Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: Gunners were forced to a 2-2 draw

Xaka took time to come off the ground
Xaka took time to come off the ground

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace match saw Arsenal letting a two-goal lead to slip as Crystal Palace fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at the Emirates yesterday. This leads to resurfacing uneasiness among players and made Arsenal look like a divided house. More than losing points, Arsenal was boggled by the Xaka substitution incident, which left them red-faced.

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace

The goals from Sokratis and David Luiz had given the hosts a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes. It was only 9th minute in the game, and the gunners were up by two goals, from a very similar build-up. Both of them scored by central defenders.

A Luka Milivojevic penalty had reduced the deficit before half-time, and then Jordan Ayew leveled on 52 minutes after Xhaka had allowed James McArthur to whip in a cross from the right.

Sokratis and David Luiz struck again in the last quarter. Arsenal thought they had won it late on when Sokratis thumped home a loose ball from Pepe’s corner five minutes from the end, but the goal was ruled out after a VAR check – with Calum Chambers deemed to have committed a foul before Sokratis’ finish whereas David Luiz’ s shot was saved by Crystal Palace custodian.

Xaka Substitution

The captain walking off the pitch, ears cupped while visibly telling fans to ‘f*ck off’ as they booed him. Granit Xhaka wasn’t a popular choice as skipper and he should have shown little more respect to the club, it’s a fan and his manager.

The substituted captain didn’t even handshake with manager Unai Emery as he passes by straight down the tunnel to the changing room. For a club of the stature of Arsenal, this was an awful incident – an embarrassing incident that is widely criticized. It stems from a feeling of frustration that is increasing by the week. A lot has been happening around the game and the club – Frustration towards Emery, the style of football, Mesut Ozil’s absence, and now a run of poor results.


Emery called for patience following the defeat at Sheffield United on Monday night, but there is very little of that on show at the Emirates right now. The pressure may have eased slightly on Arsenal’s under-fire coach after Nicolas Pepe’s match-winning cameo in the Europa League on Thursday night, but it is right back on the Spaniard now.

Arsenal now sits four points adrift of the top four following this draw, and on current form, they look a million miles off the likes of Leicester or Chelsea. This is a club that is desperate to return to the Champions League. The business model relies on it, but it is going to make a significant improvement for them to get there.

VAR Decisions

Both the critical VAR decisions went against Arsenal in Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace contest. Early in the game, Wilfried Zaha went over Chambers’ challenge in the box. Initially, the referee waved away the penalty appeals and instead showed the Ivorian with a yellow card. However, on further inspection, VAR found when Zaha tripped, there was a definite touch. 

A little later, though, all that went out of the window when VAR ruled against Arsenal’s potential winner.

After the ball fell to Sokratis during an Arsenal attack inside the Palace box, who punched the ball beyond the outstretched arms of Hennessey, however, a second earlier, Chambers had been tackled to the ground, which was taken into consideration for ruling out the goal.

Arsenal Position

Arsenal stays fifth in the Premier League, but they are now playing catch up on Leicester and Chelsea in the race for the Champions League spots – two teams who have a clear identity and a way of playing. It’s a worrying situation for Emery. The Spaniard was already facing questions about his future, and now his captain has only added to his growing list of problems.