There was plenty of pessimism among the fans ahead of this game with the opposition in good form but this is often when the Eagles are at their most predictable, and was certainly the case as they stretched the unbeaten run against the Gunners to five games.
14th January 2021
Arsenal 0-0 Crystal Palace
Emirates Stadium, Hornsey Road, London N7 7AJ
Behind closed doors
Referee – Andre Marriner
Assistants – Scott Ledger, Simon Long, Simon Hooper (fourth official)
VAR – Graham Scott, Timothy Wood (assistant)
BOOKINGS – James Tomkins (42), David Luiz (67)
RED CARD – none
TEB MAN OF THE MATCH
A disciplined yet positive performance against an in-form side surprised many but in true it was a well deserved point and could well have been more. It was a gamble to set up with an attacking looking line up but that almost paid dividends and ultimately worked to combat the threat of the opposition. The management and players deserve credit for securing two clean sheets in a row and with that make it three games unbeaten in the league.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE
A quick glimpse at a potential penalty for both sides – one where Ward and Aubamayang came together and similar when between Zaha and Holding, but nothing given on either.
BOB’S POINT OF VIEW
Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.
“Coming into this game Arsenal were on the back of a good run so it was essential not to concede first and allow them to build on their recently acquired confidence. Hodgson went with his tried and trusted tactical set up with Zaha floating behind the main striker Benteke. It was so important then that both Eze and Townsend nullified the Arsenal threat down either flank whilst Milivojevic and McArthur ensured a solid defensive shield in front of our back four. In fact although we defended as a tight unit throughout the game, we created the best goal scoring opportunities in the first half with a Tomkins effort against the bar and a decent save by Leno from a Benteke header.
Our attacks in the second half were more sporadic but we still posed a constant threat on the counter. It says a lot about our performance that Guaita had one of his quietest games of the season and we should take a lot of confidence from a clean sheet. Overall our back four were excellent. By remaining compact we allowed no spaces for Arsenal to exploit between each of our defenders. Although there are some worthy candidates for man of the match, I’m going for Tomkins. Maybe it’s no coincidence that since his return we have kept two consecutive clean sheets. In summary a well deserved result and a case of respecting the point. Up the Palace!”
31 VICENTE GUAITA (7) – Was called into action a couple of times in the first half and was never really tested again.
2 JOEL WARD (7) – Good game from the dependable full back who is having a good battle with Clyne for the slot.
5 JAMES TOMKINS (8 – BOOKED! TEB MAN OF THE MATCH!) – It is no secret that the return of the big man has seen two clean sheets in consecutive games. Close to giving Palace the lead with a header that came back off the crossbar.
8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (7) – Only injury or suspension is going to separate these two as they are forming a good partnership in the centre of defence.
27 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – Another good battle for the full back slot but the youngster is quickly establishing himself as the front runner ahead of his ore experienced team-mate.
10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (7) – Lacked momentum for much of the game but played his part defensively and stepped in to hold Zaha back after a tough challenge.
18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7) – Excellent in the middle of the park once again, breaking up play at every opportunity.
4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (CAPTAIN – 7) – Another solid performance by going about his business with very little fuss. Replaced by 22 JAMES MCCARTHY (6) on 90 minutes after the captain took a knock.
25 EBERECHI EZE (8) – Playing against the side that released him as a 13 year old and gave them a glimpse of what they could have had.
11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7) – Strong first half by providing a real threat which faded a little in the second and had to play more on the break but continued to cause problems.
20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7) – Played a key role as the lone striker by linking well with Zaha and Eze. Close to giving Palace the lead with a header that was well saved by Leno. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (6) on 81 minutes who provided some fresh legs up front to test the tiring defence.
1 Jack Butland, 3 Patrick van Aanholt, 6 Scott Dann, 17 Nathaniel Clyne, 23 Michy Batshuayi, 24 Gary Cahill, 44 Jairo Riedewald
1 Leno, 2 Bellerin, 16 Holding, 23 David Luiz, 15 Maitland-Niles, 8 Ceballos, 34 Xhaka, 7 Saka, 32 Smith-Rowe, 14 Aubameyang, 9 Lacazette
SUBSTITUTES – 6 Gabriel, 12 Willian, 13 Runarsson, 17 Cedric Soares, 18 Partey (replaced Ceballos on 69 mins), 19 Pepe (replaced Maitland-Niles on 65 mins), 21 Chambers, 28 Willock, 30 Nketiah (replaced Lacazette on 81 mins)
POST GAME QUOTES
ROY HODGSON –“I’m more than satisfied. A hard-working performance, we defended well and maybe with a bit more composure we could have scored a goal. We were playing a team in excellent form and we go away with a deserved point. I thought the game was end-to-end and we are happy we took something away from the game. Two clean sheets in a row now. If you don’t defend well it is going to be hard to win games.”
MIKEL ARTETA– “Some freshness and quality in the final third was missing. We had a lot of entries into the final third but no big, big chances. I wanted to see a win today and to score a few goals but we were fatigued. We gave the ball away, but I cannot fault the spirit. It wasn’t enough. Kieran Tierney is a real threat and the way we attack on the left is really important but he is injured and we have to find a solution. Roy Hodgson has done that all through his career, that is how they beat a lot of big teams. We had the plan we just didn’t have the execution.”
EBERECHI EZE – “We’ll take it, we worked hard and showed our quality on the ball as well. We played well and we deserved a point. In these type of games you need those chances to go in. Arsenal have loads of quality, you always have to be alert. With the momentum we have now we can just keep going.”
The Who Scored man of the match was Granit Xhaka (7.7) while the most shots were from Christian Benteke (6). The most tackles were by Granit Xhaka (6) while Eberechi Eze (6) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 6.85 – 6.89
- Total shots: 11 – 12
- Shots on target: 11 – 12
- Possession: 67.3% – 32.7%
- Pass success: 87% – 76%
- Passes: 684 – 336
- Dribbles: 16 – 16
- Aerials won: 16 – 14
- Tackles: 17 – 14
- Fouls: 10 – 11
- Corners: 7 – 3
- Saves: 2 – 4
- Dispossessed: 5 – 4
POSITION IN THE TABLE
Palace have 23 points from 18 games and sit 13th in the Premier League, a point ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers in 14th and level on points with Leeds United in 11th.
17/01/2021 Manchester City (a) – Premier League (7.15pm – Sky)
26/01/2021 West Ham United (h) – Premier League (7.30pm – BT)
30/01/2021 Wolverhampton Wanderers (h) – Premier League (3pm – TBC)