Yesterday afternoon saw Crystal Palace battle out a spirited 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal in front of the Sky Sports cameras, with travelling fans and neutrals alike taking to social media shortly after the full-time whistle to pile in on their favourite punching bag Wilfried Zaha.
Having gone in front late in the first half thanks to a spot-kick from Luka Milivojevic, Palace were pegged back soon after the interval following a thunderbolt of a free-kick from the aforementioned Granit Xhaka. Soon after, the Gunners had turned the scoreline on its head completely, edging the ball across the goal-line after a clear handball from Alexandre Lacazette just a split second earlier.
To Palace’s credit, the quickfire double did little to flatten their spirit and the remainder of the half saw the entire side press for an equaliser. That goal finally arrived in the latter stages when Wilfried Zaha jinked his way to the outside of Xhaka, drawing a challenge from the Swiss which gave referee Martin Atkinson little to no choice but to point to the spot.
As you can see from the video attached above, Granit himself has been big enough to concede in his post-match interview that it was a “clear penalty” having been drawn in by Zaha’s trademark quick feet and made a clumsy, if honest challenge for the ball. Quite why partisans and neutrals alike aren’t taking the word of the man who gave the penalty away as gospel is up for debate but at this stage, it’s difficult to envisage the bandwagon of idiocy which surrounds Wilfried Zaha being slowed down by logic of any kind.
Statistically, Palace were more than worthy of a point, if not all three, with Milivojevic’s second penalty of the afternoon the least we deserved after such an impressive collective shift. Will it provide us with a springboard that can kick-start our so far lackluster campaign? I certainly hope so.