Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 0
Arsenal let slip a golden chance to extend their lead at the top of the
Premiership against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this afternoon.
And Dutch star Dennis Bergkamp collected his fifth booking of the season and
ruling him out of the crunch clash with champions Manchester United at Highbury
on November 9.
Bergkamp, giving a rough ride by the rugged Crystal Palace defenders, finally
snapped just after the hour when he appeared to be shown referee Steve Dunn's
yellow card for dissent.
It will mean an automatic three-match suspension starting in two weeks time
and the £7.5million striker also misses vital games against Derby County and
Battling Palace countered Arsenal's superior technique with fierce commitment
and Bergkamp was a target for their attentions almost straight from the start.
After he crashed down from an aerial challenge with Andy Roberts both players
appeared to lash out but a linesman who had a full view of everything failed to
alert the referees attention.
Ian Wright, returning to play against his old club having scored five goals in
six previous appearances against them, was also wound up by some fierce tackling
and was booked himself in a mystifying episode when Bergkamp berated referee
Dunn and was lucky not to go into the notebook then.
There was six yellow cards for the Gunners in all including Portuguese winger
Luis Boa Morte, who had an ineffective first Premiership start and was
eventually replaced by David Platt in the second half after impetuously bringing
down Palace full-back Marc Edworthy.
Wright also had a penalty appeal turned down after Kevin Miller brilliantly
saved his 23rd-minute shot.
He chased in for the loose ball and drove it against the arm of former Gunner
Andy Linighan but was awarded only a corner for his efforts.
Time and again Palace stretched themselves to the limit to keep Arsenal at bay
and Bergkamp was continually having to look for space to avoid their rugged
He still managed to set up chances for Ray Parlour and Emmanuel Petit but
first Andy Roberts made a superb tackle and then goalkeeper Miller smothered
Frenchman Petit's unconvincing shot after Wright had let Bergkamp's cross run
Palace took 53 minutes to force a corner and more than an hour to have their
first meaningful shot when Paul Warhurst took a rebound off Bould and fired a
firm drive to give goalkeeper David Seaman at least some action on the day he
equalled the record for Arsenal appearances for a goalkeeper - 352 - and was
mainly a spectator in the autumn sunshine.
Just before the end, however, when Bould played a faulty back pass Seaman had
to act hastily to collect the ball before Palace substitute George Ndah charged
the keeper to the ground.
It was an obvious foul but Palace fans roared in vain for a penalty as Seaman
blatantly held down Ndah as both scrambled for the ball on the ground.
Luckily for Arsenal referee Dunn had seen the first foul and gave them a free
Crystal Palace: Miller, Edworthy, Gordon, Roberts, Linighan,
Lombardo (Bonetti 85), Warhurst (Ndah 69), Shipperley, Rodger,
Subs Not Used: Dyer, Ormshaw, Zohar.
Arsenal: Seaman, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould, Adams, Wright,
Bergkamp, Parlour (Mendez 72), Petit, Grimandi,
Boa Morte (Platt 57).
Subs Not Used: Wreh, Manninger, Marshall.
Booked: Vieira, Wright, Boa Morte, Bergkamp, Grimandi.
Ref: S W Dunn (Bristol).