Arsenal 0-0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal missed a chance to make it four league wins on a run with a limp performance tonight at home to Crystal Palace, a game in which the Eagles came closest to winning.
Premier League: Arsenal vs Crystal Palace was 11th versus 13th, before and after the match, and after watching the two sides for 90 plus minutes I have to say that looks about right, with very little to choose between the two teams. Palace centre back James Tomkins hit the crossbar and that was as close as we came to a goal.
Highlights of the game
The first half didn’t really come to life until the closing minutes and we had to wait for 20 before the first real chance of the game, and it came to Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jinked inside Luka Milivojevic before curling a shot which tested Palace keeper Vicente Guaita and he took two attempts to gather the ball, but that was about the last time he was troubled before the break.
As Palace began to get a foothold in the game, one of the most enjoyable features of the Arsenal vs Crystal Palace highlights was Wilfried Zaha’s duel with Granit Xhaka, and the Swiss midfield enforcer put a brilliant tackle in to stop Zaha after he had danced past three defenders.
And the Eagles came mighty close to scoring on 38 minutes after the two met again and Zaha won a foul from his adversary.
Ebereche Eze floated a beautiful cross in and Tomkins headed it onto the bar before Arsenal scrambled the ball clear; and the Eagles threatened again when Tyrick Mitchell crossed and Christian Benteke leapt to guide his header towards the corner which Arsenal stopper Bernd Leno stretched to make a superb save and keep the scores level at the break.
The Gunners came out with more adventure at the start of the second half and Guaita had to be alert to punch clear a cross from Aubameyang, before Hector Bellerin fizzed a shot narrowly wide, and then Ainsley Maitland-Niles showed some nice footwork to take out two defenders and fire a shot in, but straight at Guaita.
Palace were still dangerous and Benteke met a cross with a header which bounced off James McArthur’s knee but safely into the hands of Leno. And after a bright start Arsenal seemed to fall back into the malaise of the first half.
Xhaka tired an effort from way out and had it not been blocked I’m not entirely sure it would have reached the keeper, then Nicolas Pepe fired one well over.
Deep into injury time, Bukayo Saka curled a dangerous ball in which just needed a touch, but tonight just wasn’t the night.
The pre-match Arsenal vs Crystal Palace betting odds hinted heavily that the Gunners would shoot down the Eagles but in a quiet first half, it was Roy Hodgson’s underdogs who created the best chances and came closest to breaking the deadlock.
The half time stats made curious reading as the hosts had over 60 per cent possession but only registered two shots, though both on target, while Palace had nine shots, two on target. Nine shots was the most Arsenal had conceded at home this season, and the Eagles increased that to 12 while the Gunners eventually made it to 11.
Arsenal’s four-match winning run ground to a halt and they failed to beat the Eagles for the fifth match in succession, though the Gunners did earn their first home clean sheet since July.
It was a good point for the Eagles but Roy Hodgson’s side has won just one of the last seven league games.
With the transfer window in full flow, here at SBOTOP we’ll be keeping a close eye on the comings and goings. Could this be the window that Mesut Ozil finally leaves the Emirates and can the Eagles keep hold of Wilfried Zaha yet again?
On the pitch, there are some great Premier League games to come over the next few days. There’s the top of the table clash between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday, and there’s no let-up for the Eagles as they travel to the Etihad to face title favourites Manchester City.
Arsenal have a further day to rest before they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates. The Magpies have won just two points in six games and are in freefall.
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