Aubameyang sees red as Arsenal held at Palace
Gunners boss Arteta apologises for 'nasty' tackle following 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park
11 January, 2020 — By Paul Cowling at Selhurst Park
CRYSTAL PALACE 1 (Ayew 54)
ARSENAL 1 (Aubameyang 12, sent off 67)
VAR cast its controversial shadow on the first London derby of the decade as 10-man Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace this afternoon.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring for the Gunners early on, but later had a yellow card elevated to red, as Arsenal failed to capitalise on a dominant first half.
Mikel Arteta said he was “very disappointed” with the end result.
“I was pleased with the way we stretched and dominated in the first half, but after the break we knew Palace would push forward,” reasoned the Arsenal head coach.
“We started giving free kicks away, and then we switched off for the goal. In the Premier League in just a few seconds you can concede a goal and drop points.”
Palace were above Arsenal in the table prior to kick off – a measure of the Gunners’ sporadic season so far, and the test they faced in the blustery conditions.
But it was the north Londoners who adapted better to the weather conditions at the start, and with the wind at their backs, and in their sails, they toyed with the home side.
The visitors took advantage of their early dominance on 12 minutes when Aubameyang got on the end of Alexandre Lacazette’s clever pass to score his 14th league goal of the season.
It was a stunning team goal of 18 passes, which ended with a rapid four-man move which ripped through the home side’s rearguard.
David Luiz found Mesut Ozil with a long-range precision pass. The German then flicked onto Lacazette, who delivered on a plate for Aubameyang to fire past Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.
That early goal muted the usually fervent home support as Arsenal had a vice-like grip on the game.
Such was Arsenal’s dominance that Bernd Leno in the Gunners’ goal made didn’t make his first save until just before the break when he held on to a weak effort from Cheikhou Kouyate.
At second half kick off Matteo Guendouzi replaced Lucas Torreira who had fallen awkwardly. “It’s a muscle injury,” said Arteta when asked for news on the extent of the Uruguayan’s injury after the game.
Palace finally found their way into the game after the break, and with the home crowd noise turned up, they equalised through Jordan Ayew.
The Gunners failed to deal with a free kick, and the ball eventually fell to the Palace striker, whose effort deflected off Luiz and into the net.
It got far worse for Arsenal when Aubameyang was retrospectively sent off for a foul on Max Meyer.
Referee Paul Tierney handed out an initial yellow card, but reversed his decision and showed the Arsenal skipper a red when the much-maligned VAR was consulted.
Arteta later apologised for the tackle. He said: “It looked nasty to be fair, even though there was no intention. I hope he (Meyer) is alright, and we are sorry it happened.“
Aubameyang had suffered the same fate as coach Arteta, who had also scored and been sent off in a league game at Selhurst Park.
Before the game T-shirts were being sold that read “VAR – It’s not Football Anymore”, and during the early stages of the match both sets of fans shouted out what they thought of it.
On 84 minutes, Arsenal came very close to winning it when a Nicolas Pepe shot was tipped onto the right hand post by Guaita.
At the other end, Palace continued to pile on the pressure, but the Gunners ground out a tough point.
CRYSTAL PALACE: Guaita; Tomkins, Cahill; Kelly, Riedewald; Meyer (Tosun, 70), McCarthy, Kouyate, McArthur, Zara; Ayew
Substitutes not used: Hennessy, Dann, Wickham, Woods, Kirby, Pierrick
ARSENAL: Leno, Sokratis, Luiz; Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac; Torreira (Guendouzi, 45), Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil (Martinelli, 70), Aubameyang; Lacazette (Nelson, 90).
Substitutes not used: Martinez, Holding, Willock, Saka