10-man Gunners earn point at Selhurst

 

Arsenal 1

Crystal Palace 1

 

Jordan Ayew’s deflected shot earned Crystal Palace a point against 10-man Arsenal at Selhurst Park in today’s lunchtime kick-off in the Premier League.

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and then was sent off in a game of two halves in South London.

 

Arsenal dominated possession in the first 25 minutes and the only surprise was they were only one goal to the good in that period.

 

Palace couldn’t get a touch and the Gunners deservedly took the lead after just 12 minutes.

 

A good long pass by David Luiz found Mesut Ozil, who fed Alex Lacazette. The Frenchman’s through-ball was perfectly weighted for the on-running Aubameyang, who held off his defender and stroked the ball past keeper Vincente Guaita for his 14th Premier League goal of the season.

 

Luiz looked commanding at the back for Arsenal in the first half, and both his short and long-range passing was on key. He appears back to somewhere near his best - and certainly his best in an Arsenal shirt.

 

The Gunners, who look so much happier under Mikel Arteta, were finding their range. Torreira was both winning the ball back in midfield and starting attacks.

 

On the rare occasions Arsenal did lose the ball, their tenacity and work rate kicked in and they invariably won it back immediately – that’s not something you could have said a few weeks ago.

 

But while it was only 1-0 Palace were in the game. After half an hour the home side finally began to push Arsenal back, but lacked quality in the final third to punish them.

 

Promising positions for both James McArthy, whose free-kick floated harmlessly wide of any attackers, and James McArthur, whose through ball also found touch, were squandered.

 

Five minutes before the break, the Eagles should have been level. Cheikhou Kouyate side-stepped a challenge from Lucas Torreira in the box and curled a right-footed effort far too close to Leno who saved easily.

 

Lucas Torreira was replaced by Matteo Guendouzi for Arsenal at half-time after the Uruguayan fell awkwardly late in the first period.

 

And Palace equalised nine minutes into the second period. A quick free-kick down the Arsenal left caught the Gunners napping, and when Kouyate crossed, Ayew’s effort looped up off Luiz, over Leno and into the Gunners’ goal.

 

Luiz almost restored Arsenal’s advantage on the hour, meeting Nicola Pepe’s right-hand corner, but powered his header just over the bar.

 

Then came the talking point of the match, Aubameyang’s sending off after 65 minutes. The forward’s challenge was very late and referee Paul Tierney initially booked the Gabon striker, but the decision was overturned, correctly, when VAR intervened.

 

Aubameyang left the field to boos after the Palace faithful saw the incident on the big screen following the red card.

 

With just over 10 minutes to go Palace could have won it, but for Sokratis’ excellent goal-line clearance from Tomkins’ looping header.

 

Then Arsenal had a chance to take all three points. Pepe’s shot was touched on to the post by Guaita, who got up to save Lacazette’s follow-up.

 

But the points were shared.

 

 

Palace: Guaita, Tomkins (yellow), Meyer (Tosun 67), Kouyate, Ayew, Zaha, McArthur, McCarthy, Cahill, Kelly, Riedeweld

Subs: Hennessey, Dann, Tosun, Wickham, Woods, Kirby, Keutcha

 

Arsenal: Leno, Sokratis, Lacazette (yellow, Nelson, 90), Ozil (Martinelli, 67), Toreira (Guendouzi, h/t), Aubameyang (yellow), Maitland-Niles (yellow), Pepe (yellow), Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka

Subs: Martinez, Holding, Nelson, Willock, Guendouzi, Martinelli, Saka

 

Referee: Paul Tierney

 

 

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