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Report: Woodwork denies Palace as Eagles earn deserved point at Arsenal

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Palace secured a hard-fought point at the Emirates Stadium to make it five games unbeaten against Arsenal, as the woodwork and a fantastic Bernd Leno save denied the Eagles an impressive victory in a game of incredibly tight margins.

Summary:

  • Arsenal have early control of the ball, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going closest.
  • Palace begin to break forwards in numbers, as Christian Benteke shoots over from six-yards out.
  • James Tomkins’ header from Eberechi Eze’s free-kick cannons off the crossbar as Palace are inches from taking the lead.
  • Benteke’s header forces a wonder save from Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
  • HT: Arsenal 0-0 Palace
  • Arsenal start the second-half with real purpose, with Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding going close in the opening exchanges.
  • Benteke’s header falls to James McArthur who can’t steer it home from close range.
  • FT: Arsenal 0-0 Palace

As expected, the hosts saw much of the ball early on. Emile Smith-Rowe found space in behind but his cross found only the gloves of Vicente Guaita; Ainsley Maitland-Niles made several forays down the left but his delivery left something to be desired.

On the break, Palace were quick to remind Arsenal of the threat they can pose coming forwards, with Andros Townsend and Eberechi Eze firing over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Arsenal’s first shot on target came after 20 minutes, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cut in and curled an effort towards the top corner. Guaita parried, before gathering at the second attempt.

ARSCRY Townsend.jpg

But Palace were growing into the game. Picking the ball up on the edge of the area, Zaha rounded one Arsenal defender and then another, preparing to shoot before Granit Xhaka’s desperate sliding challenge prevented what was a certain opening goal.

Minutes later it was Benteke’s turn to give the hosts a scare, breaking forwards to latch onto Eze’s through ball; his shot was gathered by Bernd Leno.

Zaha continued to prove a handful, but this time as he was brought down on the edge of the area the referee played the advantage. With space on the left, Tyrick Mitchell cut the ball back for Benteke six yards out, but the Belgian’s shot was too high.

Five minutes before half-time Palace were inches from taking the lead, as Eze’s free-kick was met by James Tomkins ten-yards out. The defender’s header cannoned off the crossbar with Leno beaten.

ARSCRY Benteke.jpg

Palace kept coming, and were beginning to break forwards with real menace. Mitchell was provider once again from the left-hand side, picking out the head of Benteke, and only a stunning save from Leno kept the scores level.

Somehow the sides went in at half-time goalless.

Arsenal emerged after the break transformed, pressing higher and coming forwards at every opportunity. Hector Bellerin went close just 45 seconds after the restart, before Guaita had to be alert to smother Bukayo Saka as he advanced on goal. From the resulting corner, Rob Holding’s downward header flashed wide.

ARSCRY 2.jpg

There was no doubt that Arsenal were causing problems, and manager Mikel Arteta brought on Nicolas Pepe to bolster his attacking options.

But Palace’s threat coming forwards was ever-present. Benteke did superbly to hold the ball up on halfway, firing a pass out wide to Zaha, whose early ball into the box was cut out as Benteke waited to tap home.

From the corner Benteke’s header deflected goalwards off James McArthur, but only bounced into the grateful arms of Leno.

Much like the first-half, Palace's dangerous forays forward tempered Arsenal's ambition, and an even final fifteen minutes resulted in few chances for either side.

Despite their first-half opportunities it's another hard-fought point for Palace, who are now three games unbeaten in the Premier League - and five games unbeaten against Arsenal - and will give the Eagles confidence before travelling to Manchester City at the weekend.

Arsenal: Leno (GK), Bellerin, Saka, Ceballos (Partey, 70), Lacazette (Nketiah, 80), Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles (Pepe, 65), Holding, Luiz, Smith-Rowe, Xhaka.

Subs: Runarsson (GK), Gabriel, Willian, Cedric Soares, Chambers, Willock.

Palace: Guaita (GK), Ward, Tomkins, Kouyate, Mitchell, Townsend, Milivojevic (McCarthy, 88), McArthur, Eze, Benteke (Ayew, 79), Zaha.

Subs: Butland (GK), Van Aanholt, Clyne, Cahill, Dann, Riedewald, Batshuayi.

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