Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace: 5 talking points as Alexandre Lacazette snatches a last-gasp equalizer

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 five talking points from the thrilling game.

#5 Arsenal have every right to be outraged at the VAR

Arsenal were enraged at some refereeing decisions
Arsenal were enraged at some refereeing decisions

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.

#4 Crystal Palace undone by defensive lapse in the final minutes yet again

Crystal Palace conceded an injury-time goal against Arsenal
Crystal Palace conceded an injury-time goal against Arsenal

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.

This has been particularly true in the dying stages of games. Lacazette’s equalizer means Crystal Palace have now dropped seven points from goals conceded in the final five minutes.

They were also punished in similar circumstances when Neal Maupay equalized for Brighton in the fifth minute of injury time three weeks ago.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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Written by bourbiza

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