Arsenal had to settle for a draw against Crystal Palace after a red card and a deflected goal cancelled their first-half lead on Saturday.
Arsenal looked good in the early stages of the match against Crystal Palace. They saw a lot of the ball and made that possession count, with a lovely early goal finished by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The footballing gods were against them though. First, Arsenal’s December Player of the Month Lucas Torreira came off with an injury at half-time. Then, David Luiz deflected a shot into his own goal.
After that, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang red card killed any realistic chances of three points.
Even so, there was one more twist as Nicolas Pepe fired a good shot towards the bottom corner, only for a fingertip save to rebound off the post and into the goalkeeper’s hands. It just wasn’t Arsenal’s day.
Let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings for the Crystal Palace match.
- Bernd Leno 6 – One of a few players who can curse their luck after the game. The only goal he concedes in two matches is to yet another unfortunate deflection. Did well on the ball.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7 – Dealt with Wilfried Zaha really well, with the only moment of note from the Palace winger being an attempt to win a penalty – as usual. Also did a decent job in possession.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6 – You can still see his limits in possession, which is an issue for what Arteta is trying to do. He defended decently well for the most part, with the only really good moment coming from a clearance off the line.
- David Luiz 6 – In general, he had a good game, in keeping with his recent form. Sadly, the pivotal moment in his performance was deflecting a shot into his own goal. Unfortunate, but all too common with Arsenal defenders. On an unrelated note, take him off direct free-kicks, please. Permanently.
- Sead Kolašinac 7 – Despite angering the Crystal Palace fans by getting on the receiving end of a foul or two, Kolasinac played well. He supported the attack effectively, allowing Aubameyang to drift inside a bit more. Almost set up Martinelli late on as well.
- Lucas Torreira 7 – Had a good first half, fulfilling his responsibilities with and without the ball. Saw more of the ball in 45 minutes than everyone but Sokratis and Luiz in 90. Of course, as Arsenal’s in-form player he came off at half-time with a muscular injury.
- Granit Xhaka 6.5 – Solid performance. Didn’t look quite as assured after Torreira came off, which is a worry. His passing was still as good as ever.
- Mesut Özil 6 – Some good moments, but ultimately unable to create anything of note. He makes a good option for Arsenal to play off but he needed a bit more than that today. Subbed after the red card.
- Nicolas Pépé 7.5 – Set-piece delivery remains deadly, with Luiz only narrowly heading over from a Pepe corner. Hit the post thanks to a fantastic save by Guaita, on another day that would’ve been the winner. Tried a lot, particularly in the first half, but it didn’t all come off and he was a bit unlucky on the day.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 6 – It’s hard to argue with Aubameyang’s red card, but it’s also difficult to blame him. He went for the ball, he got there slightly late and unfortunately, the contact was dangerous. He took his goal nicely, but ultimately this ended up being a disappointing day for him.
- Alexandre Lacazette 7 – Expertly provided the assist for Aubameyang, but yet again, he couldn’t find the net himself. Nothing seems to go his way, as even the rebound off the post from Pepe’s shot fell straight to the goalkeeper instead of the waiting Lacazette. Worked hard, particularly when Arsenal went down to 10 men.
- Matteo Guendouzi 6 – Struggled to get involved as much as he would want. It wasn’t an easy half with Palace up for a comeback and the red card. He did win the ball well a few times.
- Gabriel Martinelli 6 – Lively as always, but fighting a losing battle for the most part with Arsenal’s 10 men. Could have done a little better with Kolasinac’s pass into the box.
- Reiss Nelson N/A – Only had one touch, completing a pass. He only came on in injury time.