Crystal Palace – Arsenal: Palace fight back to salvage a more than deserved point (2-2)

Eleven games, eleven wins. Things seem perfect for Arsenal right now under Unai Emery, right? Well, not quite as much as you’d think, if you watched them play during that run. Against Roy Hodgson’s free-flowing Palace, this local derby at Selhurst Park epitomized Arsenal’s continued struggles in their buildup play and how Emery is still failing to truly reap the rewards of such a star-studded attacking force.

Tactical analysis by Peter M. 


The Palace boss made just one change to his lineup following last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park. Jordan Ayew made his way into the team for Jeffrey Schlupp, as Wilfried Zaha was pushed back to left wing.

For Arsenal, this was their third game in seven days. It saw six changes compared to the starting eleven that faced Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, with Lacazette and Aubameyang starting together for the first time since Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Watford almost a month ago. Midfielder Granit Xhaka was still in the left back position due to the continued absences of Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolašinac.

Crystal Palace's positioning when they were in possession. Arsenal formed a 4-4-1-1.

Zaha’s altered presence playing from the wing

Hodgson’s key tactical tweak against Arsenal was moving Zaha to the outer left wing. By having him remain wide, Zaha could cause more problems for Arsenal, because the away side had to commit more men towards him to provide cover for Héctor Bellerín in one-versus-one situations. Zaha’s presence off the back of the Spaniard never allowed the fullback a . . .

Get access to this article and all other quality content of Between the Posts!

Completely ad-free exclusive articles from our expert tactics writers, plus an advanced stats page to explore.

Membership Plans

Already a member? Log in

Peter (20), lives just outside of London. He’s been writing about tactics and such for over a year now, contributing to a couple of sites during that time. His main club is Arsenal but he’s also followed Real Betis quite heavily since Quique Setién took over last year. This form of writing has become a great passion of his and, although he’s unsure of what his end aim is, he’s enjoying being given new opportunities to continue doing so. [ View all posts ]


Go to TOP