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Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal: Spoils Shared as Aubameyang Sees Red

Crystal Palace Arsenal red

Aubameyang’s Red Card

Crystal Palace (Ayew 55′) 1-1 Arsenal (Aubameyang 12′)

Arsenal Player Ratings  Match Highlights  Post-Match Press Conference

Crystal Palace is a side that is difficult to break down because of the team’s compactness and the industrious players in their midfield. The likes of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew add some flamboyance to their play, and they are a mid-table side at best. Arsenal, on the other hand, was on the ascendancy following the appointment of Mikel Arteta, and the Gunners have found some measure of consistency in the games played under his management thus far.

Bar the absenses of Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin as discussed on the match preview, the manager had a squad with a clean bill of health, making his team selection pretty straightforward. Arsenal’s football under Arteta is a massive improvement from what we witnessed in the first half of the season, as the lads have gained confidence, passing with more intricacy and pressing like a pack of hungry wolves.

The opening goal reminded me of the Wengerball of old with David Luiz threading an inch perfect pass to Mesut Ozil, that wasted no time in cushioning the ball for Alexandre Lacazette. The French forward noticed his captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, making an intelligent run off the Crystal Palace defender and he teed him up with a delicate pass. Aubameyang’s first touch was superb, his second even better as he slotted the ball past a hapless Vicente Guaita to put Arsenal ahead.

Crystal Palace Arsenal goal

We have missed this legendary handshake

This goal took the wind of Crystal Palace sails but Arsenal was meant to strike the iron while it was hot. Even though the Gunners had the upper hand in terms of ball possession and taking control of the game, they failed to make it count and as you would expect in a competitive environment like the Premier League, you will be hurt by the opposition if you do not take your chances. 

The turning point in the first half arrived when Lucas Torreira got hurt and seeing Matteo Guendouzi come in for him at the start of the second half, I had some concern. It is not like I have any bad reservations against the young Frenchman still trying to make a name for himself in the side. My challenge was with the fact that we lost a player that is an absolute beast under Arteta, making those vital interceptions in midfield and protecting the defense better than before. Guendouzi did not to do that and the defense eventually crumbled.

As for Crystal Palace’s equalizer, Arsenal just switched off. A cross field ball went to the right side of the Gunners defense and everyone watched as the ball found itself to Ayew on the edge of the area. The Ghanian forward fired a hopeful punt aimed at the Arsenal goal but David Luiz lounged himself at the ball with the hope of making an interception. What he did instead was to deflect the ball, putting Bernd Leno in an uncompromising position, and the Gunners slender lead was cut off.

Things got from bad to worse when Arsenal’s captain and most influential player, Aubameyang, received his matching orders for his lunge at Crystal Palace’s Max Meyer. The forward received a booking at first but VAR had a second look and he received his matching orders. It was a painful moment for Aubameyang because he felt he had let his team down, and it’s even more painful knowing that he will not be available for the crucial games against Sheffield United and Chelsea.

Aubameyang’s dismissal saw the manager summon Gabriel Martinelli to the fold in the place of Ozil but the young Brazilian was on the end of a lot of nasty tackles and challenges from the Crystal Palace defender. Late on, Arsenal had a chance to grab all three points when Nicolas Pepe, that had another stinker, was clean on goal but his drilled effort clipped the post after a smart save from Guaita. Lacazette pounced on the rebound but his hopeful effort was smothered by Guaita and that chance went begging.

The draw does not help Arsenal’s cause as the Gunners are a massive 11 points behind fourth place Chelsea, that gave themselves some breathing space with the 3-0 win against Burnley. At this point, all focus should go to winning silverware in the FA Cup and the Europa League, as it offers Arsenal their only realistic chance of even playing in Europe next season.

Sayonara

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal: Player Ratings

Crystal Place Arsenal Aubameyang

Aubameyang’s sending off

Crystal Palace entertained Arsenal in the lunchtime fixture of Saturday and as expected, there was a drama for all fans involved. I will publish an in-depth review of the game tomorrow, but it was not surprised to see that the starting lineups of both teams matched what I published in the preview of the game.

Here are the Gooner Daily player ratings:

Starting XI

Bernd Leno: The German shot stopper had little to do all game long but did well to claim some cross and made himself available when required. Unfortunate to concede from that deflection off his teammate. (6)

Sokratis Papastathopoulos: Had a good game by this fair standards, making the necessary blocks, clearances and interceptions. Would not be happy to concede that goal after his display (6)

David Luiz: Was at the heart of everything good for the team, especially with building from the back with his inch-perfect distribution. It is ironic to know that his deflection cost his side all three points. (7)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: His duel against Wilfried Zaha was publicized prior to the game and it is fair to say that he acquainted himself well with the threat the Ivorian posed on that flank. (7)

Sead Kolasinac: Marauded the left flank but did not offer much in the final third. (6)

Granit Xhaka: In the week he declared his loyalty to the club, Xhaka has gone from strength to strength putting up another committed performance in the middle of the park. (7)

Lucas Torreira: Covered every blade of glass on the side but got injured. His absense in the second half was sorely missed. (7)

Mesut Ozil: Involved in some good attacking plays for his side. Sacrificed to make up for Aubameyang’s dismissal. (6)

Nicolas Pepe: Had a poor game by his fair standards, making little or no impact from his favored position. (5)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Showed his class with a neat finish after some intricate passing play. Gutted to receive his marching orders for a mistimed challenge. (7)

Alexandre Lacazette: Continued working hard in attack but his lack of confidence in front of goal is a big cause for concern. (6)

Substitutes

Matteo Guendouzi: Brought onto the pitch to do Torreira’s work but failed miserably. (5)

Gabriel Martinelli: Tried to impose his influence on the game but was on the end of some intense fouling (6)

Reiss Nelson: Did not play enough to earn a rating. N/A

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Crystal Palace Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

Mustafi doing Mustafi things

Crystal Palace hosts Arsenal in today’s lunchtime fixture in what should be a pulsating encounter. Last season on this same patch of Earth known as Selhurst Park, the Gunners shared the spoils with their hosts, no thanks to two well taken penalties from the master dead ball specialist, Luka Milovojevic.

Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, spoke about the difficulties of playing on that ground,

“Every time I played there, I suffered. It was always tough. It is a very complicated stadium. Roy Hodgson is a manager with incredible experience and what he is doing there, it is impressive and it will be tough.

The manager is in the news for all the right reasons, getting results both on and off the pitch. There was a time this season where Granit Xhaka reached an all time low with the fans and was odds on to leave the club in January. Arteta had some discussions with him and convinced Xhaka to stay, which is a major plus for all concerned. Mesut Ozil also spoke highly of the new gaffer, stating he has brought the old virtues to the club.

With the renewed sense of optimism at the club, today’s game against Crystal Palace will represent how much more progress the club has made in the short stint Arteta has had with the Emirates. 

Arsenal Team News

Calum Chambers (knee) and Kieran Tierney (shoulder) are currently the major absentees in the squad, although there were some concerns with club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (illness) but he should be back in contention.

Hector Bellerin’s hamstring still remains a cause for concern and Arsenal is still short on options in that position. Ainsley Maitland-Niles holds the fort, and Arsenal attempted an experiment with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, but the Sun reported that the Gunners are in talks to sign Brazilian teenage sensation, Yan Couto this summer. 

Lucas Torreira managed to get some rest in the FA Cup clash with Leeds, so he will be fresh for today’s encounter, because he will face some dogged opposition in the forms of James McCarthy, James McArthur and Cheikhou Kouyate. 

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Crystal Palace Team News

Roy Hodgson took to youth for his FA Cup encounter against Derby County and received some embarrassment from the Sky Bet Championship outfit. There was some insult added to injury when club captain, Milovojevic, received his matching orders in that game and will serve a three-match ban. 

Crystal Palace secured the services of Cenk Tosun on loan from Everton, so he will be odds on to make his home debut. The Turkish forward lived his best life in Besiktas before switching to the Premier League and he struggled ever since. 

Crystal Palace Predicted Lineup

Crystal Palace 4-3-3 football formation

Injury Updates

Arsenal: Kieran Tierney (shoulder), Hector Bellerin (hamstring), Calum Chambers (knee)

Crystal Palace: Patrick van Aanholt (hamstring), Joel Ward (knee), Scott Dann (muscle), Mamadou Sakho (hamstring), Jeffery Schlupp (muscle), Andros Townsend (knock), Christian Benteke (muscle), Luka Milovojevic (suspension)

Team Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: D D L W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 1-0 Leeds United
  • Leading Goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15)

Crystal Palace Form

  • Last Five Games: L W D D L
  • Last Result: Crystal Palace 0-1 Derby County 
  • Leading Goalscorer: Jordan Ayew (5)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 1 Arsenal win.

Kick Off – 1.30pm at Selhurst Park

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