Aubameyang scored for Arsenal
When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the current captain, put them ahead six and a quarter years on it ensured the happier part of that occasion would be repeated. Still, the picture would again turn sour and, this time, there were no grounds for complaint.
Arsenal had become frustrated after an almost untouchable first 25 minutes, Palace niggling away thereafter to the extent it was little surprise when Jordan Ayew scored a deflected equaliser after half-time.
But that does not explain away the game’s grim abiding image, which was that of Max Meyer’s left ankle bending under the impact of a terrible challenge that meant Aubameyang was shown read after VAR confirmed the nature of the foul.
Meyer had nicked the ball past Aubameyang near the halfway line and, at full speed, the tackle seemed little more than a careless clip. Paul Tierney was quick to issue a yellow card.
It had been a reckless and potentially career-threatening action, Aubameyang’s studs crashing into Meyer’s grounded ankle. Fortunately, Meyer was able to limp off, with the extent of his injury expected to be more transparent on Monday. The damage was undoubtedly not as severe as it might have been; nonetheless, after a two-minute delay Aubameyang was shown the red card and when a replay was finally confirmed on the big screens the crowd’s gasps reflected the offence’s severity.
“I just watched it, and it looked nasty,” said Arteta. “Knowing Auba, there’s no intention to make such a tackle. Hopefully, [Meyer] hasn’t been injured, and we are sorry for that. The decision was made, and we have to accept it.”
Aubameyang will miss three games and, if nothing else, his absence may offer Arteta a glimpse of life without a player who is yet to begin talks about extending his contract.