90min
Opinion

Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners keep European hopes alive

Max Parsons
Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring
Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring / Pool/Getty Images
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A brace from Nicolas Pepe and a Gabriel Martinelli goal ruined Roy Hodgson's farewell party at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night, as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners at Crystal Palace.

The visitors managed to break the deadlock with their first clear-cut chance of the match after 36 minutes. Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney combined beautifully down the left, before the Scotsman whipped in a cross to the penalty spot where Nicolas Pepe was waiting to clinically volley past a despairing Vicente Guaita.

Hodgson's side got themselves back on level term just after the hour mark, however, when Christian Benteke stooped low to head home from Andros Townsend's free kick.

Both teams had opportunities to snatch a winner but it was Arsenal that found one in dramatic fashion. Seconds after Palace were appealing for a penalty, Matin Odegaard found himself on the ball at the other end of the pitch and curled in a delicious cross for Martinelli to just about control and tap in. Pepe then secured his brace in the final minute to make sure of the three points, curling past Guaita brilliantly after surging into the box.

The win gives Arsenal a slim hope of European qualification, as they sit just one point behind Tottenham in sixth leading into the final match of the season. Now, let's see how the players rated.


CRYSTAL PALACE PLAYER RATINGS

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Vicente Guaita (GK) - 6/10 - Had a decent outing but couldn't do anything about any of the Arsenal goals.

Joel Ward (RB) - 6/10 - Did fairly well to stifle Arsenal early on standing firm against the likes of Tierney and Saka, but was simply outplayed in the build up to the opener.

James Tomkins (CB) - 6/10 - Was impressively bright and aware given his lack of football this campaign and was alert enough to make six clearances.

Gary Cahill (CB) - 6/10 - Stayed composed to read the game well and position himself cleverly, making eight interventions and winning two aerial battles.

Tyrick Mitchell (LB) - 6/10 - Good in one-on-one situations, often shepherding his winger away from the danger area. But was sometimes isolated when Wilfried Zaha didn't track back.

2. Midfielders

James McCarthy (DM) - 5/10 - Put in some tough tackles but struggled to contain Arsenal's forward players, leaving a lot of space in and around the box.

Cheikhou Kouyate (CM) - 6/10 - Broke play up well to stifle promising moves at times but struggled to break out with possession, failing to really get his side going.

Jeff Schlupp (CM) - 5/10 - Made some decent runs beyond the front three but, apart from a decent half volley in the first half, couldn't replicate Ebere Eze's attacking thrust.

3. Forwards

Andros Townsend (RW) - 7/10 - Worked very hard to track back and support his full-back while delivering well from set pieces too, claiming a good assist for Benteke's goal - one of four key passes he made throughout.

Christian Benteke (ST) - 8/10 - Held the ball up fantastically well and managed to bring colleagues into play around some dangerous areas. Was a threat throughout and eventually found the net with a good header to level the score after 62 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha (LW) - 5/10 - A willing runner when Palace looked to get up the pitch but was rarely able to get the better of his opposition, finding himself out-muscled for the most part.

4. Substitutes

Jordan Ayew (ST) - 6/10

Jairo Riedewald (DM) - N/A


ARSENAL PLAYER RATINGS

5. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Bernd Leno
Bernd Leno was strong throughout / Pool/Getty Images

Bernd Leno (GK) - 7/10 - Made some key saves and looked confident in everything he did. Unfortunately was left with little chance to deal with the equalising goal.

Calum Chambers (RB) - 7/10 - Made a positive impact when going forward, delivering some real quality and had a solid game at the back with six ball recoveries.

Rob Holding (CB) - 7/10 - Did reasonably well up against Benteke, often containing him to half chances in the air, while showing good awareness to make five interventions.

Gabriel (CB) - 6/10 - Provided good cover when the hosts aimed to surge forward, registering five clearances but was completely bullied by Benteke for Palace's equaliser.

Kieran Tierney (LB) - 7/10 - Played the role of pantomime villain after a little coming together with Ward early on, but did well throughout. Stayed resolute at the back and provided a good assist to make it 1-0.

6. Midfielders

Emile Smith Rowe, Wilfried Zaha
Emile Smith Rowe was a real danger / Pool/Getty Images

Thomas Partey (CM) - 6/10 - Was a solid screen to the back four, often nipping in at vital moments. Also distributed the ball to good effect, always searching for the forward pass rather than the simple option.

Mohamed Elneny (CM) - 5/10 - Played a couple of decent balls over the top to forward runners but, in general, was a little lacklustre and sideways-thinking.

Emile Smith Rowe (AM) - 7/10 - Floated around nicely and constantly found himself in pockets of space - either centrally or on the wings. An intelligent performance allowing him to inject a spark and influence proceedings.

7. Forwards

Nicolas Pepe (RW) - 9/10 - Was bright from the get go, often drifting infield and looking to penetrate through Palace's lines. Finished well twice to grab a crucial brace and give the Gunners three points.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) - 4/10 - Struggled to get into the game, couldn't link up with those around him at all and never looked like troubling Guaita.

Bukayo Saka (LW) - 6/10 - Played a crucial part in the opening goal with a sumptuous back heel, but that was as dangerous and impactful as he got.

8. Substitutes

Martin Odegaard (AM) - 7/10 - Delivered a lovely cross to put it on a plate for Martinelli.

Gabriel Martinelli (LW) - 7/10 - Came up with the decisive moment, scrambling the ball over the line to give his side a pivotal win.

Granit Xhaka (LB) - N/A


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