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Arsenal blow two-goal lead to draw with Palace as Xhaka clashes with fans

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Arsenal's French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi (L), Arsenal's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (C) and Arsenal's Brazilian defender David Luiz (R) react after conceding their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Crys

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEurosport
27/10/2019 at 17:24 | Updated 27/10/2019 at 20:59

Premier League, The Emirates Stadium. Arsenal 2 (Sokratis 7', Luiz 9') Crystal Palace 2 (Milivojevic pen 32', Ayew 52').

Arsenal gave up a 2-0 lead as Crystal Palace fought back to earn a point at the Emirates while Granit Xhaka abused his own fans after being subbed off.

Emery handed a Premier League debut to defender Kieran Tierney, and was able to call upon Alexandre Lacazette in supporting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front for Arsenal. Roy Hodgson made just one change with Andros Townsend, promoted from the bench, out wide for Palace.

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Lacazette played up front with Aubameyang and it caused Palace countless problems in the first half. Both Arsenal goals came via corners from the right, delivered in by Pepe each time. Pepe found Sokratis for the first, and two minutes later David Luiz’s head for the second. Palace could barely get out their half for most of the first period but, after sustained pressure from Arsenal, Zaha found himself inside the Arsenal area up against Chambers.

Chambers had spent most of the match overlapping but was faced with stopping Zaha, which he did – without getting the ball. Zaha went down, but Martin Atkinson felt the Palace winger had dived and issued him a yellow card. Fortunately for Zaha and Palace, VAR showed that Atkinson was incorrect and awarded a penalty to Palace, also rescinding the booking. Milivojevic sent Leno the wrong way, the ball to the goalkeeper’s right well inside the post, and Palace were back in it. Arsenal weathered a late chance from Van Aanholt, who drew a good save from Leno, before the break.

Palace started the second half well, and found themselves level shortly after the restart. Getting the better of Arsenal in midfield, McArthur clipped over a delightful ball to Ayew at the back post and, with Leno stranded and unmarked, he side-footed the ball into the empty net. Palace continued to have the better of the play, much through the increasingly influential Milivojevic, and Arsenal’s frustrations were no more evident when their captain, Xhaka, was hauled off to the rather bizarre delight of the home support. Xhaka gestured to the fans and trudged off down the tunnel.

Arsenal eventually found a way back in after regaining possession in midfield and the momentum, and scored from another Pepe corner. Chambers fought for the ball and his blocked shot fell to Sokratis inside the box. Sokratis smashed the ball into the net, but Arsenal had to wait for a VAR review before celebrating. Chambers was adjudged to have fouled a Palace defender before getting his shot away and, harshly, the goal was chalked off.

Arsenal and Palace both pressed for a winner, and both had chances at the end, but Palace were happy to see the five minutes added at the end out for a well-earned, if fortunate, draw. Arsenal stay fifth ahead of Palace in sixth, but the pressure on Emery remains letting a two-nil lead slip.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal reacts after a decision by referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on October 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Image credit: Getty Images

TALKING POINT – Arsenal letting Palace back in

Arsenal dominated the first half and more than comfortable before Chambers brought down Zaha in the box. VAR showed that Martin Atkinson’s original decision to book Zaha for a dive was incorrect, and Milivojevic made no mistake from the spot. The goal gave Palace a way back in and they were buoyant for it in the second half, going on to get the equaliser. A familiar story for Arsenal, orchestrating their own downfall.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)

Nearly had a hat-trick of assists from numerous Arsenal corners. Pepe played in the hole for Arsenal and, with Lacazette and Aubameyang ahead of him, was a constant thorn in Palace’s defence who struggled to pick up the advancing forwards Pepe released.

KEY MOMENTS

6’- GOAL! Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 0! Xhaka nods down a corner from Pepe, which Palace make a mess of, and Sokratis fires it home!

8’- GOAL! Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 0! Another corner from Pepe, and this time it's Luiz who heads in for Arsenal! Two goals inside two minutes from the Arsenal centre backs. What a start!

29’- Zaha is booked for a dive in the box. Chambers made the tackle, and VAR is checking for a penalty. It looks harsh on Zaha, and replays show Chambers has fouled him inside the box.

31’- GOAL! Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 1! Milivojevic sends Leno the wrong way and strokes a confident penalty to the keeper's right. Palace are back in it!

51’- GOAL! Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 2! Oh my! Palace win the ball back in midfield again, and McArthur is free down the Arsenal right. McArthur finds Ayew with a superb ball over the Arsenal back line and Ayew, at the back post with Leno stranded, puts the ball in the net.

60’- Arsenal captain Xhaka is taken off, cheered and booed by his own fans. Xhaka gestures to the crowd and walks straight down the tunnel. Yikes. Saka comes on.

82’- GOAL! Arsenal 3 Crystal Palace 2! Pepe with the corner again, who finds Chambers. Chambers's shot is blocked, and it falls to Sokratis inside the box. Sokratis smashes the ball into the net!

84’- NO GOAL! Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 2! I'm not sure why that was disallowed, possibly for a foul by Chambers before Sokratis got it, but it's been chalked off and is still 2-2! Very harsh on Arsenal.

88’- Great save from Hennessey! Guendouzi cuts back to Lacazette, who finds Luiz at point-blank range inside the box. Luiz smashes it at Hennessey but the keeper tips it over the bar.

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal: Leno 6; Chambers 6, Sokratis 7, Luiz 7, Tierney 6; Xhaka 6, Guendouzi 6; Ceballos 6, Pepe 8, Lacazette 7; Aubameyang 6; Subs: Kolasinac 6, Saka 6

Crystal Palace: Hennessey 7; Ward 7, Tomkins 6, Cahill 6, Van Aanholt 6; Milivojevic 8, McArthur 7, Kouyate 6; Townsend 6, Zaha 6, Ayew 8 Subs: McCarthy 6, Benteke 6

KEY STATS

  • After winning 49 consecutive Premier League games when going two goals ahead, Arsenal have dropped points in each of the last two matches where they have taken a two-goal lead (also drawing 2-2 v Watford in September).
  • Since returning to the Premier League in 2013-14, Crystal Palace have both won (48) and scored (39) more penalties than any other side in the Premier League.
  • There were just 106 seconds between Arsenal’s first two goals against Crystal Palace.
  • Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney became the 200th Scottish player to make an appearance in the Premier League, with only players from France (211) and England (1561) appearing more.
  • Alexandre Lacazette has been directly involved in 29 Premier League goals for Arsenal at the Emirates (22 goals, 7 assists) – only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (30) has been involved in more since the Frenchman’s debut in August 2017.
  • Since his Premier League debut in February 2017, Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic has scored 21 penalties in the competition, more than twice as many as any other player in that time (Jamie Vardy & Joshua King, 10).
  • Since returning to Crystal Palace ahead of the 2014-15 season, Wilfried Zaha has won 16 penalties in the Premier League; a joint-high along with Jamie Vardy.
  • Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew has netted four goals in his last eight Premier League games, as many as he managed in his previous 34.
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