Arsenal’s 11-game winning streak in all competitions came to an end this weekend with a draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The Eagles came into the match yet to score at home this season but two Luka Milivojevic penalties opened their account in front of their own fans and proved enough to earn a 2-2 draw against the in-form Gunners.
Unai Emery’s side certainly looked to be struggling with the effects of playing three games in the space of just six days, having faced Leicester City on Monday night before travelling to Portugal to meet Sporting in the Europa League. The clash with Palace on Sunday looked to be a game too far, especially considering that Emery had not rotated his squad especially heavily between fixtures.
One player who particularly failed to hit his recent heights against the Eagles was Alexandre Lacazette. Playing a central role, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again forced out to the wing, the Frenchman failed to spearhead his side’s attack with any potency, nor could he effectively hold up the ball in order to relieve the pressure building up on his team.
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In an attacking sense, the No. 9 was unable to muster more than a single shot on target, which sailed harmlessly wide. He also struggled to effectively bring his teammates into the game, managing just the one key pass.
In general, the 27-year-old’s distribution was poor. His pass accuracy rating of 72.4% was amongst the worst of the Arsenal starters. It was, in fact, Lacazette’s misplaced pass that launched the Palace counter attack that led to their second penalty and, ultimately, equalising goal. What’s more, he was dispossessed twice and committed four unsuccessful touches – no player on the pitch was guilty of more.
However, defensively, Lacazette put a real shift in for his side, making four tackles and one interception as he excelled in closing down and harrying the Palace backline. In the full context of his position, though, the 16-cap France international’s defensive efforts were by no means enough to justify him being deployed through the middle ahead of Aubameyang.