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Crystal Palace v Arsenal Live Commentary, 19/05/2021

1 - 3
C. Benteke (62)
N. Pépé (35)
Gabriel Martinelli (90+1)
N. Pépé (90+5)
Selhurst Park


But it is both sides who have a part to play in the race now. Arsenal must still hope for destiny to go their way - wins for Spurs, Everton and West Ham sink them either way - but they face Brighton in a must-win clash. As for Palace? Why, Roy Hodgson returns to Liverpool, home of an ill-fated spell, with the chance to deny them Champions League football. Until then however, thank you for joining us - and have a great week!
But Mikel Arteta has a grin on his face as he exits stage left. Part of his side's prospects will depend on how West Ham - trailing against West Brom - go tonight, but either way, they will be a point behind Tottenham, who must play Leicester, and Everton, who must play Manchester City, heading into Sunday.
Roy Hodgson is tearing up as he walks down the sidelines and applauds the fans. It is a standing ovation for the veteran manager once again, if not the finish on this ground that he would have wanted. He looks set to head down the tunnel, before he's called back - the crowd won't let him go quietly without signing his name one more time.
There is no fantasy farewell for Roy Hodgson from the home of his boyhood club, as Arsenal tee up a last-day shootout for Europe with victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Selhurst Park. A Nicolas Pepe double has opened up a pathway to continental football that seemed all but gone at the turn of the near year - and the Gunners sit on the cusp of a remarkable turnaround. At full-time, it has finished Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal.
N. Pépé
90' + 5' GOAL! NICOLAS PEPE GETS A DOUBLE TO SEAL THE DEAL FOR ARSENAL! 3-1! The Ivory Coast international darts in between two defenders and slips a low finish in at the left post. That does it. Arsenal win at Selhurst Park to ruin Roy Hodgson's day.
90' + 3' Silence reigns around Selhurst Park, like a balloon popped by a pin. It is heartbreaking stuff for Crystal Palace; they looked to be on the cusp of sending away Roy Hodgson on a high note. The former England manager looks thoroughly cheesed off.
M. Ødegaard
90' + 1' Mikel Arteta's changes look to have been inspired. Arsenal seemed on the ropes only a few minutes ago, but now they are primed to get four wins on the bounce for the first time under the Spaniard - and more importantly, put themselves back in the thick of the European race.
Gabriel Martinelli
90' + 1' GOAL! GABRIEL MARTINELLI HAS RESCUED ARSENAL! 2-1! Palace's hearts are broken! It's Martin Odegaard who holds up the ball and cuts the cross in towards the far post, where his fellow substitute brings it down, somehow edges it around Guaita and bundles home. Roy Hodgson's farewell is surely ruined.
90' There will be four added minutes at Selhurst Park. Is that enough time for any side to find a winner?
88' Guaita is alert to the low cross sprayed across his box and snaffles it before any Arsenal player can bounce. At the last, the visitors have roared back into this one.
86' On the back of a pair of promising corners for the hosts, Townsend then curls a low effort in that almost beats Leno. In other news, West Ham have conceded against West Brom, to go behind, crafting further jeopardy in this European race.
84' Ayew! A point-blank header from the substitute, assisted by Tomkins, is disappointingly poor, underpowered as Leno snaps it up. Arsenal break, finally dangerous again, and Aubameyang flashes an effort around the wrong side of the left post.
J. Riedewald
J. McCarthy
Crystal Palace
82' McCarthy has bowed out for Palace now and Jairo Riedewald is the next man on in this game for Palace.
81' Arsenal really have looked a little bit bereft of creative spark up front this half, as if they have been spooked by the magnitude of the task at hand. They have allowed Palace firmly back into this contest - and they've got under a quarter-hour to turn that around.
J. Ayew
C. Benteke
Crystal Palace
79' Now Jordan Ayew arrives for Palace, replacing Benteke - and the goalscorer gets a standing ovation from the Selhurst Park faithful as he exits.
Gabriel Martinelli
T. Partey
78' Gabriel Martinelli is also on for the Gunners, with Partey the man to make way.
G. Xhaka
K. Tierney
78' Granit Xhaka replaces Tierney now, after a fine showing for the Scotsman. The Switzerland captain takes his place.
77' Since the start of the 2003-04 season, only once have Arsenal failed to muster a single attempt on goal in the second half of a PL game (vs Man City in February 2019).
75' Zaha! The former England man is surely going to be in demand this summer again and he shows why now with a silky collection and shot, deflected at close-range as two defenders press down upon him. Top-drawer stuff.
74' Roy Hodgson, settled in his dugout, looks contemplative, as his staff cycle through various formations. Jordan Ayew looks primed to enter shortly.
72' There's movement on the sidelines from both sides now. As this game settles into its final quarter, it will be interesting to see who makes it on. Remember, Arsenal's chances of European qualification are very thin with a draw.
70' It is almost a double for Benteke now! The turnaround in form for him has been something to behold this year, and he brings down a towering cross and almost smothers an effort past Leno at the left post now.
69' This is the first time Benteke has reached double figures for PL goals since 2016-17 (15).
67' The energy levels are through the roof here. Zaha sees a penalty call waved away for a soft stumble, but Palace continue to push with intent. This is gripping stuff.
M. Ødegaard
B. Saka
65' Martin Odegaard replaces Saka in the first change of the game - but is that a technical choice or something else? The latter has arguably been one of Arsenal's best players so far. If he is injured, plenty of people will be sweating on his fitness.
64' There's only one man who did not have their temperature rise there and his name is Roy Hodgson. Cool as ice, the Palace boss, as his side put themselves right back into this contest.
A. Townsend
Crystal Palace
62' Townsend slips a great ball in there, and a nervy wait for VAR to decide on a possible offside turns the ground into a pin-drop arena. It stands though and that is a huge, huge blow to the Gunners.
C. Benteke
Crystal Palace
62' GOAL! CHRISTIAN BENTEKE LEVELS FOR CRYSTAL PALACE! 1-1! A foul on Zaha by Partey just on the Eagles' left flank hands Townsend a free-kick chance. As Nicolas Pepe hobbles to the side from an earlier knock, the ball is speared in - and the Belgian beats out everyone to land a fantastic low header past Leno. Selhurst Park erupts!
60' Arsenal are nearly caught out with a dangerous cross but it is ruled that it had already crossed over the sidelines and out for a goal-kick. The Gunners' choice to play out from the back almost undid them there.
58' Referee Anthony Taylor is having to try quite hard to keep composure here with a roaring crowd and a few scrappy challenges here. But the atmosphere is an electric carnival, even at reduced capacity. There's blood pumping all around Selhurst Park.
56' Arsenal remain unbeaten in their last 19 PL games when leading at half time (W16 D3), since a 1-2 defeat to Chelsea in December 2019, winning each of their last 12 such matches.
54' The set-piece is well defended by Palace - they appear to have been well-drilled on the Gunners' formation at these situations so far - and though Arsenal come again, stretching the limits of the Eagles' backline, they bulge rather than break.
52' Back in stadiums for the first time in what feels like an age, Palace's fans are still in fine voice. They're being muzzled by Arsenal's swift counter-moves however, and Chambers and Smith Rowe cause some chaos that Ward has to steer away for a corner.
50' It would be all too easy to get knotted up in overcomplicated scenarios, but Arsenal will know that Tottenham - their greatest rival - will have to take a win against a Leicester side fighting for Champions League football to assure themselves of European football next term. The door is wide open.
48' It's magic hour skies over London right now and the early pressure is coming from Palace. They feel a little more lively already, which is saying something. Arsenal are effective at playing out from the back right now though.
46' We're back underway for the second half at Selhurst Park. Arsenal have not surrendered a Premier League win when leading at the break this term. Roy Hodgson won't want to bow out from here with a loss against his name. This is a huge half of football for both sides.
As it stands, the Gunners are not only ruining what could well be a septuagenarian's retirement party, but they are firmly in the hunt for Europe here. Tottenham's loss today - and Everton's win - means that victory will see the Gunners sit just a point behind the pair and West Ham, placed sixth through eighth, going into the final weekend (though the Hammers still are to play today). Draw, and their chances are effectively over, particularly if David Moyes' men beat West Brom.
Nicolas Pepe's cushioned volley is the difference at Selhurst Park, as Arsenal lead in the Premier League to keep their European prospects alive - and to threaten to puncture Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace farewell. The hosts won't lie down here on this occasion however; this one hangs nicely in the balance. At half-time, it is Crystal Palace 0-1 Arsenal.
45' + 3' Townsend teases a good delivery in but Benteke - called up for Belgium this week - is just a little bit behind it, and cannot bring it back in.
45' + 2' A late free-kick comes Palace's way after Saka nudges Townsend near the neck in an airborne challenge. At 30 or so yards, it's surely too far for a solo strike.
45' There will be three minutes of added time in this first half.
43' Mikel Arteta is gesticulating at his side, trying to get them to keep the pressure up. This Palace side, wounded as they are, aren't going to roll over on this night of all nights.
41' Crystal Palace have won just two of their last 30 PL games when conceding the first goal (D5 L23), although they did win their last such game, beating Aston Villa 3-2.
39' With Tottenham trailing against Aston Villa - Spurs' once-promising season truly has come off the rails this term - Arsenal are in the driving seat to stay in the hunt for Europe right now. It's likely to be only the Europa Conference League, of course, but Europe is Europe!
Mohamed Elneny
Yellow Card
37' Elneny too is shown a yellow card for his part in the incident. Anthony Taylor will want it all to calm down out there.
C. Benteke
Yellow Card
Crystal Palace
37' A clash between Benteke and Elneny sparks tempers now as we get back underway, and the former is booked for his part in a scuffle that sees plenty of players muscle up against each other.
K. Tierney
35' Tierney gets the assist for that ball, but Saka deserves the plaudits for that touch. You can see why he's expected to be at Euro 2020. Arsenal have come to rain on Roy Hodgson's parade.
N. Pépé
35' GOAL! NICOLAS PEPE HANDS ARSENAL THE LEAD! 1-0! It is a great move from the Gunners, Saka setting up a back-heel for Tierney on the left edge, before the Scotsman sees his cross volleyed in at close-range. A huge boost to the visitors and a blow for the hosts.
34' Arsenal are unbeaten in their last six Premier League London derbies (W3 D3). The Gunners last had a longer such run between March 2016 – January 2017 (7 games), the seventh game of which was a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
32' It's raining chances all of a sudden at Selhurst Park! Saka is caught offside on a run that sees him trip over Vicente Guaita in the box, before Leno is called upon to tap away a ripper of a low finish from Schlupp.
30' Christian Benteke! That is the clearest chance of the game for the hosts, as Arsenal's centre-back pairing switches off and the forward flashes a close-range header just over the crossbar. The fans behind thought it was in there.
28' The latest set-piece is pinged away, but Arsenal will have yet another after Joel Ward pushes a ball headed towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out at the right. Again, the Eagles are up to the task of defending it.
26' Another Arsenal corner now - the Gunners are turning the screw in their final third - and Palace's fans are growing a little restless. They've been far from outclassed however across this opening act.
24' An Arsenal corner comes to a second set-piece when is then casually defused by the hosts. Bukayo Saka - likely to be a lock for Gareth Southgate's England squad at Euro 2020, for many - is looking vibrant so far.
22' Tomkins! That's a close header as Palace pop up with a corner, the defender's effort steered towards the near-left post before Leno seizes upon it.
20' Roy Hodgson - who let us not forget has offered some wonderful facial expressions in that dugout over the years - is more pensive than expected so far, watching intently. There are no goals to show in this encounter right now.
18' Gabriel wins the header and though Schlupp comes very close to firing in a follow-up, Thomas Partey does a top job in taking the ball away before he can pull the trigger on his strike.
17' Holding trims down Andros Townsend now on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area following a decent break by the Eagles however, and a set-piece chance presents itself for the hosts.
15' Arsenal have lost just one of their last 15 away league games against Crystal Palace (W7 D7), going down 3-0 in April 2017.
13' The swing of the pendulum feels like it is drifting more in Arsenal's favour so far, but this is early doors. Palace have no shortage of good players, but they are missing Eze in the middle of the park today already.
11' What on earth has Joel Ward done there? The Palace man beats out Tierney in a foot race for the ball and then appears to kick the Arsenal man. It's a light touch, and the Gunners player goes down with theatrics. There is no action in the end, but that's a close call.
9' Arsenal have played in European competition across the past 25 seasons, but if they lose here - and Palace will want to ensure their manager has a fine farewell to home turf today - then they are out of the running. There is a lot riding on this one.
7' Wilfried Zaha has a neat run at the Arsenal defence now and wins a corner off Rob Holding - and though the initial delivery is too long to cause danger, the return effort is just nudged past the near-post by Gary Cahill.
J. Schlupp
Yellow Card
Crystal Palace
5' Jeffrey Schlupp might have just ridden his luck a little bit there, after dragging his studs over Chambers with a challenge. It's a near-red - and indeed, is reviewed briefly - but the Palace man escapes with a yellow in the end.
3' Kieran Tierney - named in Steve Clarke's Scotland squad for Euro 2020 today - holds up a ball and chips it over the six-yard area, looking for Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, only to overcook his delivery. Palace rest easy for now, as a spring shower opens above Selhurst Park.
2' Promising early signs for the visitors, with Calum Chambers crossing a dangerous ball in that requires Vicente Guaita to palm it away with a dive. Palace's fans are in understandably fine voice today - could they prove the difference?
1' Referee Anthony Taylor blows the whistle and we are underway in this Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Arsenal!
The Selhurst Park crowd have possibly never sung his name this loud. Not many men are lucky enough to coach their boyhood club; you can see by his watery grin how much it means to him. This is a genuine lump-in-the-throat moment.
Roy Hodgson is believed to have walked out over a thousand times in his career in charge of a game - and now, he will take to the field after the teams, in a guard of honour formed by both Crystal Palace and Arsenal.
Crystal Palace have never lost their final home league game in their 11 previous Premier League campaigns, winning eight and drawing three. Their last such defeat in a top-flight campaign was in 1980-81, going down 3-1 to Nottingham Forest.
It has been over 45 years since Hodgson was first appointed to take charge of a club, when he guided Halmstads BK to the Allsvenskan in his first season in charge. His record in Sweden is astonishing. His eclectic repertoire since is more so, arguably. He deserves a major farewell today.
Subs: Alexandre Lacazette, Cedric Soares, Dani Ceballos, Willian, Mat Ryan, Pablo Marí, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard.
ARSENAL (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney; Mohamed Elneny, Thomas Partey; Nicolas Pepe, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Subs: Jairo Riedewald, Jack Butland, Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Ayew, Patrick van Aanholt, Jesuran Rak-Sakyi, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Michy Batshuayi, Martin Kelly.
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-3-3): Vicente Guaita; Joel Ward, James Tomkins, Gary Cahill, Tyrick Mitchell; Cheikhou Kouyate, James McCarthy, Jeffrey Schlupp; Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha.
Meanwhile, there are a pair of swaps for Arsenal too, with Calum Chambers and Nicolas Pepe handed starts this evening.
For his final game in charge at Selhurst Park, Hodgson has made two changes, with Vicente Guaita and James Tomkins back into the side - the latter in the place of Eberechi Eze, who looks set to be out until 2022 with an Achilles injury.
The former England manager has stabilised the Eagles as a regular fixture in the top-flight - and his side would surely love to send him off with a flourish. Can they spoil Arsenal's plans to deliver a shot to their slim hopes? Or will the Gunners poop the farewell party?
But as much as the Gunners might like to make it their night, the news that Roy Hodgson will step down in charge of his boyhood club at the end of the campaign makes this a different kind of night to welcome supporters back through the gates.
It has been another season of frustration in north London - but whereas Mikel Arteta could assuage last year's shortcomings with a FA Cup final triumph, now their path to continental football next term looks perilously narrow.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2020-21 Premier League season, as Arsenal look to bolster their slim hopes of European football next season in a must-win trip to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.