By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Patrick Vieira admitted it hurt to see his Crystal Palace side concede a last-gasp equaliser that cost him a win on his return to Arsenal.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles and captained the Gunners during their unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ campaign and his name rang around the Emirates Stadium before and after a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal ahead early on but from then on Palace were the better side as Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard struck in the second half to seemingly win the game – only for substitute Alexandre Lacazette to level at the death.
Vieira had pumped the air in celebration at both of Palace’s goals but was left down on his haunches as Lacazette peeled away in jubilation at his late equaliser.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) October 18, 2021
“I was really pleased with the attitude we showed today on the field,” he said.
“It was challenging in the first 15 minutes but afterwards we managed and controlled the game quite well, that is why the draw hurts – because of the performance we had today.
“I’m really disappointed for my players because they played well, showed a lot of character and personality.
“I think when looking at how the game went and coming back in the second half and scoring two goals, the way we conceded the second one, I think it is two points lost for us and we are disappointed not leaving the stadium with a win.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 18, 2021
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was left bemoaning the lack of VAR intervention at the end of the first half as Bukayo Saka was kicked on the back of the calf by James McArthur.
The Palace midfielder was booked by referee Mike Dean but Saka had to be substituted at the break and Arteta was unhappy that McArthur stayed on the pitch.
“If we want to detect things that are really relevant in a game and can change a football match, then they have to be looked at,” he said.
“That situation is not only affecting them but we have to take the player off because of the action so it is affecting it two different ways. It is not right.
“You (need to) make a straight decision, when it is so clear and so obvious straight away and they have to play with 10 men.
“Bukayo could not continue, we had to take him off at half-time, I saw the action and I can’t believe how the player continued on the pitch.
“I don’t get it. With what we were explained at the start of the season and what happened tonight, it doesn’t make any sense.”