Mikel Arteta bemoaned a momentary lapse in concentration from his side after Crystal Palace fought back on Saturday to draw 1-1 with 10-man Arsenal, whose captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was later sent off.
The new Gunners manager was on course for a third straight win when his skipper made the breakthrough in the first half but a deflected effort by Jordan Ayew cancelled it out early in the second period.
When Aubameyang received a red card with 23 minutes left, the experienced Roy Hodgson would have fancied his chances of gaining three points against the youngest manager in the league but had to settle for a share of the spoils.
The result means Arteta has won just one of his four Premier League games in charge. The draw is disappointing after an impressive victory against Manchester United and a win against Leeds in the FA Cup.
“The first 35 minutes is exactly what I want our Arsenal team to play like,” Arteta told BT Sport. “We were dominant in the right positions and created chances. After that we started to give free-kicks and give balls away.
“In the first 15 minutes of the second half, credit to them because they pushed. They started to put men up front and we struggled. We switched off completely for the goal and that’s unacceptable.”
Hodgson was boosted by the return of Wilfried Zaha, who missed the defeat to Derby with a knock. New loan signing Cenk Tosun started on the bench.
Aubameyang was recalled by Arteta after sitting out the FA Cup win over Leeds and opened the scoring at Selhurst Park in the 12th minute.
Mesut Ozil’s licence to roam had already caused the hosts problems and he moved inside to combine with Alexandre Lacazette, who played in his fellow forward. Aubameyang curled a shot into the bottom corner for his 16th goal of the season.
It was a breathtaking Arsenal move, which started with a brave through ball between by David Luiz, and Palace struggled to gain possession during the opening 30 minutes.
Zaha cut a frustrated figure and this was highlighted when he shoved Nicolas Pepe into Lucas Torreira, with the visiting pair needing treatment.
– Palace settle –
The Eagles slowly settled. Cheikhou Kouyate had their first effort of note shortly before half-time, which Bernd Leno unconvincingly parried.
Arteta introduced Matteo Guendouzi at half-time, with Torreira not returning but Palace continued to win free kicks in dangerous positions.
AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (left) is sent off in the Premier League match against Crystal Palace
Eventually they made one count. Jairo Riedewald found Max Meyer in space down the right. His cross was poor, but Kouyate was first to it and set up Ayew, whose strike took a big deflection off Luiz and looped over Leno in the 54th minute.
Arsenal’s problems deepened when Aubameyang caught Meyer high on the ankle with a poor challenge by the touchline.
Referee Paul Tierney showed a yellow card but after a two-and-a-half minute VAR review, the caution was upgraded to a sending off.
Aubameyang was distraught as he left the pitch in the 67th minute but Meyer had to follow him down the tunnel after failing to recover from the tackle.
That allowed Hodgson to introduce Tosun for his debut, while Arteta withdrew Ozil for Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli.
James Tomkins almost produced a winner 12 minutes from time, but his header was cleared off the line by Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Arsenal then almost stole it.
Vicente Guaita came to the rescue though, when he superbly tipped Pepe’s shot on to the post and saved Lacazette’s follow-up in the 83rd minute as it finished all square.