Jordan Ayew was the man of the moment again for Roy Hodgson's Palace with the striker cancelling out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener on 12 minutes, as the Eagles and the Gunners played out a 1-1 draw in south London.
- Cenk Tosun makes the matchday squad
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opens scoring on 12 minutes
- HT: 0-1
- Jordan Ayew levels for Palace on 54 minutes
- Aubameyang sent-off for straight red challenge on Max Meyer [VAR suggested red card after initial yellow]
- Sokratis clears James Tomkins' header off the line
- FT: 1-1
When Alexandre Lacazette slipped in Aubameyang to open the scoring on 12 minutes, it was a goal that had been coming for the visitors with the opening spell of the lunchtime kick-off seeing Arsenal dominate possession.
Nicolas Pépé had a couple of half-chance openings which could’ve resulted in worse for the Eagles if it weren’t for an overhit cross and poor control. However, despite those potential opportunities for Arsenal’s right-winger Jaïro Riedewald was dealing with the threat of Pépé well and kept the winger quiet for the majority of the first-half.
Palace fans’ hopes piqued just before the half-hour mark, though, when Cheikhou Kouyaté intercepted an attempted long ball from David Luiz which set Ayew away with Kouyaté on a two-v-two against Luiz and Sokratis.
Arsenal retreated quickly and despite intricate passing between Ayew, Max Meyer and Wilfried Zaha, Palace couldn’t quite find the opening to test Bernd Leno.
That moment from the Eagles turned the tide of the game with Roy Hodgson’s side growing into the game and captialising on several error-laden passes from Arsenal’s backline to maintain spells of pressure.
Five minutes before half-time saw Palace’s best chance of the game arrive after Kouyaté pulled off a precise nutmeg in the Arsenal box to create the chance for himself but Leno parried his effort away.
The second-half saw make an Arsenal tactical switch with Matteo Guendouzi replacing Lucas Torreria. However, it didn’t have the desired affect for Mikel Arteta’s side with Palace drawing level nine minutes after the break.
A quickly-taken free-kick from Palace released Meyer down the right-hand side, with the midfielder’s cross finding Ayew who fired home his sixth goal of the season thanks to a deflection off David Luiz.
Palace were dominating the game after the equaliser and they soon also had a man advantage. Arsenal’s captain Aubameyang was originally issued a yellow card for a late challenge on Max Meyer. However, VAR intervened and referee Paul Tierney took the advice of the Video Assistant Referee and upweighted the colour of Aubameyang’s card to red.
In amongst the VAR furore, Meyer was unable to continue after the Arsenal striker’s challenge and Hodgson introduced Tosun for his Palace bow.
Palace were looking to make their one-man advantage work and the Eagles were the width of Sokratis’ foot from taking the lead via a Tomkins header, after the centre-back connected well with a well-worked delivery from Zaha. However, Arsenal’s centre-back hooked off the line at the proverbial ‘11th hour’ moment to keep the game level.
A huge warning sign arrived for Palace that Arsenal weren’t out of the game despite the man deficit. However, it was a warning sign that Vicente Guaita saw coming with the ‘keeper pulling off a sensational double save.
Firstly, Nicolas Pépé’s precise curled effort was, somehow, tipped onto the post by Palace’s No.31. But without a moment to enjoy his remarkable save, Guaita was out to thwart Lacazette tapping home from inside the six-yard box.
That proved to be the last big moment of the London derby at Selhurst Park with Palace now extending their unbeaten run against Arsenal to four games.
Palace: Guaita, Riedewald, Cahill, Tomkins, Kelly, McArthur, McCarthy, Kouyaté, Meyer [Tosun 68], Zaha, Ayew.
Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Dann, Wickham, Woods, Kirby, Pierrick.
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolašinac, Torreira [Guendouzi 45], Xhaka, Pépé, Özil [Martinelli 70, Aubameyang, Lacazette [Nelson 90+2].
Subs Not Used: Martínez, Holding, Willock, Saka.