Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 1
Alexis 45 +1, Bolassie 81

Arsenal failed to capitalise on their domination for the second consecutive London derby, and for the second consecutive weekend were held when a victory appeared to be within their grasp. West Ham last weekend Crystal Palace, this, the dropping of two points each time having taken the lead has become an unnecessary late and unwelcome addition. With over seventy percent of the possession, you should be able to claim the three points, that would be the consensus of opinion. Alexis Sanchez headed in just before the break as Palace rarely threatened. Nine minutes before time, Yannick Bolassie caught Petr Cech at his near post to level, and that transformed the visitors who could have gone onto win the game in the last few minutes

Following a four game absence due to a calf injury, Cech returned, and that was the only change from the side which went up by two goals at West Ham, only to be pegged back for a 3-3 draw. Little were we aware that a similar theme would evolve here. Palace had former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor on the substitutes bench. However with just three wins from their last 38 encounters, Palace knew this would be a tough encounter.

Arsenal have been coming to terms with another season of what might have been, but given the emergence of Alex Iwobi, and the signing of Mohamed Elneny to partner Francis Coquelin, signs of midfield stability are emerging, but that must now translate to wins.

The trio were heavily involved early on, and with Alexis, Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck in a forward line, the Gunners knew they had to fire. Hugging and holding in the area has increased of late and when Laurent Koscielny was held by Delaney following Elneny’s corner, bizarrely, there were no appeals form the home side. Palace’s strong arm stuff was all part of a game plan to enable Arsenal possession and to sit back and contain. Easier said that done as Koscielny found Ozil. He fed Alexis and took a return to carve out an opening, but with only Wayne Hennessey to beat, the German was unable to steer the ball beyond the Palace keeper.

Having seen Andy Carroll dominate against the Arsenal defence, Palace almost benefited from the same route from a Yohan Cabaye free kick which Connor Wickham headed just over Cech’s bar.

In first half time added on, Alexis gave Arsenal a deserved lead. Oil seemed to have been dispossessed, but Welbeck was able to recycle the attack to chip a beautiful pass for Alexis to reach with a header which he lobbed over the on rushing Hennessey.

Bakery Sako replaced Mile Jedinak at the break, and further Palace substitutions would have their effect on the game. However Arsenal were looking to add to their tally and when Welbeck hared away to retrieve a loose ball, he fed Iwobi. The pair enjoy playing together and that was evident as the 19 year old back heeled to Welbeck who tried to beat Hennessey at his near post but the Palace ‘keeper held firm.

Alexis’ direct running was causing no end of havoc in the Palace defence and when Ledley caught him in full flow, up stepped Ozil to take the free kick. The German caught the ball well and the flight cleared the wall and as Hennessey stretched, he was relieved to see the ball fly just past his upright. Hennessey was suddenly very busy and put his frame in the way to block from Welbeck as Arsenal continued to threaten. This time Oil’s quick free kick found the head of Alexis as he stooped to steer the ball beyond Hennessey, but again it went just the wrong side of the Palace upright.

As an Arsenal attack, floundered, Palace and Adebayor began to threaten. Gabriel was in attendance as Adebayor raced away hugging the touchline, yet the Gabriel chose not to put in a slide tackle despite there being at least two opportunities for him to do so.

Instead, Adebayor found Bolassie who took a couple of touches to go to Coquelin’s side before hitting low to beat Cech at his near post. Arsenal were in shock at another leveller in a game they had dominated. The visitors could have actually claimed all three points when Zaha raced away, but this time Gabriel got a block in when a cross would have been easy pickings for an unmarked Adebayor.

Another two points dropped and Arsene Wenger expressed his frustrations at the damage inflicted.

” I’m very disappointed. It is one of those days where you don’t like to do a press conference after because it is not pleasant. I felt that we had possession 70 per cent of the time and we lacked a bit of accuracy with our final ball, a change of pace or have enough men forward. In the end, we got caught by a unique shot on goal by Crystal Palace. They played deep and defended well. They got us on the break and that is the story of the game. It is very frustrating.

” As long as you don’t win every game, you want to add what is needed. I’m responsible for the result and I think I’m the first person who is frustrated. I can say that at the moment, we will make complete balance at the end of the season and see where we stand. At the moment it is about being together and giving our best until the end of the season,” said Wenger.