And an unsatisfactory game had a fitting end with Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta both seeing red in the final minute as they literally went head to head.
Arsenal again failed to deliver at home whilst City did not have the confidence to take the game to the home side leaving both managers frustrated with a point apiece which does little to convince that either side have the staying power to challenge current leaders Manchester United.
The Gunners were the more impressive of the two teams, showing more attacking intent and striking the woodwork three times - Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott being the unfortunate players, but in the end failed to break down the stubborn visitors.
For City it was their eleventh clean sheet of the campaign and their impressive away record continues but until they show more attacking intent the title looks destined elsewhere than Eastlands.
van Persie’s seventh minute shot struck the post whilst Walcott turned and shot a fraction wide of the target in the 24th minute – these two probably being the Gunners’ best chances of the opening half-hour.
That was until Cesc Fabregas’ thunderous shot from the edge of the area cannoned off the right post, leaving Joe Hart with cement feet, before Walcott got on the end of the deflection and rocketed his shot into the left post around the 28th minute.
The host’s still came at City despite much of the zing fading out of the game and it seemed like it would simply be a matter of time before they hit the back of the net.
Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure supplied some positive moments for City just before half-time but the opening 45 minutes belonged to the Gunners even though they were not yet on the scoreboard.
Arsene Wenger’s men were continuing to cause problems for the City defence but could not get past Hart. Van Persie took two shots from tight angles in the opening 10 minutes of the second half but neither were good enough to sneak in past the City keeper.
There seemed to be acres of space for the Arsenal players, even though City were camped in their half, and there was another strong chance for van Persie who drove toward the top right corner from distance in the 61st minute, forcing a top save out of Hart who produced a full-stretch dive to his right to force it wide.
With City content to defend in depth the home side poured forward but gradually seemed to run out of ideas leaving City hoping Tevez would punish them on the break.
Only when Adam Johnson appeared as substitute did City look more threatening but by then a draw looked on the cards and so it turned out to be.
Referee: Mike Jones
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Man City scorers:
03 Sagna (red card)
14 Walcott (Arshavin 68)
17 A Song
19 Wilshere (Bendtner 81)
10 Van Persie
04 Kompany (Boateng 90)
05 Zabaleta (red card)
28 Kolo Toure
18 Barry (yellow card)
34 De Jong (yellow card)
42 Yaya Toure
27 Jo (A Johnson 64)
11 A Johnson,