Crystal Palace put in a good performance today at Selhurst Park, but weren’t able to leave with any points as the Eagles fell 2-1 to Arsenal.
However, Palace boss Alan Pardew believes things could have ended much differently had Francis Coquelin been sent off early in the second half. The Arsenal midfielder was on a yellow card when he pushed down Wilfried Zaha late in the first half, but Pardew agreed that it was not a yellow card offense.
At halftime, Pardew said he spoke to referee Lee Mason and told him to keep an eye on Coquelin, who has a knack for going in on strong challenges. Right after the break, Coquelin took down James McArthur, and all of Selhurst Park, including Pardew, believed he should have been sent off.
Speaking to Sky Sports:
The tackle before half-time wasn’t a sending-off at that point, but I said to Lee Mason: ‘that’s it, that’s his last chance, you know that, don’t you?’
“He kind of said ‘yeah’, and then (Coquelin) makes the foul and I’m afraid that’s ‘off’. Arsene knew that and substituted him straight away. It’s a decision, in my opinion, Lee Mason needs to be braver on.”
Pardew acknowledged that Arsenal played very well and Palace failed to capitalize on some key chances, but the flow of the match surely would have changed should Arsenal have been down to ten men.
Palace must put this result behind them and focus on their match against Aston Villa next week. Taking all three points against Villa will be crucial as the Eagles face a tough stretch of matches after that, facing Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.