The South Londoners are quick changing into Arsenal’s bogey group, with Palace now unbeaten within the final 5 matches between these sides. There’s something about Arsenal that brings out Palace’s resilience and doggedness, and Roy Hodgson’s gamers appear to know which buttons to press and when to press them on these journeys to the Emirates.
Inevitably there have been moments when Palace needed to face up to important stress right here, sitting deep and absorbing the Arsenal assaults like a sturdy punch bag. However none of Arsenal’s blows have been damaging, and Palace had loads of their very own alternatives on the different finish.
By full time a draw felt like a largely truthful end result, nevertheless dissatisfied Arsenal can be that their four-game successful streak has come to an finish. Their general efficiency was stable sufficient however on a freezing evening they lacked the fireworks in assault that they’ve produced in current weeks.
Not even the return of Thomas Partey, their star midfielder, as a second-half substitute may encourage the house aspect, for whom younger Emile Smith Rowe was unable to search out the house and time he has thrived upon in his sparky showings since Christmas.
A clear sheet was due to this fact deserved for Palace, who had saved simply three within the earlier 26 league video games regardless of their popularity for solidity. If that they had been only a contact extra scientific within the last third right here, they may properly have returned residence with three factors somewhat than one.
All London derbies are likely to have an added depth, in fact, however these two groups have taken their rivalry up a notch or two in current seasons. Arsenal got here into this with no win of their final 4 Premier League conferences with Palace, having usually discovered themselves unable to maintain their cool in opposition to the south London aspect’s model of provocative counter-attacking play.
The most important sufferer of this lately has been Granit Xhaka, who was booed by his personal followers on this fixture final season. He was subsequently stripped of the captaincy for his response, and there’s no query that Palace — and Wilfried Zaha particularly — had acquired below his and Arsenal’s pores and skin on that dismal afternoon.
There was a sure symbolism, then, when Xhaka flew throughout his personal field to supply an distinctive block early on right here, in a sometimes aggressive first half. It was a very good alternative for Palace’s prime scorer, as soon as wished by Arsenal, and it was not at all their solely likelihood within the opening exchanges. Christian Benteke quickly fired over from shut vary, whereas Eberechi Eze regarded sharp on his first look since being fined for breaching coronavirus protocols.
For Arsenal it was not fairly as dominant as they might have hoped, though they did look harmful in assault. Their trigger was not helped by the absence of left-back Kieran Tierney, lacking via muscle tightness, however they did nonetheless create loads going ahead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka each shot on track, whereas Alexandre Lacazette was denied a free shot at objective by a poor contact by Hector Bellerin, his personal full-back.
In video games like this Palace could be one of many league’s most uncomfortable groups to play in opposition to. Roy Hodgson’s aspect need the sport to be disjointed, for gaps to open up for Zaha and Eze. Within the first half they largely succeeded on this, breaking apart Arsenal’s move and getting of their faces.
By the tip of the half, Palace have been questioning how they weren’t in entrance. James Tomkins headed in opposition to the bar, from an Eze cross, earlier than Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno produced an acrobatic save as Benteke’s header regarded destined for the highest nook.
Arsenal’s upturn in the previous couple of weeks has led to a noticeable improve in tempo and freedom going ahead, with Lacazette wanting rejuvenated and Saka a relentless risk on the suitable wing. Arteta’s aspect seem able to slipping via the gears in the mean time and so they put their foot down at first of the second half, with Bellerin going shut after which Saka taking pictures at Guaita once more.
The hazard for Arsenal was all the time going to be within the moments after they misplaced the ball, although, with Zaha and Eze all the time ready to transition at velocity. It took a vital sliding block from Xhaka to cease one Palace assault, after which one other last-ditch clearance from the midfielder after Zaha had scampered down the suitable wing.
Nonetheless Arsenal pushed, with Arteta throwing Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah into the motion, however on this event the stress didn’t develop into clear probabilities. Palace held their form and dug of their heels on an evening of frustration for Arsenal.