If you’d checked the score of Arsenal’s game with Crystal Palace after 15 minutes yesterday afternoon, you could have been forgiven for thinking that anything other than a defeat was already beyond the Eagles’ reach but as has so often been the case under Roy Hodgson’s guidance, his players stayed in the game and battled back for a mightily impressive point under the floodlights in N7.
Two early corners, defended with a worrying lack of conviction from the men in black had seen Unai Emery’s players cruising in the early stages but thanks to a clanger from Martin Atkinson, Palace saw VAR intervene in their favour to rescind a caution WIlfried Zaha had received for diving and award a penalty. Predictably, Luka Milivojevic tucked it away, prompting a distinct change in the atmosphere across the stadium.
It was something Gary Cahill and his teammates seized upon immediately, with the former Chelsea man saying after:
“That is a big moment, to go two down early on and come back. As soon as we got the first one, I knew it was game on and thankfully we ended up at the end nicking a point.
“I have been there myself in moments when things have not been going great. Big clubs’ fans expect result after result and for us to come here, they started well and it settled the crowd down but then it was for us to react, turnaround and not accept that we are going to roll over.
“We hit them on the break a few times and in the end we took a point which, given the tough run of games we’ve got, is a very good point.”
That switch of mindset isn’t something you can turn on and off as and when you wish, it’s born primarily out of confidence in the methods set on the training ground by the coaching staff. That never-say-die attitude has shone through too often for it to be a simple coincidence and characters like Gary Cahill only add to our chances of turning losses into draws or victories.
Sitting in 6th after 10 Premier League games, why not dare to dream a little? We’ve amassed the fifth highest points total of any Premier League team in 2019, is a push for the top half really beyond the realms of possibility?