By David Awopetu
Arsenal’s recent surge up the table has breathed new life into Mikel Arteta’s side, changing the entire mood of the club, but they are not yet so transformed that they can just breeze past a team like Crystal Palace.
The South Londoners are fast becoming Arsenal’s bogey team, with Palace now unbeaten in the last five matches between these sides. There is something about Arsenal that brings out Palace’s resilience and doggedness, and Roy Hodgson’s players seem to know which buttons to press and when to press them on these trips to the Emirates.
It was a night to test the durability of the extremities and, also, the strength of Arsenal’s mini-revival. And for a side in such form, Arsenal were a disappointment going forward, their only effort at goal a shot on the turn from Alexandre Lacazette into the side-netting.
Arsenal being Arsenal, they duly punctured the mood of cautious optimism by playing out a scoreless draw and the truth was that it could have been worse if Crystal Palace – and in particular, Christian Benteke – had been able to locate a cutting edge in front of goal.
Palace, who hit the crossbar through James Tomkins at the end of the first-half, will take a point that keeps them on the heels of Arsenal in mid-table.
Mikel Arteta’s men needed extra time to defeat Newcastle United last time out in the FA Cup and lacked any sort of imagination against Palace as the influential Kieran Tierney sat out with muscle tightness.
Indeed, Arsenal were ultimately fortunate to preserve a first home Premier League clean sheet since July 1 as they stayed 11th.