In pictures: Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Mikel Arteta did it the hard way at Selhurst Park as a penalty decided the contest in 10-man Arsenal’s favour. Eddie Nketiah won it and Martin Odegaard scored it to leave Crystal Palace licking their wounds after an entertaining contest. As the dust settles, Express Sport takes you through three key talking points from the Gunners’ 1-0 win.
Arteta set to shoot himself in foot
Arsenal may be wise to reconsider their position on Kieran Tierney. The 26-year-old was left out of the matchday squad by Arteta for the second matchday running as he continues to be linked with a move away.
Simply put, sanctioning Tierney’s exit could be a big mistake, and not just because Takehiro Tomiyasu – who started at left-back against Palace – was sent off for a second bookable offence with half an hour remaining.
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If truth be told, the Japanese international was poor even before being given his marching orders. With Jurrien Timber out for the majority of the season and Oleksandr Zinchenko more of a central presence when he plays, Arteta is painfully short of left-sided defensive options who can bomb forward to support Gabriel Martinelli.
Considering the amount of attention that Bukayo Saka attracts on the opposite flank, possessing a left-back that can attack freely and link up with Martinelli, even as an option from the bench, seems like smart squad management.
Saka drawing defenders towards him meant the cross-field switch was almost aways on for Arsenal at Selhurst Park. And while Martinelli got some joy as a result, the Gunners could have been even more dangerous with Tierney there to support.
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Saka matches record
Bukayo Saka playing his 82nd consecutive Premier League game for the club is a testament to his longevity, as well as his prominence in Arteta’s XI. Reaching the magic number has seen the 21-year-old draw level with club legend Paul Merson at the top of the all-time list.
“I’m really proud to be in the same company as the legends that have played for this club,” Saka said before the match.
He was unable to crown the achievement with a goal, however, as Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell did a solid defensive job to keep him quiet.
Rice settles in
Gunners fans are still keeping a close eye on Declan Rice, who made his second Premier League appearance for the club on Monday night. Starting in a double-pivot alongside Thomas Partey when Arsenal were in possession, the former West Ham man began slowly but soon found his way into the game.
Accurate diagonal passes to Martinelli, firm tackles and well-timed bursts forward were all part of Rice’s performance in south London. One foray towards the penalty area set up a great chance for Nketiah in the first half, although the striker denied Rice his assist by spurning the opportunity.
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