Crystal Palace 1-Arsenal 1: Gunners should take positives from draw

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off saw Arsenal travelling to Crystal Palace.

The Gunners headed into the weekend’s PL action sat 10th in the English top-flight, nine points adrift of a Champions League place.

Palace would kick-off at Selhurst Park one point above the Gunners, although they had managed just one win in their last five league outings before facing Arsenal.

Arsenal’s league form was similarly poor. However, the north London outfit do look to be improving under the guidance of Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard ensured Arsenal picked up wins in their last two clashes vs Manchester United and Leeds before taking on Palace

The teams

Arsenal would start vs the Eagles with the same eleven that began their last PL clash vs Man United:

And this is how Roy Hodgson lined up his side:

Arsenal start brightly

Despite Palace being at home, it would be the Gunners who began proceedings on the front foot.

Sead Kolasinac, much like he did against Man United, began the tie brightly, and was a real threat bombing down the left-hand side.

After a dominant opening 10 minutes, the Gunners would eventually take the lead through standout star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal played some lovely intricate football to carve open Palace, with Alexandre Lacazette slipping in Aubameyang to finish coolly.

Crystal Palace would slowly grow into the game, but with 30 minutes on the clock, the Eagles had not mustered up a single effort on the Arsenal goal.

Palace would eventually test Bernd Leno 40 minutes in via Cheikhou Kouyate, but nothing came of that chance.

But after a sustained period of pressure from Palace, in which they created very little, the first 45 drew to a close with Arsenal leading 1-0.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with teammate Alexandre Lacazette during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on January 11, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Palace fight back

The second-half would kick off with Arsenal having made one change.

Lucas Torreira was taken off at half-time for Matteo Guendouzi.

And while Arsenal didn’t confirm it, there were fears that the Uruguayan had suffered an injury.

In contrast to the first 45, it would be Palace who began the second-half on the front foot.

And Roy Hodgson’s side would find an equaliser just eight minutes after the interval.

Jordan Ayew’s effort took a huge deflection off David Luiz, making the shot a nightmare for Leno to save.

Luiz would then have a chance to put Arsenal back in front, but the Brazilian guided his header over the bar.

And after conceding, Arsenal’s afternoon went from bad to worse.

Aubameyang was initially shown a yellow card for a foul on Max Meyer, but VAR would overturn the decision, seeing the Arsenal star sent off.

The tie would eventually end 1-1, with a draw perhaps a fair result over the 90 minutes.

And while some of the Arsenal faithful may not be overly thrilled about the 1-1 draw, given how brightly their side started the game, it could have been a lot worse.

Arsenal appeared to lose Torreira at half-time, which was a big blow given the midfielder’s fine form under Arteta.

The Gunners then spent a good chunk of the second period down a man.

And while Arsenal teams in the past may have crumbled under the pressure of being a man down, this Arteta side held their own, with David Luiz and Kolasinac particularly impressive at the back.

Arsenal even came close to pinching a win, with Nicolas Pepe hitting the post 82 minutes in.

Granted, Arsenal are by no means the finished article under Arteta, but they are certainly taking steps in the right direction, with the Spaniard having seemingly instilled a lot more desire and fight into this group.

Perhaps Arteta’s biggest problem now is getting consistently positive performances out of Arsenal’s bigger names, such as Pepe and Ozil.

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