Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka 4/10 for tantrum; Sokratis shines in attack despite VAR

Arsenal missed the chance to return to win winning ways in the Premier League as Crystal Palace came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at the Emirates.

The Gunners burst out of the blocks and struck twice in as many minutes through rare goals from centre-backs Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz -- both from Nicolas Pepe corners -- to leave Palace shell-shocked.

But VAR offered Palace a route back into the game when Wilfried Zaha -- originally booked for diving -- was tripped by Calum Chambers and Luka Milivojevic calmly struck home. Jordan Ayew levelled things up early in the second-half with a cool header, before Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka was jeered off when he was substituted and reacted by storming down the tunnel. Then, to make a bad day worse, VAR struck again to controversially deny Sokratis a match-winning goal.

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With defensive question marks still hanging over the heads of Unai Emery's side, Sokratis and Luiz will take confidence from getting themselves on the scoresheet. Left-back Kieran Tierney also showed moments of brightness on his Premier League debut, while Pepe's set-piece deliveries were exceptional.


Arsenal seemed to invite trouble in the opening stages of the second half. The Gunners were guilty of switching off in a chaotic opening 10 minutes that saw Ayew put the visitors back on level terms after Chambers had gifted them a way back into the game. Xhaka did not play well and his reaction to being taken off, and to the jeers from the crowd, will take the headlines. And don't talk to any Gunners' fans about VAR.

Manager rating (out of 10)

5 -- Whatever Emery said at half-time didn't work. The hosts threw away the game in a dreadful opening 10 minutes at the beginning of the second half and although Emery's substitutions appeared to help his side regain a foothold in the game, it wasn't enough. Now he has a huge Xhaka-shaped problem to deal with too.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Bernd Leno, 5 -- Beaten by Luka Milivojevic's ice-cool penalty and showed strong hands to palm away a powerful effort from the same player late in the first-half. Not much he could to keep out Ayew's header.

DF Calum Chambers, 5 -- Always eager to get forward and provide additional ammo for the Arsenal forwards. But he gave Palace a way back into the game from the spot when he naively left out a leg in the box that Zaha toppled over. Harshly penalised for tripping a Palace defender in another moment of VAR madness that robbed Sokratis of a brilliant winner.

DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 -- Took advantage of some dreadful Palace defending to help himself to only his second Premier League goal with a smart finish. Gave the ball away cheaply in the buildup to the free kick that led to the Palace equaliser, but all-in-all it was a solid display.

DF David Luiz, 6 -- Showed the stealthy finish of a seasoned striker as he snuck around the back to punish Palace and double Arsenal's lead. Produced a couple of swift interceptions to snuff out potential danger, but didn't seem to have a clue where Ayew was as the Palace striker levelled the scores.

DF Kieran Tierney, 6 -- An impressive Premier League debut. Looked a constant threat down the left in the first-half and showed great confidence to skip past Andros Townsend and run at the Palace defence. Quieter in the second and was replaced by Sead Kolasinac in the 75th minute.

MF Granit Xhaka, 4 -- Helped his side to dictate play in the first half, but started the second poorly. Jeered off by his own fans as Bukayo Saka replaced him in the 61st minute, then cupped his hand to his ear and headed straight down the tunnel, taking his shirt off for good measure. Not good. And not the actions of a club captain.

MF Matteo Guendouzi, 7 -- Another excellent midfield display full of composure. Showed remarkable vision to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through on goal with a 40-yard wonder-ball. Booked for a challenge a rugby player would be proud of in the 96th minute.

MF Dani Ceballos, 5 -- It seems like the ball sticks to his foot at times, such is the quality of his ball control. But this was one of his quieter games and he struggled to influence proceedings in the second half.

MF Nicolas Pepe 8 -- Caused Palace endless problems with some perfect set-piece deliveries into dangerous areas. The Gunners capitalised twice and could have done so a great deal more.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 5 -- Showed excellent workrate and used his body superbly, picking the ball up in deep areas and then drawing a foul. Found opportunities hard to come by, particularly in the second half.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 -- Always a threat but lacked his normal conviction in front of goal. Dragged a golden opportunity wide after being played clean through by an inch-perfect Guendouzi ball over the top.


DF Sead Kolasinac, NR -- Not too much time to make an impact, but Arsenal did look a little more assured after his introduction.

FW Bukayo Saka, 6 -- Replaced skipper Xhaka in the 61st minute and caused some problems as Arsenal looked to move back up through the gears.