Crystal Palace will be delighted to have secured a point against an in-form Arsenal side this weekend, as a late Luka Milivojevic penalty earned the Eagles a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park. Both of Palace’s goals came via the Serbian midfielder from the spot and marked Palace’s first strikes at home in the Premier League this season.
Despite their recent poor form, especially at home, Palace played with great confidence and attacking intent and perhaps even deserved to win the game on the balance of play. As well as Milivojevic, the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Cheikhou Kouyate also turned in impressive performances. However, it was the display of young full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka that really stood out.
The 20-year-old broke into the first team last season and has been a mainstay in Roy Hodgson’s side this time around. The pacy right-back still has a lot to learn and there are aspects of his game he must develop, but against Arsenal this weekend he produced an almost complete performance.
In a defensive sense, the England under-21 international dealt very well with the threats posed by the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck. Against Unai Emery’s men, Wan-Bissaka made six tackles and four interceptions – more than any other player on the pitch in both categories. He also blocked one shot and made one clearance.
The defender also posed a threat to the Gunners’ own rearguard. The explosive wide man was fearless going forwards and completed five successful dribbles – more than twice as many as any other player on the pitch.
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The one drawback to Wan-Bissaka’s game was his profligacy with possession. His pass accuracy rating of just 50% is a huge problem that Hodgson must address. Such carelessness on the ball, at the top level, will see Wan-Bissaka often play his own team into trouble.
On top of his wayward distribution, Wan-Bissaka was forced off the ball all too easily. He was dispossessed twice by Arsenal players, and performed three unsuccessful touches in the match.
If the young Palace academy product can become more reliable and secure in possession, then he has the capacity to become a wonderful all round full-back. As he demonstrated against the Gunners he is nearly there, but is not the finished article quite yet.