Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace: 5 key points as Alexandre Lacazette snatches and gave a rescue goal to equalize in Premier League 2021-22
Alexandre Lacazette scored with the last kick of the ball to help Arsenal secure a 2-2 draw at the death in a London derby against Crystal Palace.
The Monday night fixture rounded up the action for matchday eight, and the Gunners were looking to climb into the top half of the table with a victory.
Things got off to a bright start when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead in the eighth minute. Nicolas Pepe‘s shot into the top corner was palmed out by an outstretched Vicente Guaita, and Aubameyang converted it into an empty net.
The goal seemingly sparked Crystal Palace into life. They dominated proceedings for the rest of the first half, with Odsonne Edouard troubling Arsenal’s defense.
Arsenal were forced into an early change when Bukayo Saka got on the receiving end of a horrific challenge by James McArthur.
Conor Gallagher forced Aaron Ramsdale into a fine save with a cleanly-struck half-volley from the edge of the area right on the stroke of halftime.
Thomas Partey had the first chance of the second half when he shot narrowly wide from distance. However, it was Crystal Palace who got a deserved equalizer in the 50th minute.
Jordan Ayew won the ball off Partey in a promising position and quickly fed Christian Benteke in the transition. The former Liverpool man made no mistake with his precise shot into the bottom corner that left Ramsdale with no chance.
It was no less than Crystal Palace deserved following their energetic displays, and they soon regained dominance in the game.
Mikel Arteta brought on Alexandre Lacazette for the ineffective Martin Odegaard midway through the second half. The Frenchman instantly injected drive and pace into Arsenal’s attack.
Lacazette’s introduction helped the hosts gain a foothold for the first time in the game, but the third goal of the match came against the run of play.
Crystal Palace once again won possession while Arsenal were in transition, with halftime substitute Albert Lokonga the culprit in this instance.
Odsonne Edouard received the ball from substitute Michael Olise and put the visitors ahead with a shot that went off the crossbar.
Kieran Tierney hit the bar with three minutes to go, and Arsenal piled on the pressure as Crystal Palace held on for dear life.
Lacazette drew the hosts level with virtually the last kick of the game, converting from close range after Guaita’s goal-line save from a corner kick had fallen into his path.
The victory means the Gunners have moved up to 12th spot in the Premier League table on 11 points. Meanwhile, the Eagles are three points below them in 14th place.
Here are the five key points
#1 Arsenal have every right to be outraged at the VAR
Bukayo Saka’s night ended prematurely after he was on the end of a horrific tackle by James McArthur. The Crystal Palace midfielder had been attempting a volley and, with his eyes on the ball, clattered into the England international.
He got away with only a booking, but the tackle got worse with each passing replay. It was bad enough that Saka had to be substituted with what appears to be a calf injury.
Halftime analysis showed the full extent of the tackle. Questions were asked of why the VAR did not advise center referee Mike Dean to take another look at whether a red card was deserved.
Further VAR talking points came in the second half with both of Crystal Palace’s goals. There were calls by the Arsenal players that both Partey and Lokonga were fouled in the build-up, and the second case, in particular, had strong merit.
#2 Crystal Palace undone by defensive lapse in the final minutes yet again
Crystal Palace gave as good as they got against Arsenal. In some ways, they can consider themselves unlucky not to have left north London with all three points.
The Eagles have long been famed for being one of the most compact sides in the league under Roy Hodgson. However, their identity has changed since the appointment of Patrick Vieira.
The south London side have become more expansive in attack, but this has resulted in them becoming more defensively vulnerable.
#3 Arsenal will be sweating on Bukayo Saka’s fitness
Bukayo Saka has been one of the revelations for Arsenal in recent years, and his overall importance to the side cannot be underestimated.
The 20-year-old had a poor start to Monday’s game and was one of several Arsenal players who struggled in the first half. He was even shown a booking for a cynical challenge shortly before being on the end of one himself.
Saka hobbled off the field to receive treatment and despite the best efforts of the medical team, he failed to take to the field after the restart.
There has been no official confirmation on the severity of the injury. However, with Arsenal due to play at the Emirates in just five days, fans of the club will be hoping Saka is available.
#4 Lacazette’s impressive came off the bench could boost his chances of becoming a regular
Alexandre Lacazette had a far from ideal start to the new season, as a positive COVID-19 test meant he saw out the club’s opening games.
He has been restricted to cup competitions since his return to full fitness, with his only start of the season coming in a 3-0 League Cup victory over Wimbledon.
The 30-year-old was on the bench for the entirety of the 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. He also saw only 19 minutes of action against Brentford before the international break.
His introduction against Crystal Palace changed the direction of the game. Arsenal immediately moved into the ascendancy, with the Emirates crowd backing them accordingly.
The former Lyon striker scored a deserved equalizer at the death. With his goal, he must have moved up a notch in Mikel Arteta’s potential starting lineup on Friday.
#5 Is it a case of two points dropped or one gained for Arsenal?
Arsenal started the season in disastrous fashion and failed to score in any of their opening three league games, conceding nine in the process.
This saw the pressure mount on Mikel Arteta. However, a run of five successive wins, capped by an impressive victory in the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, brought a breath of fresh air.
A hard-fought goalless draw away to a resilient and improving Brighton was commendable, but the Gunners expected to get back on track with another derby win.
Things were seemingly on track when Augameyang fired the hosts ahead with an early goal. However, that was as good as it got in a first half that was controlled by the visitors.
Crystal Palace have a poor record against Arsenal historically, with just five wins from 50 matches against their city rivals.