Arsenal ended the weekend fourth in the Premier League standings after they were held to a 1-1 derby draw by Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
- Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 1
- Gunners dominant throughout
- Sanchez gives hosts HT lead
- Hennessey keeps Eagles in contest
- Bolasie scores late equaliser
Arsene Wenger’s side dominated from start to finish but only had one goal to show for their efforts heading into the closing stages of the match. Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time with a header from Danny Welbeck’s cross.
But Yannick Bolasie would make them pay for their wastefulness on 82 minutes when he fired home from 22 yards out to earn the south Londoners an unlikely share of the spoils and take them nine points clear of the relegation zone in 16th place.
The Gunners failed to overtake Manchester City, who moved above them after beating Chelsea 3-0 on Saturday.
The hosts were quickly into their stride and probed for an early opener but it was Alan Pardew’s men that created the first clear-cut chance on 19 minutes when Scott Dann headed a cross from Pape Souare well over the crossbar from 10 yards out.
Moments later the Gunners went close as Alex Iwobi cut inside and picked out Mohamed Elneny, who saw his shot from long range take a deflection and loop over the goal.
The visitors would threaten next on 28 minutes when Bolasie beat his marker on the left with his silky skills before curling an effort towards the far post from the edge of the area, but Petr Cech was equal to the task.
The north Londoners looked to respond and Nacho Monreal sent in a dangerous cross that evaded both Welbeck and Sanchez on 33 minutes, before Laurent Koscielny flashed a header wide at the near post from Mesut Ozil’s corner three minutes later.
Sanchez went within inches of breaking the deadlock from a free-kick on 40 minutes that curled just wide of the far post and the Chilean then set up Ozil moments later, but the German’s close-range shot was well saved by Wayne Hennessey.
But the visiting goalkeeper was beaten shortly afterwards and it was Sanchez who got the opener as he sent a looping header over Hennessey from Welbeck’s clipped cross to give the Gunners the lead at the break.
The home team started the second half brightly as Iwobi headed wide from six yards out after being picked out by Francis Coquelin’s cross on 52 minutes, before Welbeck was set up by a clever backheel from the Nigerian, but his shot from a narrow angle on the left was stopped by Hennessey.
Ozil went within a whisker of extending Arsenal’s lead on 58 minutes with a curling long-range effort from the right that just failed to find the top corner of the goal, while Welbeck was presented with a shooting opportunity nine minutes later when the German’s free-kick was deflected into his path, but Hennessey made a fine save.
The Gunners were piling on the pressure and Sanchez was set up by Ozil on two occasions in quick succession, but the end result was the same as he headed wide at the back post both times.
Cech was finally called into action on 76 minutes as he expertly tipped over Bakary Sako’s close-range header from Yohan Cabaye’s cross, while back up at the other end Olivier Giroud tested Hennessey before Sanchez dragged a shot wide.
But for all their dominance, Arsenal were hit by a sucker-punch on 82 minutes as Bolasie received the ball a few yards outside the area and drilled his shot past Cech to level the scores.
Gabriel had a chance to secure victory at the death from Ozil’s free-kick, but the Brazilian was unable to beat Hennessey with his header from 12 yards out on 88 minutes.