Premier League Review: Arsenal 1-1 Crystal Palace
- Date – 17th April 2016
- Venue – Emirates
- Attendance – 59,961
- Referee – Roger East
- Bookings – Dann, Ledley
- Goals – Sanchez (45), Bolasie (81)
- Star Eagle – Yannick Bolasie (7.7)
In a fixture that has rarely been kind to Palace, boss Alan Pardew chose to bring in Joe Ledley to shore up the midfield in the place of Wilfried Zaha who dropped to the bench while Connor Wickham came in to replace the injured Dwight Gayle.
The opening forty-five minutes was certainly not a classic particularly when the first effort on goal fell to the visitors just before the half hour. That was an effort for Yannick Bolasie which Petr Cech matched with a save.
Arsenal were dominating possession but simply not opening up a dogged defensive showing from the Eagles until just before the break. A mix up between Scott Dann and Mile Jedinak allowed Alexis Sanchez to score with a header that looped over Wayne Hennessey in injury time which was a real hammer blow going into the break.
There was an expectation that the hosts would push on for a second as soon as the second half began but that never really materialised. The possession continued but so did the defensive performance from the visitors.
It was a half marginally better than the first but the significant move was the introduction of pantomime villain Emmanual Adebayor, stage right. His influence was immediate particularly with his ball control so impressive for a big man.
The Tongolese striker played a major part in the equaliser. Picking up the ball in the Palace half, he took on Gabriel out wide, travelling with the ball to the edge of the area before passing to Bolasie. The winger who had not really been able to make his mark on the game took his chance, brushing aside Francis Coquelin before unleashing a shot that found the bottom corner of the net.
All the time Arsenal failed to get a second goal there was always a chance that Palace could break and score. That is how it proved although there were question marks over Cech, whether he was unsighted or could not get down to the post quick enough. Not that it bother the Palace faithful in that corner of the Emirates.
Bizarrely, it could have been even better as Wilfried Zaha stretching his legs from the bench really put the home defence under pressure with two excellent mazy runs, the second just failing to find an unmarked Bakary Sako with the goal beckoning.
There were a few nervy moments but Palace managed to see the game out and secure an unexpected point from a place that has not been a happy hunting ground. The point moves the Eagles on to thirty-nine points for the season and now four games unbeaten.
A dogged defensive display allowed the Eagles to hold their nerve long enough to have that once chance to get something from the game. An excellent point against a side that we have rarely had any joy against which stretches the unbeaten run to four games.
Player Ratings (courtesy of Who Scored)
- Wayne Hennessey (7.1) – Solid between the sticks and showing signs of confidence in commanding his area.
- Joel Ward (6.2) – Struggled throughout up against the talented opponents but played a part in a successful rear guard action.
- Scott Dann (7.2) – Took a worrying knock but dealt well with the attacking threat. Takes some blame for mix up which led to the goal.
- Damien Delaney (6.6) – Had a couple of lapses but another who played their part in what turned out to be a good defensive showing.
- Pape Souare (7.2) – Always seemed to be in the thick of the action and performed well under pressure.
- Joe Ledley (6.1) – Brought in to do one thing and one thing only, make the midfield hard to pass.
- Yohan Cabaye (7.2) – Touch of calls in the middle when required although there were signs of frustration from the Frenchman.
- Jason Puncheon (5.9) – Game passed him by a little and disappeared the more minutes that passed. Replaced by Wilfried Zaha (6.4) on 75 minutes who put in an excellent cameo by providing a real threat.
- Mile Jedinak (5.6) – Struggled after several recent good performances. Made an error which led to the goal. Replaced by Bakary Sako (6.6) on 45 minutes who gave the hosts something a little different to think about.
- Yannick Bolasie (7.7) – Struggled to make an impact in the game and ended up scoring the equaliser to get a point. Funny old game.
- Connor Wickham (6.5) – Worked hard to get on the end of a couple of good first half chances and good to get some more minutes in. Replaced by Emmanuel Adebayor (6.3) on 64 minutes who had a real impact. Good feet for a big guy.
Unused substitutes – Julian Speroni, Adrian Mariappa, Martin Kelly, Lee Chung-yong
The Who Scored man of the match was shared between Alexis Sanchez and Gabriel Paulista (7.8). Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez (5) had the most shots. Yohan Cabaye made the most tackles (5). Hector Bellerin made the most dribbles (4).
- Team rating: 6.90 – 6.61
- Total shots: 21 – 7
- Shots on target: 6 – 2
- Possession: 67.9% – 32.1%
- Pass success: 88% – 74%
- Dribbles: 13 – 9
- Aerials won: 20 – 20
- Tackles: 15 – 17
- Corners: 10 – 5
- Dispossessed: 12 – 8
Premier League Table
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