Arsenal and Crystal Palace share points in an entertaining 2-2 draw

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring the equalizer in the last seconds of the match

Matchday 8 of the Premier League started with a one-sided affair as Liverpool routed with a 5-0 win against Watford and it ended with a thrilling 2-2 draw between London rivals Arsenal and Crystal Palace as the fans were holding their breaths till the last moment.

At the Emirates Stadium, two sides that have been trying to gather winning momentum came to loggerheads and presented an exquisite London derby that ended with a goal in the dying seconds of the match.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta named a similar XI to the one that drew against Brighton and Hove Albion with the club’s record signing Nicolas Pepe coming in for Albert Sambi Lokonga. On the other hand, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera also made only one change to his starting XI that drew 2-2 against Leicester City with Christian Benteke replacing Wilfried Zaha.

The Gunners started the match on the front foot as Nicolas Pepe played a one-two with Takehiro Tomiyasu before cutting in and shooting at goal which allowed skipper Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to be on hand for the tap-in as Vicente Guaita failed to clear the ball out of the danger zone with his fingertip save.

In the 42nd minute, a rash kick out from James McArthur on Bukayo Saka saw the 34-year old avoid a red card somehow with Mike Dean showing the Crystal Palace midfielder a yellow card. Saka wasn’t able to continue after half-time and was replaced by Belgian midfielder Sambi Lokonga.

In the battle of the two former Arsenal midfielders, Viera got the better of Arteta as his team pressed Arsenal on repeated occasions in the first half but Palace failed to score in the first half. Conor Gallagher came the closest to opening the scoring as his volley was heading towards the top-right corner but Aaron Ramsdale’s brilliant diving save denied Gallagher his third goal for his new club.

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Less than five minutes into the second half, a misplaced pass from Thomas Partey allowed Benteke to run clean through on goal and the former Liverpool striker found the back of the net equalizing for the away team on the night.

Odsonne Edouard scores against Arsenal to give Crystal Palace the lead

Odsonne Edouard scores against Arsenal to give Crystal Palace the lead

Midway through the second half, Alexandre Lacazette came on as a substitute to replace the ineffective Martin Odegaard and the French forward immediately got in on the action as he forced Guaita to make a save in the 72nd minute.

Arsenal’s corner routine broke down and Palace counter-attacked with pace forcing Lokonga off the ball and Odsonne Edouard ended up scoring at the other end giving his team the lead and a chance to win their second Premier League fixture of the season.

In the 87th minute, Arteta’s team almost found the equalizer as Pepe and Lacazette combined to find Kieran Tierney unmarked inside the penalty area but the Scotland left-back hit the crossbar with a powerful strike giving no teammate a chance to score on the rebound.

In the dying seconds of the match, Pepe recycled his own corner that allowed Ben White to take a shot at the goal and Guaita could only repel the ball till Lacazette who slotted the ball home and won his side an important point.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta analyzed his team’s performance in his post-match comments citing his team’s second performance better than the first half.

He said,

“The game had different periods. We started really brave, dominant, we scored the first goal. We had after that a really bad period where we started to give too many balls away and did not have the composure to control the game after having the lead. And then in the second half, when we were again in control, we gave the ball away two times and gave two really cheap goals away. After that I really liked the reaction of the team, how they tried. We created more chances to score and at the end, I think we got the reward we deserved.”

In other important results on the weekend, Manchester United lost 4-2 to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium whilst both Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed slender wins keeping them in the top four of the 2021-22 Premier League points table.