Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went from hero to zero as ten-man Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Arsenal were the pace setters in the game and took just 12 minutes to break the deadlock, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished off a sublime team move to put the visitors ahead. However, Crystal Palace slowly found their feet and the game became an even affair for the remainder of the first half.
Post the break, Palace continued from where they lost off at the interval and levelled things up in the 54th minute. The goal had a stroke of luck, though, as Jordan Ayew’s first-time shot was took a wicked deflection off David Luiz, leaving Bernd Leno stranded in the Arsenal goal. However, things would go from bad to worse for the Gunners minutes later.
Midway through the second half, Aubameyang was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Max Meyer following consultation from VAR. Both sides, though, came within whiskers of grabbing the lead thereafter, but the game ended in a 1-1 draw. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mikel Arteta’s men.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Despite the fact that Crystal Palace dominated large parts of the game, Leno was hardly called into action. The German custodian made just one regulation stop all game and could only helplessly watch the ball sail into the back of the net after Jordan Ayew’s shot was heavily deflected off David Luiz.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 8/10
Given the unenviable task of defending against Wilfried Zaha, Maitland-Niles was in for a tricky afternoon. The 22-year-old was so in his elements that the Crystal Palace talisman was rendered irrelevant for large parts of the game. When Zaha did threaten, Maitland-Niles did well to deal with him. Perhaps his best performance of the season.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 8/10
Sokratis has looked much improved in the last couple of games and he continued his fine run on Saturday. Part of the defence that held its line well for the most part, Sokratis’ accomplishment was largely about how he remained disciplined along with the rest of the defenders.
However, the big moment of the game saw him clear the ball off the line in the 80th minute, in an effort that surely preserved the point for Arsenal. Tremendous awareness to drop to the goalline when Leno was stranded. Needs to continue this form now.
David Luiz: 8/10
Much like Sokratis, Luiz remained disciplined in the backline for large parts of the game. In fact, so disciplined were the duo that they restricted Crystal Palace to speculative efforts from distance. Initiated the move that led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal, threading the pass to Mesut Ozil. Towards the end, though, he sent a bizarre free-kick to the Z Row. A late dampener.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
With Crystal Palace concentrating most of his moves through Zaha, Kolasinac was not tested a great deal in the defensive phase. As a result, the Bosnian was afforded a lot of time on the ball. But, his end product often left a lot to be desired, and bar a ball to Gabriel Martinelli, there was not really anything positive from his forward forays. An opportunity missed.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
A game of two halves for Xhaka, who struck a fine bond with Lucas Torreira once again and rarely allowed the Crystal Palace midfield to overpower him. As a result, in the first half, he set a quick tempo to the game. However, once Torreira was taken off, he did not have quite the same support in Matteo Guendouzi, and was overrun plenty of times post the break. Assured on the ball, though.
Lucas Torreira: 7/10
The player who enabled Xhaka to be the pace setter. Holding the fort in the middle of the park, Torreira absorbed much of the pressure that Crystal Palace looked to create. However, a hip injury forced him to be taken off at half-time, which provided the hosts the impetus to take on Arsenal with force.
Nicolas Pepe: 6.5/10
Arsenal’s brightest player on the day, Pepe had a spring in his step right from the get-go and looked to make things happen. Helped Maitland-Niles in his battle with Zaha and took the opposition defenders on when he got on the ball. Desperately unlucky to see Vicente Guaita tip his shot onto the woodwork, missing the winner by a hair.
Mesut Ozil: 5.5/10
Ozil looked to be in his elements early on, judging by his involvement in Aubameyang’s goal. A deft pass picked Alexandre Lacazette, who then laid the ball on for the Arsenal captain. However, after a bright start, Ozil drifted out of the game and became a peripheral figure. Lost the ball an alarming four times as well. Taken off for Martinelli following Aubameyang’s dismissal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5/10
A bundle of energy in the initial exchanges, Aubameyang was on song right from the word go. The Arsenal captain broke the deadlock with a peach of a finish. His liveliness caused the Crystal Palace defence a lot of problems. However, his dismissal heaped the pressure on Arsenal in a difficult second half. A highly irresponsible effort by Aubameyang when more is expected from him.
3 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the third Arsenal player to score and be sent off in the same Premier League match, and the first since Mikel Arteta vs Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in October 2013. Repeat. #CRYARS pic.twitter.com/2Gbh7Z8JpY
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 11, 2020
Alexandre Lacazette: 6.5/10
The player who donned the armband after Aubameyang saw red. Lacazette set Aubameyang up with a perfectly weighted pass from underneath his body. Thereafter ensued a frustrating game for Lacazette, who often had to feed off scraps. However, he made another key pass and was inches away from scoring from the rebound of Pepe’s effort. A decent showing, all in all.
Matteo Guendouzi: 6/10
On for Torreira, Guendouzi struggled to provide as much control as the Uruguayan did in the first half. The Frenchman looked assured on the ball, but struggled to contain the Palace midfielders, who created overloads in the middle of the park.
Gabriel Martinelli: 6/10
Martinelli replaced Ozil as Arteta looked to ensure Arsenal created the danger from wide areas. Set Pepe up for the shot that was tipped onto the upright with a brilliant cut-back. Ought to have done better from Kolasinac’s pass, though.
Reiss Nelson: N/A
A late introduction, Nelson did not have enough time to make an impact.