Arsenal 1-1 Crystal Palace – The Collapse Continues!

Arsenal missed the chance to go third as Yanick Bolasie scored late equaliser to clinch a point for Crystal Palace.  The Gunners opened the scoring through Alexis Sanchez before Bolasie struck to secure a point for the visitors. Arsenal bossed the game from start to finish but despite being in the ascendency, lacked the killer instinct to put the game beyond any doubt.

Crystal Palace’s intentions were clear from the off, as they packed the midfield and attempted to frustrate Arsene Wenger’s men, and the tactics seemed to work as the hosts struggled to create any clear-cut chances, despite plenty of possession.

It was the visitors who were the first to test either goalkeeper, as Bolasie drifted in from the left-hand side before hitting a tame effort into the mid-drift of Petr Cech, who was returning to the side ahead of David Ospina.

Arsenal continued to probe around the edge of the opposition box but were unable to force their way through in a dour opening half hour. Beyond a Scott Dann header and a Sanchez free-kick that drifted narrowly wide, it really was a tame affair. The hosts finally created a chance of note as Mesut Ozil exchanged a smart one-two with Sanchez but could only prod an effort straight at Wayne Hennessy.

The deadlock was broken in stoppage time. Danny Welbeck picked the ball up on the edge of the box and floated a chipped ball over the top of the Palace defence. Sanchez crept in unnoticed and deftly headed the ball over the onrushing Hennessy to make it 1-0 to the Arsenal.

It was the perfect time to score and sent a muted stadium into a brief moment of jubilation.

The teams came out for the second period and the game continued in a similar vein as the first. Lots of possession yet little end product. Alex Iwobi headed wide from close range before Ozil saw his free-kick drift past the post.

Emmanuel Adebayor was then introduced to the chorus of boos you’d come to expect but the game continued in the same way. Danny Welbeck was denied from a point blank save before Sanchez headed an Ozil free-kick just wide of the far post.

Palace continued to play negatively, but Dann was able to force Cech into a smart save after he connected with a corner. Arsenal were still well on top, but lacked the incision to really kill the game off.

Then the predictable happened. Adebayor stormed down the left side before passing the ball to Bolasie, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net to send the travelling fans into raptures. A lot was made of Wenger’s decision to not recall Cech at West Ham last week, but the Czech International will certainly feel he should have done better with Bolasie’s effort.

Wenger reacted by introducing Theo Walcott, who continued his recent form by having absolutely no impact on the game. In fact, it was the visitors who looked more like stealing the three points, and but for an important last-ditch tackle from Gabriel, they might have just done that.

The final whistle was met with the now familiar chorus of boos. More dropped points and the now yearly tradition of fighting for a fourth placed finish. Oh what a time to be a Gooner.

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Elneny (Walcott, 84), Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobi (Ramsey, 75); Welbeck (Giroud, 75)

Unused Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Chambers, Campbell

Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Jedinak (Sako, 45), Ledley; Bolasie, Cabaye, Puncheon (Zaha, 75); Wickham (Adebayor, 64)

Unused Subs: Speroni, Mariappa, Lee Chung-yong, Kelly

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