Crystal Palace extended their unbeaten run to three games in the Premier League after securing a draw against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.
It could have been even better for the Eagles, though, as Patrick Vieira’s charges were just moments away from securing all three points before Alexandre Lacazette struck deep into injury time.
The Gunners started the game brightly and dominated the opening 20 minutes, deservedly taking the lead after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacted quickest to a Vicente Guaita save following Nicolas Pepe’s curling effort.
But Palace improved after a slow start and began to dominate possession against their north London rivals, although they struggled to create any real chances in the first half.
However, that soon changed following the interval. Christian Benteke continued his good record in games against Arsenal with a well-taken equaliser, smashing the ball into the corner of Aaron Ramsdale’s net after Jordan Ayew robbed Thomas Partey of possession.
The visitors once again stole the ball off their hosts to take the lead, with Conor Gallagher dispossessing Albert Sambi Lokonga in his own half before executed a perfect counter-attack, resulting in Odsonne Edouard hammering in a shot via the underside of the bar.
It was an impressive performance from Vieira’s charges despite Lacazette’s late equaliser, and there was a surprise star of the show leading the line for the capital club.
As per SofaScore, Benteke was awarded a match rating of 7.6 out of 10 for his efforts, the highest total received by any player on the pitch. And when taking a closer look at his underlying numbers, it’s easy to understand why.
The Belgium international struck the target with both of his shots during the 90 minutes, successfully completed both of his dribbles and won eight of his ten duels (80%), highlighting his effective and efficient performance at the top end of the pitch.
He bullied the Arsenal defence with his monstrous presence and not for the first time, beat the goalkeeper at the Emirates Stadium.
Benteke hadn’t found the back of the net all season until Monday night, but his expertly taken strike will fill him with confidence in the weeks ahead and provide Vieira with another viable source of goals.