Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka, Pepe, Aubameyang
Subs: Leno, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Cedric, Tavares, Elneny, Sambi, Martinelli, Lacazette
Arsenal had an injury time goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette to thank for rescuing a point in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at the Emirates this evening.
Mikel Arteta picked an attacking line-up, starting with a 4-3-3 formation, with Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners began relatively brightly, dominating possession in the early stages, and went ahead in the 8th minute after winning a corner. Odegaard’s delivery was heavy, Pepe did well to make space to take a shot which the keeper made a good save from, but Aubameyang was sharp at the back post to tuck the ball home. 1-0.
The captain then required treatment having been taken out off the ball as he ran towards goal, but carried on. Smith Rowe shot straight at the keeper when he might have played Pepe in outside him, while Palace’s first attempt on target was no trouble for Aaron Ramsdale. Their second, from Benteke, made the keeper work a bit harder as the visitors looked to exert some pressure.
Edouard was the next to have a go as Palace enjoyed a period of the game, but the former Celtic man shot over on the turn. Saka found his way into the referee’s book after a foul, much to the annoyance of Arsenal fans who had seen McArthur let off the hook a few moments earlier. The Palace man then got booked for a brutal kick on Saka as Arsenal cleared a corner, he was lucky not to see red, such was the ferocity of the foul.
There was late danger when another Palace corner was punched away by Ramsdale, and the keeper had to make a superb save from Conor Gallagher’s swerving shot to ensure Arsenal took the 1-0 lead into the break.
That assault on Saka forced Arteta into a half-time change, with the England man replaced by Albert Sambi Lokonga. Thomas Partey’s search for his first Arsenal goal continued but he’s getting closer, firing a shot from distance just wide with the keeper scrambling.
However, the midfielder was at fault as Palace equalised just 5 minutes into the second half. Partey got caught in possession, the ball came to Benteke, he stepped inside Gabriel and fired a shot into the bottom corner. 1-1.
Ramsdale then tipped an Ayew shot over the bar, and once more it was Palace who had more of the ball and looked the most likely to score again. Partey attempted to make up for his mistake with another effort at goal, but it flew wide, before Alex Lacazette replaced Odegaard in the 67th minute.
The Frenchman made an immediate impact, linking well with Aubameyang, and saw a goalbound effort tipped around the post. However, from the resulting corner Arsenal found themselves a goal down. Sambi got caught on the ball, Palace worked it forward, Edouard hit it straight at the goal, and it crashed in off the underside of the bar. 1-2.
Arteta’s last throw of the dice came in the 81st minute when Gabriel Martinelli replaced Partey, with the Gunners desperate for an equaliser. It almost came with three minutes to go when Tierney absolutely rattled the crossbar from close range, and Lacazette worked hard to create a shooting opportunity but whacked it well high and wide.
It looked done and dusted for us, until late into injury time we won a corner. It was cleared, Pepe put it in again, it fell to White whose shot was blocked, it fell to Lacazette who hammered it home from close range. 2-2.
It probably wasn’t what we deserved, and it was a poor night overall for Arteta’s side, but we kept going and got something from a difficult position.