sterling has maintained that progress this season with his club, scoring twice in three matches, while also impressing in his last two matches for the national side. How­ever, Rodgers, who already has an issue with England over the injury which has ruled out striker Daniel Sturridge for up to three weeks, stressed the youngster should not be over-burdened with expectation.

“I think he needs protection. I have seen it over the years,” said Rodgers ahead of today’s clash with Aston Villa. “He is a wonderful tal­ent, he is doing great for Liverpool but there are still a lot of things he needs to learn and he knows that and is a mature boy for his age.

“He has grown into a wonder­ful young man and his consistency and performances are there and the period he has been in the team has been exceptional

“I expect him to keep progressing but in terms of where he is at I think we need to be careful.”

Elsewhere, Roberto Martinez has urged his side to sort out the defen­sive woes that have plagued their start to the season. The Toffees have scored an impressive seven times in three games but have also conceded 10. Martinez said: “We had 15 clean sheets last season.

 Maybe we got a bit relaxed knowing we were so good in that area and we got punished and that is something we need to put extra emphasis on.”

PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES

Today
15:45 Arsenal v Man City
18:00 Chelsea v Swansea
18:00 Crystal Palace v Burnley
18:00 Southampton v Newcastle
18:00 Stoke v Leicester
18:00 Sunderland v Tottenham
18:00 West Brom v E verton
21:30 Liverpool v Aston Villa

Tomorrow
19:00 Man United v QPR

Monday
23:00 Hull v West Ham

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