By Walter Broeckx
No changes in the starting line up for Arsenal compared to our last match against West Ham United. On the bench we had a change with Coquelin returning in the place of Iwobi who had played with the U23.
Arsenal team : Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck
On the beach: Macey, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud.
Elneny with the first shot between the posts after some 8 minutes but Hennesey with the save. Arsenal having most of the ball and Crystal Palace trying to play on the break. Welbeck with a turn that almost got him goal sight but a defender could clear for a corner. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Crystal Palace then get the advantage when Benteke jumped in the back of Xhaka the ball, the ball came in front of Zaha who slipped but that was enough to bring the ball in front of Townsend who could score from close range. 1-0 for Palace after 18 minutes.
Arsenal try to reply but a shot from Alexis is stopped by the keeper. Mustafi then gets a yellow card for his second foul, he had been warned the first time. Alexis then with a shot that went wide at the far post. Palace with all their players around their penalty area and Arsenal not finding much openings now. Palace trying to be dangerous on free kicks but Mustafi can clear. Still 1-0 after 30 minutes.
Özil with a low cross but the shot from Alexis is blocked by a defender. Mustafi with a long leg after a push from Benteke but Martinez first on the ball. A low cross from Bellerin is cleared and then a cross from Özil is also cleared for a corner. The next corner takes a deflection but Palace can clear. Arsenal needing to much time for their passing. Arsenal losing the ball and Benteke with shooting chance but Martinez with a save for a corner. Welbeck with a shot from a difficult angle but it went wide. Xhaka with a corner and a header from Gabriel but in the end a photographers save from the keeper. 1-0 after 45 minutes.
A free kick from Özil finds no Arsenal player and goes wide of the far post in the opening minute. Palace with cross to Benteke on the turn but Bellerin can put a foot between the shot. From the corner that was half cleared Benteke thought he had scored but he was well offside when he put the ball over the line. Martinez with a good catch after a header after a Palace corner. Alexis being punished for jumping in the back of a Palace defender while Benteke has been doing this all match with no fouls being called. Arsenal the pushing Palace in their penalty area but the defenders are in the majority and can clear. Alexis with a cross to Bellerin but he misses his volley. After 59 minutes Ramsey and Giroud come on in the place of Elneny and Welbeck who had been invisible mostly. Still 1-0 behind after 60 minutes.
Zaha then with a cross to Cabaye who half falling had a shot that looped over Martinez. 2-0 after 63 minutes. Sakho embracing Giroud on a cross but nothing given. Townsend then goes down at the other end with him putting his foot against the keeper who didn’t put his arms out but of course the ref gives the penalty at this end. Milivojevic accepts the gift from the ref and makes it 3-0 after 68 minutes.
The ox enters the field in the place of the invisible Walcott. Bellerin with a lob over Hennesey but a Palace defender clears off the line. Arsenal still 3-0 behind after 75 minutes.
Bellerin with a low cross but again no Arsenal player at the end of it. But the third penalty goal had cut off the little believe that was left in the team. The Arsenal away supporters not giving the ball back also not really helpful. If the supporters don’t believe anymore, then why would the players?
Poor passing, no speed and tempo, too much dribbling in blind alleys. Too many players were invisible for most of the match and then you get such results. Yes the 3rd goal was a gift from the ref but otherwise I fear that we would just have lost with 2-0. Palace wanted it more than Arsenal.
Oh how I hate it when I see in match previews all that talk of “we haven’t lost against them for centuries” then you know the defeat is on the cards. So it proved to be.