LONDON, January 11: Crystal Palace were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the visitors ahead and was sent off after Jordan Ayew scored a fortuitous equaliser for the home side.
The result provisionally left Palace ninth in the standings on 29 points from 22 games, one ahead of 10th-placed Arsenal whose manager Mikael Arteta criticised his team for conceding a sloppy goal.
“The first 35 minutes is exactly what I want our Arsenal team to play like,” the Spaniard told the BBC. “After that we started to give free-kicks and give balls away.
“In the first 15 minutes of the second half, credit to them because they pushed. We switched off completely for the goal and that’s unacceptable.”
His counterpart Roy Hodgson said Palace deserved the point they earned for their second half pressure.
“The first third of the game wasn’t much fun to watch,” he said. “We realised we’ll have to give up some of our protection – we did that and it started to fit into place for us.
“In the last two-thirds of the game I’m really delighted with the team. I thought in terms of general play and the amount of questions we were asking, we were good value for the point.”
Aubameyang struck in the 12th minute, steering a low shot past goalkeeper Vicente Guaita after he was put through by Alexandre Lacazette, with Arsenal dominating an uneventful first half at Selhurst Park.
Ayew levelled in the 54th minute with a heavily deflected shot which left keeper Bernd Leno stranded after it came off defender David Luiz, as the visitors failed to clear a tame-looking low cross from the right.
Aubameyang was shown a straight red card midway through the second half after a VAR check, following a rash tackle on Max Meyer which forced the Palace forward to limp off injured.
Palace, who gained the upper hand in the closing stages with their numerical advantage, missed their best chance to grab a winner when Sokratis Papastathopoulos cleared a James Tomkins header off the line in the 78th minute.
They were let of the hook three minutes later at the other end as Guaita tipped Nicolas Pepe’s fierce low shot on to the post and then smothered Lacazette’s close-range follow up.
Palace defender Gary Cahill was not entirely happy with the outcome.
“We’re frustrated not to get the win, but in the first half they were very good,” he told BT Sport.
“It was difficult to deal with their pace and movement. When we got to grips with the game we did well. We’re doing OK, but we need to keep pushing and keep working hard.” (Agencies)