Arsenal’s four match winning streak came to an end as Crystal Palace held out for a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Thursday evening.
The Gunners started the game brightly and dominated possession, but their failure to test Vicente Guaita allowed Palace to grow into the first half and create the better chances. James Tomkins rattled the crossbar from an Eberechi Eze free kick, while Christian Benteke also came close but to no avail as both sides went into half time without a goal.
Play resumed after the break as Arsenal returned to the pitch to the sounds of none other than Kurt Angle’s entrance music – because why not.
Arsenal tried to up the ante in the second half and push beyond a resolute Palace defence, but lacked any real conviction. A dip in composure in midfield opened up the game somewhat and the visitors had chances to attack, but couldn’t find the net and, truthfully, looked happy sitting out for a point.
In a solid point for Roy Hodgson’s side but an admittedly forgettable contest, here’s how the players rated.
Bernd Leno (GK) – 6/10 – Produced a well calculated save against Benteke to keep the scores level towards the end of the first half.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – 6/10 – Solid going forward and constantly had Mitchell beaten but also did well defensively to keep Eze quiet when needed.
Rob Holding (CB) – 6/10 – Was composed on the ball and a calming presence, not causing any calamities or headaches.
David Luiz (CB) – 5/10 – A little rash and erratic at times compared to Holding, but by no means off the pace. A little too lethargic when given time to roam forward.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (LB) – 4/10 – Really poor night at the office for Maitland-Niles, who must have had his boots on the wrong feet. Far too many wayward passes and was hooked for a change of system when Nicolas Pepe was introduced.
Dani Ceballos (DM) – 5/10 – Ceballos retained possession well and moved the ball over long distances with supreme accuracy, but could’ve been more urgent.
Granit Xhaka (DM) – 5/10 – Aggressive as ever off the ball and gave away a few fouls in dangerous areas. Xhaka was perhaps too rash at times, but also made some tireless recoveries to make up for it.
Bukayo Saka (RM) – 6/10 – Linked up well with Bellerin in wide positions and delivered some accurate passes from set pieces. Moved to left back following Pepe’s introduction and looked more threatening.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 6/10 – Lacked the service from deep to properly influence the game which is unfortunate, because Smith Rowe looked sharp in advanced areas when he was involved.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LM) – 5/10 – The captain made some mazing runs from wide, but lacked confidence and conviction. Must do more to inspire his teammates and stop them slumping.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 6/10 – Similarly to Smith Rowe, Lacazette looked dangerous when the ball came to him, but he was swallowed with ease inside the Palace penalty area.
Nicolas Pepe – 5/10 – Was thrown on as a substitute with 20 minutes or so to make an impact, but offered very little.
Thomas Partey – 5/10
Eddie Nketiah – N/A
Vicente Guaita (GK) – 5/10 – Little to do despite Arsenal’s dominant spells of possession, which says more about the Gunners than anything.
Joel Ward (RB) – 5/10 – Kept Aubameyang quiet for the most part, even if he did seemingly struggle to do so once or twice.
James Tomkins (CB) – 7/10 – Led the charge at the back and read crosses and long balls well to take the pressure off his teammates. He got forward well, too, and was unfortunate not to score. Standout game.
Cheikhou Kouyate (CB) – 6/10 – Enjoyed a comfortable night next to Tomkins who settled the nerves, but also did well to help out Tyrick Mitchell when needed.
Tyrick Mitchell (LB) – 5/10 – Struggled to deal with the overload of Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka at times, but did enough to keep them from causing too much of a threat in the second half.
Andros Townsend (RM) – 5/10 – With Eze looking razor sharp on the left flank, Townsend went under the radar somewhat.
James McArthur (CM) – 6/10 – McArthur swept things up and was the ideal screen for Palace, winning four tackles.
Luka Milivojevic (CM) – 6/10 – Read runs from Arsenal’s midfield well to intercept and fed the ball nicely at times.
Eberechi Eze (LM) – 7/10 – Looks like he’s capable of doing something thrilling every time he touches the ball. Eze was confident and fearless in possession, but needs to get a hold of play more often to truly grab games when they’re there for the taking.
Christian Benteke (ST) – 5/10 – Inoffensive outing for Benteke who was used as the man to hold things up. Could’ve played with a bit more risk though, rather than everything being so back to goal.
Wilfried Zaha (ST) – 6/10 – Looked dangerous in spells and drew fouls as usual, but lacked his usual conviction and agility to glide through Arsenal’s defence.
Jordan Ayew – N/A
James McCarthy – N/A