6 Points to note as Crystal Palace hold Arsenal to a 2-2 draw
A London derby took place this weekend, in which Arsenal secured a two-two draw in the Premier League at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace FC.
Arsenal were on the back of an 11 match winning run in all competitions, and most recently had beaten Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League.
Crystal Palace, however, were on a losing run, and until this game had not scored a goal at home as yet. This changed for them, and how, considering they put in a strong performance against top four challengers Arsenal.
Palace's game plan from the off was to be physical, frustrate Arsenal, and deny them space and ability to be creative. And it worked somewhat. They had some early chances via Zaha and Townsend, and overall in the first half, they were as good as Arsenal for effort and creativity.
Arsenal had chances via Bellerin and Lacazette, but Palace went in 1-0 via a goal from the penalty spot. Mustafi brought a Palace player down, and Milivojević scored their first home league goal this season.
Arsenal went 2-1 up in the second half, with a wondrous free kick from Granit Xhaka, and then a controversial goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The line computer determined it had crossed the line, though Lacazette appeared to handle it prior to him scoring.
Palace got a warranted draw via a late foul by Xhaka on Zaha, which Milivojević converted to secure a brace.
For Palace, this was a worthy performance against a top-six side, which could have on another day resulted in a win.
For Arsenal, this was a game where they were under the cosh for large parts but managed to secure a draw via being clinical in front of goal and matching Palace's physicality.
Roy Hodgson, the Palace manager, clearly held a game plan which was working for the most part. Arsenal's winning run ends for now, but it was a valuable point nonetheless. What does it mean though, and how can they build on this in coming games?
#1 Palace can stay up
Crystal Palace is under natural relegation troubles, given their poor run of late.
Nonetheless, they are in the good shape if this game is anything to go by. Roy Hodgson, following his poor performances at Liverpool and the England national team, has been maligned in most quarters, but today he concocted a master tactical plan, which nearly disrupted Arsenal.
In fairness to Unai Emery, Arsenal were matching it, though if this were under Wenger, they may have lost. This isn't to knock Wenger, but the team of last season lacked the physical and mental capacity to handle these performances.
However, this performance should breed much confidence for them, and they can secure their place in the division after many years as a Premier League club. Palace with proper direction can be a mid-table team, and maybe for them, this draw could give them the confidence to progress.