By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal still without a regular left back so Xhaka continues in that position. Smith Rowe made it to the bench for this match.
Arsenal : Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
On the beach: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Ramsey, Smith Rowe, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck.
Arsenal having most of the ball but not really creating much in the opening minutes with Palace mostly sitting deep and waiting for a counter chance. Ayew gets a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Lacazette when Arsenal trying to break away at speed. A first real Arsenal shot from Iwobi but well over. At the other end a long cross ends up in front of the feet of Zaha but it shaves the outside of the post. And seconds later Townsend misses from short distance. Still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
My stream going down more than once now so sorry if I miss something. I didn’t miss Ayew kicking Torreira but so didn’t Atkinson. Iwobi and Lacazette win the ball high up the field but Lacazette couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball well enough and the shot went wide. Özil sets up Bellerin for a shot but two defenders stop the shot from going in. Aresnal almost on the counter after a Palace corner but the last defender cuts out the ball. Xhaka not happy with a swing of the arm from Kouyaeté but it all stays calm in the end. Atkinson then invents a foul against Torreira while it was Torreira who was fouled…. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
Lots of lost balls in the final third from both teams. Arsenal having most of the ball but can’t get through the Palace defensive wall for the moment. Townsed trying to win a penalty for Palace but he swung his leg behind to make contact with Mustafi himself. Mustafi didn’t stuck out a leg himself so could make no foul. We still miss a real left back when we go forward as the overlapping runs from Monreal are dearly missed. Holding having his shirt teared to pieces but the refs see no foul. From the resulting corner Mustafi dives in to clear the ball but only gets the foot of a Palace player and the ref gives a penalty. Milivojevic scores the penalty. If only the refs had seen the previous shirt pulling on Holding so the corner from which the penalty came wouldn’t have resulted. 1-0 after 45 minutes. We have to do better in the second half.
Lichtsteiner came on for Bellerin at the start of the second half. Torreira wins a free kick at the edge of the penalty area. Xhaka behind the ball and he curls it in the top corner despite Hennesy having fingers to it. GOAL! 1-1 after 51 minutes. What a cracking shot from Xhaka.
Xhaka with a free kick that is headed on by a defender and looked to go wide but Aubameyang at the far post who put it over the line from a tight angle. GOAL!! 1-2 to The Arsenal after 56 minutes.
To be honest there might have been a hand from Lacazette on the ball but Lacazette was having his shirt pulled firmly to prevent him from jumping up for the ball before he handled the ball so the first foul should have resulted in a penalty for Arsenal. So one could say justice was done as it resulted in advantage for the player and that team that was fouled first.
A shot from Meyer hits the outside of the goalpost but Arsenal can clear the ball. But Palace now really putting under pressure as Meyer shoots over from short distance. Scoring a third goal could make things a bit easier I think. After 68 minutes Özil goes off and makes way for Welbeck. Arsenal now making it a hard days work with not getting the ball out of their half with some decent passing. Finally a bit better from Arsenal and Iwobi has a shot that is deflected just wide. Still 1-2 after 75 minutes.
Atkinson stops a promising Arsenal attack for… well only he knows I think. Palace claiming a penalty when Holding clearly touches the ball with his hip. Aubameyang comes off after 78 minutes and Ramsey comes on. Lichtsteiner gets a yellow card for a late tackle on Zaha as he caught him on the ankle. Atkinson then clearly didn’t see the difference between a goalkick and a throw in for Arsenal. Well to be honest I couldn’t see where the ball ended up but I am only watching it on a small screen. Zaha goes voer the leg of Xhaka and Atkinson points to the penalty spot. Milijovevic scores again. 2-2 after 83 minutes. Zaha played it clever as he was already going down before any contact was made and Atkinson well we know him.
Palace now in full time wasting mode since the equaliser. But we went with them in their game. We should have tried to play more football and not try to match them in the ones on ones.
Ramsey with a header after a cross from Xhaka but too soft to trouble the Palace keeper. My stream went down just when we entered injury time. So I have no clue what is happening…. But I get a signal it is all over at 2-2.
As I said with Atkinson we know what to expect and we got it again. We knew the only way Palace would be able to score was to score from the penalty spot. We should have been more careful and play more football over the ground. We now went with their kick and rush football too much once we got in front and paid for it.
Each winning run comes to an end one day. We knew it would come one day. And with the fatigue from the Thursday match in our legs and with the PL allowing that we had to play 3 matches in 6 days it was not a surprise that the legs went a bit with some players. Let us hope we get a real left back when we play next weekend.
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