Arsenal produce another insipid performance in draw with Crystal Palace
Arsenal conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Crystal Palace in their Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
It was a typically characteristic performance from the Gunners.
They enjoyed plenty of possession, but were unable to turn their superiority into a win and a late defensive lapse denied them all three points.
Alexis Sanchez put Arsenal ahead with a looping header just before half-time, but Palace equalised with six minutes left as Yannick Bolasie fired in a low shot to level for his team.
The match had an end of season feel from the beginning. There were thousands of empty seats in the home sections of the crowd.
The match was played at a testimonial pace, with Arsenal enjoying the majority of possession but playing with little tempo and unable to create any clear-cut chances.
Palace with an FA Cup semi-final to look forward to at Wembley next weekend played with little ambition. They were content to defend and only pushed players forward for set-pieces.
From one of these in the 15th minute, Pape Soure high cross found Scott Dann but he headed the ball narrowly wide.
At the other end a Mesut Ozil corner in the 35th minute was met by Laurent Koscielny but his header flew high over Wayne Hennessey’s crossbar.
Following a through ball from Mohamed Elneny in the 37th minute, Danny Welbeck was fouled 30 yards out.
Alexis Sanchez took the free kick, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide for a corner.
Shortly afterwards Sanchez set up Mesut Ozil just inside the penalty area , but his shot was blocked by the feet of Hennessey.
Right on half-time Arsenal made the breakthrough when Welbeck chipped the ball into the box for Sanchez to send a looping header over Hennessey into the net.
The second half started in similar vein to the first with Arsenal passing the ball neatly, but with little threat that a second goal was going to follow.
The home fans turned their attention to booing Emmanuel Adebayor during his warm up on the touchline.
The closest the Gunners went to increasing their lead came when Ozil’s eft-footed free kick went narrowly past Hennessey’s post.
With 25 minutes remaining Adebayor replaced Connor Wickham and he was to make a decisive contribution to the result with six minutes remaining.
He broke down the left touchline to the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, holding off Gabriel, before slipping the ball to Yannick
Bolasie skipped past Coquelin’s challenge and fired in a low shot which squirmed past the recalled Per Cech at his near post into the net.
Arsenal with an out of form Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott on as substitutes were unable to create any late chances to claim all three points.
The result leaves the Gunners in fourth place in the Premier League table and facing a scrap with the two Manchester clubs for a top four spot.
Even fourth place may not be enough to secure a Champions League spot for Arsenal, if Manchester City and Liverpool win their respective European competitions – and City finish outside the top four.
The Gunners remain thirteen points behind leaders Leicester City, following the Foxes 2-2 draw with West Ham this afternoon.
So another afternoon of frustration for Arsenal as their season continues to peter out and with an overwhelming sense around the stadium that the end to the season can’t come soon enough.
Cech 6, Gabriel 6, Koscielny 6, Ozil 6, Sanchez 7, Monreal 6, Welbeck 7 (Giroud), Bellerin 6, Coquelin, 6 Elneny 6, Iwobi 8 (Ramsey)