Arsenal threw away another two-goal lead on Sunday to draw with Crystal Palace, in a game filled with controversy.
Everything seemed to be going well at first, as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz helped Arsenal race into a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, converting after a couple of set pieces.
Luka Milivojevic brought Palace back into the game with a penalty after VAR ruled that there was a foul on Wilfried Zaha, before Jordan Ayew made it 2-2 early in the second half.
There was plenty of time for Arsenal to find a winner, and they thought they had when Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored a third. Then VAR got involved again to rule it out for no good reason, and the match finished 2-2.
Before that late drama, the big talking point from the match was the crowd’s reaction to Granit Xhaka’s substitution and his subsequent response. It’s too complicated an issue to go into in detail here, but let’s just say it was embarrassing on both sides.
For now, here are our playing ratings for the match.
2Midfield and Forwards
- Nicolas Pepe 7 – Bizarrely, this is the second Premier League game in a row that Pepe has ended up with the most tackles on the team (joint-most with Ceballos on five in this case). His set-pieces were pretty much Arsenal’s only threat, and he completed a game-high four dribbles as well.
- Matteo Guendouzi 6 – Guendouzi kept fighting to get Arsenal back into the game, but it’s difficult when the midfield and attack are so isolated from each other. If only there were a player to help connect the two.
- Granit Xhaka 5 – Had a big part to play in the second goal Arsenal conceded, but he did also set up the first one they scored. He spent a lot less time on the ball than usual, but wasn’t playing particularly badly and didn’t deserve the negative reaction. Once he got it, his reaction was stupid, even if it was understandable given how he gets targeted regularly.
- Dani Ceballos 5 – As mentioned, Ceballos made a lot of tackles, he didn’t really offer much else though.
- Alexandre Lacazette 5.5 – Hit the post and forced a good early save, he was the more involved of the two strikers and had the better chances. Still needed to do much more though.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 5 – Had one good chance but dragged his shot when running at full pelt. Other than that, he was anonymous for much of the game.
- Bukayo Saka 5 – Arsenal were a bit shell-shocked after Saka came on, but they struggled to get him involved on the left. Even before the sub, they’d preferred the right-hand side. He did fine with his very limited touches.
- Sead Kolasinac N/A – The biggest consequence of this sub was allowing Tierney a bit of rest. Kolasinac barely had an impact other than winning one free-kick and giving away one foul.