Arsenal slumped from a two goal lead inside ten minutes to eventually two dropped points, but the stories will revolve around Granit Xhaka.
The club captain was subbed off in the second half and was booed off the field, prompting the Swiss midfielder to rip his shirt off and walk straight down the tunnel, tearing off the captains armband in the process.
Much will be made of his actions, but the crowd covered themselves in zero glory by booing their skipper.
Back to the football, and Unai Emery opted for Kieran Tierney at left back, which was the Scot’s first Premier League start. Emery also named Alexandre Lacazette back in the side after injury, reuniting the partnership between him and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Dani Ceballos was in the Number ten role, and Pepe was in the side after his Europa League heroics.
What a start Arsenal made. Inside six minutes, we were a goal up. A Pepe corner bobbled around and was nodded down by Xhaka in the path of Sokratis, who half-volleyed a shot inside the box and into the net.
Two minutes later, we were two up and dreaming. Another Pepe corner, but this time Lacazette got the merest of flick-ons at the front post and David Luiz had gambled, punting home at the back stick.
Just a few minutes later, we nearly made it three, but Lacazette’s turn and shot prompted a fantastic save from Wayne Hennessey. We were cruising but we are Arsenal, and whenever something seems simple, we conspire to screw things up.
So it was, when Zaha was found in the box and he veered outside of Chambers. Our defender stuck out a leg and invited Zaha to go over, which he duly obliged. Martin Atkinson initially booked Zaha for diving, but VAR got involved and judged that there was contact between Chambers’ leg and Zaha, and gave a penalty.
Luka Milovojevic stepped up and smashed home, and there was a lifeline for the Eagles.
The half played itself out with a few chances for us but nothing too glaring, but the second half would be filled with talking points.
Jordan Ayew was the striker who scored Palace’s equaliser early in the second half, making a run to the back post and peeling off of David Luiz, who had gone to sleep and left Ayew to put a low header through Leno’s legs.
It was all to play for, so Emery made his changes, and this was when Xhaka reacted to the boos when being subbed off. Not good on either the player, nor the fans.
We were pressing, and Chambers came close to restoring our lead, being found expertly by Lacazette, working himself into a yard of space well, but his shot was high and wide.
Then, VAR got involved again. Another Pepe corner was pumped in and eventually a loose ball in the six yard box was fought for by Chambers and Milivojevic, who both hit the deck. The ball was then smashed home by Sokratis, who celebrated wildly with his teammates.
Minutes later, VAR was consulted and the judges panel decided that Chambers fouled the Serb Palace man, even though it was fifty-fifty and Chambers had been bundled over from behind in the process. It was a mystifying decision.
David Luiz then went mightily close to adding to his tally, being teed up for a shot and his top corner-bound effort was superbly saved by Wayne Hennessey.
It looked like we were going to be denied and that was as close as we were going to go, with Martin Atkinson blowing for full time.
A frustrating ninety for players, manager and fans, but what did we learn from events on the pitch?
Laca Return Is Huge
The Frenchman was involved everywhere and in all of our best moves. His clever passing and expert positioning is going to be so useful for us when breaking down teams. This time we didn’t get the points, but Laca will win many through his influence.
Guendouzi The Catalyst
The crazy-haired youngster continues to amaze, and he was galvanising those around him with his constant effort, his lung-bursting runs, his defending and his passing. We are very lucky to have him but if we don’t start achieving things, then we won’t have him for long.
Failure To See Out the Game Hints At Weakness
Two goals up, at home, to a side known for counter-attacking. That should be points in the bag. The fact we let them back in, when that meant they had to adapt and not be able to play to their strengths? It’s a tactical faux pas and shows we are unable to handle games changing. This was a huger error.
Our next fixture is the Caraboa Cup tie at Anfield versus Liverpool, followed by a Premier League tie against Wolves at The Emirates on Saturday.