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Crystal Palace vs Arsenal 23/24

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well!

On Monday 21st August 2023, Crystal Palace hosted Arsenal at Selhurst Park for the first match of the 23/24 Premier League season. Oddly enough the same fixture as our first home game last season, though we hoped for a better outcome this time out.

In their season opener last week Palace came away with the three points winning 1-0 away to Sheffield United thanks to an Odsonne Édouard strike. During the summer so far they had only made two signings Jefferson Lerma and Matheus Franca – and of course Michael Olise signing a new four year deal! – with the latter of the two unavailable only Lerma was included during preseason and the previous league game. Palace would have been hoping to use the momentum from last week as well as a fresh side to overcome their opponents.

This week’s visitors were Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. The gunners spent most of last season contending for the Premier League title, but after falling at the last hurdle they would be hoping to be contenders once again and knock Manchester City off the top. Much like Palace, Arsenal won their opening game away to Nottingham Forest 2-1 so would be coming into the game with momentum – though the conceded goal could give Palace some confidence.

Back for another season Roy Hodgson named the same side he put out against Sheffield United including new signing Lerma, along with new captain Joel Ward and Academy products Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and John-Kymani Gordon on the bench.

Despite their effort Crystal Palace failed to come back against a 10-man Arsenal in their opening home match losing 1-0 to a Martin Ødegaard penalty.

85 days on from their last Premier League match Crystal Palace stepped out onto the Selhurst park pitch surrounded by noise from the Palace faithful’s in their latest red and blue strip kit, along with their visitors Arsenal.

After an impressive campaign last year, it was the visitors who started the brighter. Newly named Captain Joel Ward had to close down an early shooting chance after Gabriel Martinelli’s tricky feet got him into a good position.

Urged on by their home support, Jordan Ayew took on Takehiro Tomiyasu down the wing ending with his cross into the box being punched clear by Aaron Ramsdale.

Both Cheick Doucoure and Ebere Eze tried their luck from range, with the latter testing the Arsenal keepers reflexes but was still a comfortable save.

In an end to end period of the game Arsenal’s striker Eddie Nketiah escaped Palace’s backline, being put off by the recovering effort of Joachim Andersen the number 14’s effort rattled the far post.

The pressure didn’t stop there for the home side with the young striker again getting the better of the Eagle’s defence after being put through by Declan Rice and almost chipped Sam Johnstone in goal but his effort went just over the bar.

Just before halftime Arsenal captain Martin Ødegaard forced a good save over the bar from the man between the sticks in the fresh purple kit.

Arsenal emerged from the break with a notable increase in intensity winning multiple set pieces, one of which found their breakthrough. Bukayo Saka played through Nketiah, who after a lapse of judgement from Johnstone was bought down. Ødegaard stepped up and converted the subsequent penalty.

Arsenal’s momentum was disrupted with the dismissal of Tomiyasu who received a second yellow card after pulling Ayew back. His first card was awarded for delaying a throw on, and with this seasons huge increase in cards being given it’s no surprise he was sent off.

This allowed Palace to take control of the game applying lots of pressure on their visitors, but with no fault of their effort, scoring opportunities lacked. Eze made a good case for a penalty after dancing past Rice and Thomas Partey, though both the referee and VAR weren’t interested.

The last chance of the game fell to Tyrick Mitchell to strike, but the young defenders effort flew over the bar seeing the game end 1-0 to Arsenal.

Despite the result I don’t think Palace played bad, to come away with a narrow defeat caused by a penalty against last season’s title contenders isn’t something to be annoyed by. It was very frustrating that they had so much of the ball in the second, but just couldn’t find the back of the net – again highlighting the need for a striker! Overall I was impressed with their attitude and intensity, especially from Jordan Ayew who didn’t stop running and ultimately earned the red card. With a striker introduced we could be looking at some good results coming up!

Both Palace’s and my next game is away to Brentford on Saturday 26th of August, so look out for that post.

Thank you for reading!

Ellie Xx


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