Full-time - 90'
1 - 1
17:15 +00:00, November 6, 2004
Selhurst Park , England
Referee: M Dean
Not a bit of it. the goal prompted a ten minute spell when Palace equalised and could, or indeed should, have taken the lead. After that it was a terrific game which could have gone either way but credit to Palace for some blood and guts defending. Points shared was a fair result and Arsenal's troubles continue; the Eagles, though 13 places below the Gunners, are soaring.
Crystal Palace set their stall out to defend first and then try and spring something and, to an extent, it worked. Arsenal struggled to break them down but when they finally did it looked like they would easy home from there.
And then comes the only whistle that counts. referee Mike Dean brings to an end a cracking game of football with the scores level. 1-1 the final score.
Whistles raining down from stands in (nearly) every part of the ground now.
Scrappy stuff now in the middle of the pitch as the Palace players hassle and haryy their opponents desperately trying to preserve what would be a hard won point.
Palace punt a ball into the crowd and they don't give it back. Arsene Wenger is required to dig out the second match ball and punt it onto the pitch. His urgency in doing so betrays his fustrations.
Dangerous looking cross from Reyes just eludes Henry but not Popovic who heads well clear.
How many times? Flamini, with time, tries to thread a delicate ball through the Palace defence. Fat chance when there are ten men in and around the box.
Slip by Cole allows johnson to break clear of the Arsenal defence on the right. Freedman is unmarked in the centre but a glorious chance goes begging as first Freedman gets ahead of Johnson in an offside position and second Toure sticks out a leg to meet the ball before Freedman anyway.
Riihilahti, who has been a bundle of energy all afternoon, is wrongly penalised for a tackle on Vieira in the middle of the pitch.
First Vieira and then Reyes waste Arsenal ball around the Palace box simply due to running out of space.
Kakis rides his luck and a couple fo tackles deep in his own half before sending a fine ball forward for Johnson to chase. He had just one thing on his mind as he bore down on Toure from the right wing. Dropped a shoulder but Toure wasn't fooled and tackled him strongly.
Kiraly called into action again. A hopeful ball forward caused Popovic a few problems but he was bailed out by his keeper coming off his line smartly to take control.
Lofted angled ball up to Begkamp in space on the right corner of the box tempts him to hit a first time side footed swing at it. On target but no pace and easy for Kiraly.
Both sides make a change. for Arsenal it is Fabregas for Flamini; for Palace, Kolkka for Freedman.
Palace winning as much of the midfield battle as their opponents but they still take a touch too long to break forward due to sitting deep.
After a rather dour, workman like first half this game has burst into life and the final fifteen minutes promise to be compelling.
Van Persie turned away from the combined attentions of Riihilahti and Popovic to fire a blistering strike to the far corner of Kiraly's goal but the Palce stopper is alert and agile enough to fling himself to his right and make a fine one handed save.
Another opening carved out by Hughes and Watson puts Hughes into acres of space from which to measure a cross. Before anyone can get too excited the linesman's flag is raised.
great passing move involving Bergkamp and Henry sets up reyes for a snap shot from the corner of the box. Riihilahti perhaps did enough to put him off as he got under it too much and missed the target.
bergkamp's first contribution is to miscontrol on the right and allow a simple ball go out of play. The home crowd loved that.
Arsenal take action. Off go Pires and Ljungberg and on come the double Dutch; Bergkamp and Van Persie.
Goals change games and after Arsenal went ahead it has been Palaces game. An attacking verve has been dug out and this one really could go either way.
At the other end a 20 yard piledriver is well held by a diving Kiraly.
Still Palace come and, in truth, they should be in front by now. Johnson, revitalised by the change in the game, won the ball and span out to the right. From there he dinked in an inch perfect ball that dropped to the feet of Lakis, charging in at pace and all alone. From no more than 4 yards out a rush of blood meant he skied it. Really, really good chance gone begging.
And now it is all happening. Kolkka runs at a shell shocked and retreating Arsenal rearguard. Twisting and turning he finds room in front of goal 20 yards out and swings a leg but a desperate lung from Cygan just manages to get in the way.
Toure allowed himself to be muscled off the ball not far out of his own box. Jonson picked his pocket and fed Lakis on the right. His perfectly placed cross found Riihilahti 6 yards out after Tourse and Lauren had let him slip between them unchecked. He wasn't going to miss from there!
How? Heres how. They will go up the other end and level the scores in double quick time thanks to some charitable defendeing from the champions. 1-1
Their plan was working perfectly but now that they are behind just how will Palace react.
Fabregas and Ljungberg combined with some crisp passing on the right allowing the Swede to surge into the box and side foot a centre that took out three Palace men but found Henry, under pressure but with the simplest of tasks to score.
But what will happen now. finally Arsenal find a way through the conjestion as Henry scuffs it in from two yards out.
I don't mean to labout a point but as Arsenal attack now only Johnson is not behind the ball for Palace.
Corner for Arsenal is only cleared as far as Fabregas. His nod forward is helped on by Pires from close range but he couldn't keep it down. Came at him sharply but it was a better chance than I think he thought.
Riihilahti makes a superb interception in the middle before releasing Watson. He struggles to control a bouncing ball and Cygan is able to crowd him out. Encouraging for the home side.
Once more Arsenal reduced to pot shots from long range, Fabregas dragging a weak effort wide this time.
Palace indulge in a bit of 'matador football', a huge cheer greeting every successfully completed pass.
Arsenal looking to up the tempo but Palace continue to be resolute and the ocassional break forward reminds them they are in a game here.
Kiraly forced to save low to his right down by the post from a powerful angled shot from Reyes some 20 yards out. Decent enough stop but you would expect him to have made it.
Vieira has become a target of the Selhurst Park boo boys after winning a free-kick when Hughes looked to have timed it perfectly. A bit harsh on the Arsenal man who didn't dive - he just fell under the challenge.
Palace make another change and from Routledges expression it was forced by injury. He goes of and on comes Vassilis Lakis.
Leigertwood dribbles his way out of trouble from the right back position with what can only be described as a swagger.
Patient build up play from Arsenal allows Palace to pack the box again forcing Cole to shoot well high and wide.
Some meaty challenges flying around the centre of midfield and, as Arsenal start to loose their cool a bit, Palace will relish the battle.
Johnson was running into a blind alley and Cygans terrible foul was completely un-called for. He is rightly booked for his folly. The free-kick itself was wasted.
Watson pumps a long ball down the left for Jonson to chase. he has the legs on Cygan and perhaps it was envy of that encouraged the defender to scyth through the back of those pins to concede a free-kick out by the corner flag.
The game restarts with the sides unchanged.
As a consequence Palace have struggled to get men forward to support the tireless Johnson when they have had the ball but the trickery of Routledge on the right offers a route forward. Job half done then for the home side but if they do concede it would be very difficult for them to change tactics and chase a game. Interesting more than entertaining, this one.
It hasn't been pretty but Crystal Palace wont care a jot about that. They have packed the final third on the pitch and managed to snuff out Arsenal's wide players through effort and numbers. Arsenal have had most of the game but meet a brick wall once they get anywhere near the Palace goal.
Half comes to an end with the scores still at 0-0.
Once more Palace manage to channel Arsenal's wide men into the middle and traffic. Iain Dowie must be well pleased to see Ljungberg shooting wide from outside the area.
Riihilahti and Johnson continue to work hard with little to show for it - Johnson in particular seems willing to battle even when outnumbered.
Pires and Henry combine on the left to free up space. Henry fizzed a low cross along the six yard box and Ljungberg was inches away from connecting with it at the far post as he slid in. Best bitof Arsenal play for 15 minutes.
Pires finds it hard to find any space on the left and cuts inside, where there are even more Palace men. He does well to get a shot away but it carried no real threat.
Perhaps a worry for Arsenal as the ball is put out of play as Vieira is injured as a result of a badly timed and executed tackle from Leigertwood. I imagine the Arsenal skipper will remember that one for later.
Fabregas shoots from distance but a very, very crowded and compact defence renders his effort useless.
Toure is left alone in the middle of the pitch encouraging him to step forward and shoot low and hard across the goalkeeper. Kiraly seemed to take an age to get down and in the end just managed to turn a routine save around his far post.
Palace have been camped int he Arsenal half for the past few minutes with several chances to put crosses in but, whilst it is encouraging for the home team, they haven't really got anywhere with it.
Free-kick hits the first man and only produces a corner kick.
Routledge's belief and endeavour forces Cole into a foul on him and Palace have an opportunity to send over a dangerous ball.
Hughes free-kick from the centre circle eventually finds Routledge on the right and his jinking run yeilds a throw right by the corner flag to maintain home pressure.
For once Palace have numbers forward and a Watson centre is well cleared by Cygan when Johnson was lurking.
Very tight and competetive match that will suit Palace who have shown a sign they are capable of springing a counter attack or two.
Arsenal counter themselves and some tidy playin the box from Pires allows him to cut back to Reyes but Riihilahti gets his body in the way of the first time shot.
Palace regain possession though and come again. Another fine ball from Hughes, this time flighted to Johnson on the corner of the box nearly brings a chance. Cygan had dispossessed Johnson but then played a short back-pass to Lehmann who drove the ball straight at the striker. Flew across the goal rather than in but very shaky stuff from the champions.
Another great move from Palce. Pires was robbed int he Palace half before Hughes sprang away, checked and turned before threading a slide rule ball between three Arsenal defenders for Kolkka. Unfortunately for the home side Toure was the fourth defender and cut it out.
Arsenal certainly the better team but Palace are containing them well and Kiraly hasn't had a lot to do. Iain Dowie will be very content with this I think.
Palace worked a fine opening down the right until Riihilahti spoiled it with a poor threaded pass nowhere near the run of Johnson.
Boyce has moved from the right back position to cover the gap in the centre whilst Leigertwood drops to Boyce's previous role.
Sorondo can't carry on and he is replced by Mikele Leigertwood.
Henry showed great commitment to chas down Hughes and tackle him cleanly. The referee however thought different and gave a foul against him. Terrible decision.
Hold up in play whilst Sorondo is treated for a knock he picked up. He returns to the play but is still limping.
Riihilahti played into trouble by Watson but Fabregas, who latched on to him in a second, faield to meet a one two with Ljungberg that would have set him clear on goal.
No real pattern to the game other than Arsenal looking the more comfortable going forward with greater numbers with Palace working hard to contain them, and meeting the task.
Johnson is playing up on his own and so far hasn't had much to work with though he is causing a nuisance of himself.
Fabregas robbed Granville in the Palce half before releasing Henry down the right. With men waiting in the box Henry elected to shoot from an outrageous angle sending it well over the bar.
Palace pressing well, high up the field, forcing Lehmann to slice a hurried clearance, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Strange - and worrying for Palace - scene from the free-kick. All the Palace defenders ran out to play offside. All, that is, except Sorondo. So in went five Arsenal men with one defender. Luckily for Sorondo Vieira (who Sorondo was marking) headed over.
Cole shows his attacking intent by nutmegging Boyce in the Palace right back position but Boyce blocked his run for a free-kick.
Riihilahti, the man given the role of protecting his back for from the many threats of Arsenal, very harshly adjudged to have fouled Reyes when performing that task. Free-kick is wasted though which is just as well.
Fabregas this time slaloms into the box before letting fly a shot that was blocked well by Popovic.
After an even opening Arsenal starting to control possession.
The second effort follows quickly. Some intricate passing between Henry and Reyes when surrounded by a host of Palace defenders resulted in a snap shot from Henry that would have beaten Kiraly comfortably had it not gone inches wide of his post.
First shot the evening comes from reyes who is afforded a worrying amount of space in front of the central defenders. Well wide but a warning shot for the home team.
Cygan rides his luck a bit trying to nod the ball past Jonson and then run on to it when he was the last man. Fortunately for him Johnso is deemed to have fouled him.
Sorondo perhaps gives Henry a taste of what he is in for this evening with a sturdy, spikey sliding tackle to hoof the ball clear.
Good stuff from Palce. Great searchign diagonal ball finds Routledge who beats Cole with a turn Ronaldinho would have been proud of before sending over a fluffed cross.
Cygan shows composure on the ball, strides forward and then plays a weighted defence splitting pass to ... no one at all. Bah!
Palace concede possession cheaply in the middle but Reyes' ball forward is too long even for Henry to chase.
Palace kick off with the new 'high visibility' ball (excuse to flog more balls to kids ball, a cynic might say) on a gloomy South London evening.
Arsenal have to do without the services of Sol Campbell again - probably the main reason for the recent blip - and Pascal Cygan, unfairly criticised for his Champions League performances - will deputise. Dennis Begkamp is on the bench meaning Jose Antonio Reyes will partner Thierry Henry in attack.
Palace name an unchanged line-up bar the absence of totemic defender Fitz 'one size' Hall. Andy Johnson, the Premiership player of October will be looking to carry on his rich vien of form into November.
So Crystal Palace against Arsenal pits the form team of the Premiership against a club in crisis. Only a fortnight ago the tags would have been reversed but it is Palace, coming off the back of three successive wins, who are on a high and Arsenal, no wins in three, who are wobbling - it's tough at the top!
Join us for all the action as Arsenal seek to get back to winning ways when they take on Crystal Palace. 17.15 KO on Saturday.
Robin Van Persie
José Antonio Reyes
Robin Van Persie