Sunday, December 15, 2019

Arsenal 2-3 Crystal Palace: Slack Gunners fall to home defeat to impressive Eagles

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Arsenal’s run of impressive results at home came to an end on Sunday evening with a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.

The Eagles took the lead mid-way through the first-half as Christian Benteke ended a long-goal drought in the Premier League. Unai Emery’s men struck the equaliser only minutes after the break with a cool finish. A Shkodran Mustafi mistake saw Wilfried Zaha gifted a strike just after the hour to put Palace ahead once again before James McArthur extended the advantage in the 69th minute.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed to pull a goal back with a clinical finish into the bottom corner but it was not enough as the Eagles soared away with an impressive victory.

Benteke breaks duck to open scoring

Arsenal enjoyed the majority of possession early on in the game with Mesut Ozil forcing the first stop out of Vicente Guaita. However, it was Roy Hodgon’s troops who should have gone ahead. Scott Dann managed to nod the ball across goal from a corner, picking out the advancing Martin Kelly. However, Konstantinos Mavropanos did excellently to turn the ball over the crossbar.

Hodgon’s troops though did eventually take the lead and it was predictably from a set-piece. Dreadful defending saw Benteke left free to nod home the opener only yards from goal for his first strike in his last 20 appearances in the Premier League.

Open game at the Emirates

Following the goal, the Gunners did manage to create a few opportunities for an equaliser. Shkodran Mustafi attempted to convert Mavropanos’ flick-on but somehow put the ball over the bar. Dann also did very well to block Alexandre Lacazette’s effort.

As a matter of fact, Unai Emery’s men thought they deserved a penalty as Aaron Wan-Bissaka appeared to handle the ball but the referee was unmoved.

Palace did have chances of their own though before the break to double the lead. First, Cheikhou Kouyate forced a solid stop out of Bernd Leno before Zaha squared the ball to Benteke. The Belgian really should have found the net but could only blaze the ball into the crowd.

Ozil responds after the break but Eagles soar away

Despite a bitterly disappointing first-half at the Emirates, the Gunners were level only minutes after the break. Lacazette picked out Ozil with a wonderful reverse pass and the German beat Guaita with a wonderful finish from a tight angle.

Their joy was somewhat short-lived though as Zaha put the Eagles ahead once again, this time profiting from a Mustafi mistake. The German defender appeared to be in control of the situation but instead left the ball for Leno when under pressure. Zaha managed to ghost in-behind and finished well underneath the Arsenal stopper.

They extended their lead only minutes later and it was from yet another set piece. Dann again won the initial challenge and McArthur was on hand to react quickest and nod the ball into the net.

Gunners pull one back

Arsenal earned themselves a lifeline late on as Aubameyang evaded a trio of Palace challenges but lost the ball. Somewhat fortunately, it deflected back to him as he advanced into the box before firing it beyond Guaita and into the far corner.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles could have equalised for the hosts as his cross was missed by everyone and almost snuck into the far corner at the goal but the Palace stopper did well to tip the ball around the post.

The chances continued to come for Arsenal and Iwobi really should have scored in the closing minutes as he was found by Lacazette. With only Guaita to beat, the Nigerian could only put a poor effort straight at the goalkeeper. With that opportunity, the Gunners’ chance to earn anything out of the game evaporated.

Final Thoughts

The Gunners have only got themselves to blame for this defeat. They were constantly outfought by their visitors and looked second best in a variety of departments. There were also some huge mistakes that could well have been avoided. Emery’s troops are now in a huge battle to get into the Premier League top four.

Match Report

Arsenal: Leno (6); Mavropanos (6) (Iwobi (6), 46′), Koscielny (6), Mustafi (4); Jenkinson (5) (Maitland-Niles (6), 46′), Elneny (5) (Torreira (6), 68′), Guendouzi (5), Kolasinac (6); Ozil (7), Lacazette (6), Aubameyang (7).

Crystal Palace: Guaita (6); Ward (6), Dann (7), Kelly (7), Wan-Bissaka (7); Meyer (6) (Townsend (N/A), 80′), Kouyate (6), Milivojevic (6), McArthur (7); Benteke (7) (Ayew (N/A), 78′), Zaha (7).

Goals: Benteke (17′), Ozil (47′), Zaha (61′), McArthur (69′), Aubameyang (77′)

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Yellow Cards: Mavropanos (16′), Ozil (63′), Guendouzi (68′), Ward (81′), Mustafi (85′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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