Given injury thrusts unknown Nielsen into the spotlight for City's charge for fourth

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 0

The history of goalkeeping in the Faroe Islands is dominated by one man, or rather one woolly bobble hat. Jens Martin Knudsen, a fork-lift truck driver at a fish factory, famously wore the ridiculous headgear in 65 international appearances.

Now Gunnar Nielsen, 23, has a chance to give his homeland a little more credibility as he takes centre stage in Manchester City's bid to reach the Champions League. The club's owners made a top four finish the minimum requirement this season, but for all the many millions they have spent in the past two years their chances of reaching the Champions League could now depend on a goalkeeper not even rated the best in the Faroe Islands.

Nielsen, who has only two international caps to his name, was signed on a free transfer from Blackburn in 2009 and his only experience of note has been in the Conference when on loan at Wrexham.

Nielsen's chance comes after first-choice goalkeeper Shay Given was stretchered from the Emirates after suffering a dislocated shoulder saving Abou Diaby's shot. The Irishman has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Nielsen suffered no hiccups when he came off the bench to make his debut for the last 23 minutes, and with regular understudy Stuart Taylor struggling after surgery on a knee injury and Joe Hart on loan at Birmingham, the unknown quantity will have to play against Aston Villa, Tottenham and West Ham.

City manager Roberto Mancini said: "Shay is in hospital, but we have 10 days and must play three big games. Gunnar came on and did very well. Stuart is still some way off and everyone must be 200 per cent now."

Nielsen hopes the volcanic ash cloud lifts so his family will be able to fly over to see his first start. He said: "The Faroe Islands is only a small country, 50,000 people, and I think they will be very proud. I've just started at the top, the rest will be easy! I'm Gunnar, they're nicknamed the Gunners, so maybe it was fate. But I don't know whether my family and friends would be able to come over and watch. That might all depend on the ash cloud."

City captain Kolo Touré, who was given warm applause on his first return to Arsenal, spoke of the team's confidence in Nielsen.

"We saw a young goalkeeper come on and he did really well. As a team we will protect him and try to help him. And try to make him really confident for the three games coming," Touré said. "He is a hard worker. He is always really focused. He is very intelligent and he saves lots of goals in training."

City are a hugely ambitious club but you would never have known it from the way they lined up at the Emirates. Fourth place was theirs for the taking following Tottenham's defeat at Manchester United yet Mancini was evidently only concerned with sneaking a point to keep City in touching distance of Spurs before the clubs meet at Eastlands on 5 May for the game that could decide who claims the final Chapions League place.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Fabianksi; Sagna, Campbell, Silvestre, Clichy; Diaby, Song; Walcott (Bendtner, 68), Nasri, Rosicky (Eboué, 68); Van Persie. Substitutes not used: Mannone (gk), Eduardo, Vela, Traoré, Eastmond.

Manchester City (4-3-2-1): Given (Nielsen, 73); Zabaleta, Touré, Kompany, Bridge (Richards, 27); De Jong, Vieira (Adebayor, 52), Barry; A Johnson, Bellamy; Tevez. Substitutes not used: Onuoha, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

Booked: Arsenal Silvestre, Diaby, Song, Van Persie. Man City Bellamy, Zabaleta.

Man of the Match: Campbell.

Attendance: 60,086.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes