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October 22 2020 6.55am

VAR voom…and a Palace point

October 29 2019

Penalty ace Luka: scored an important goal from the spot against the Gunners.

Penalty ace Luka: scored an important goal from the spot against the Gunners.

Another match and another big name (Oct 27). The Eagles visited Arsenal - Jamesey watched on screen while Wilf King headed for the Emirates Stadium where a 2-2 draw was the outcome.

Mix-up, mutiny and mayhem were the order of the day, writes Jamesey.

It was inevitable that two VAR decisions and the astonishing act of Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka would be the talking points after this extraordinary game.

After a somewhat tame home 0-2 defeat against Manchester City (Oct 19), this supporter was anxious to see how the team would shape up to another big name club, this time away?

The answer was - shockingly. To be two goals down after 9 minutes, both after set pieces and scored by Gunners defenders, was very worrying indeed.

Only a crucial save by Wayne Hennessey from a flick by Alexandre Lacazette prevented a third going in after 12 minutes.

Thankfully the Eagles steadied the ship after that and half an hour later came the first controversial moment. Who else but WILFRIED ZAHA skipped into the Arsenal area and was clearly tripped by defender Calum Chambers.

Unbelievably the referee Martin Atkinson refused what was a clear-cut penalty and yellow-carded Wilf as well. Thanks to VAR, the decision was reversed, Justice was done after Luka Milivojevic banged in the spot kick as he usually does.

2-1 at half-time didn’t seem a such a mountain to climb and a few minutes into the second period Jordan Ayew headed in a Palace equaliser, a true striker’s effort.

Now Palace were looking far more self-assured and the Gunners were rattled after allowing a two-goal lead to be nibbled away.

Second talking point came when Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka was subbed.

The crowd were booing their own man and as he walked towards the tunnel he furiously ripped off his shirt - not a smart thing to do in front of baying home support.

An exciting game came to a conclusion with yet another big controversy.

It looked as though the Eagles had managed to hold out for a draw when in the dying moments Sokratis banged one in from another corner but to the delight of the Palace support and fury of the home fans, VAR disallowed the goal after a foul on Milivojevic was spotted in the middle of the mad melee.

So thanks to two VAR interventions, the first one absolutely right and the second a little dubious to say the least, the Eagles travelled home with a point.

The Arsenal must really hate playing Crystal Palace…

I could not have anticipated that this match would be so full of incidents and certainly not when the Gunners went 2-0 up after only nine minutes, writes Wilf King.

Two quick goals from corners and the afternoon looked bleak. It often takes the Eagles 15/20 minutes to settle into games but our defence was all over the place. A guy behind me said “we only need a goal and it would be game on”.

Palace started to move the ball around and then WILFRIED ZAHA was tripped in the Arsenal box. WHAT? Martin Atkinson gave him a yellow card for diving!! It’s not going to be our day but hold on - VAR. Penalty awarded and ZAHA’s card overturned.

No doubt as to the outcome when Luka Milivojevic stepped up 2-1. Now the game was on. Half-time came and there was optimism in the Clock end.

Palace dominated the start of the second half and played with a freedom evident at the end of the first half. A beautiful move with James McArthur tormenting the arsenal defence, cross to Jordan Ayew, 2-2.

Mayhem amongst Palace fans. The VAR song was belted out.

The next 40 minutes was the best football from both sides I have seen all season. Chances came and went but disappointment when Arsenal scored a third goal with five minutes to go.

But hold on again - VAR. Goal disallowed! Unbridled joy amongst the Palace fans.

There was still more to come when Hennessey made a point blank save to earn us a point (I have to add here that in the first half Wayne made an outstanding save from Lacazette to keep the score at 2-0).

I hope the Palace fan at the break who was criticising Hennessey’s performance choked on his words!! VAR is being kind to us.

A truly memorable match and a splendid result which keeps Crystal Palace in 6th spot.

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