By 90Min
October 28, 2019

Gary Cahill has claimed that Crystal Palace might have pulled off a shock victory over Arsenal on Sunday if it wasn't for the 'rugby tackle' on Wilfried Zaha as the Eagles launched a late breakaway.

With the game finely poised at 2-2, Zaha knocked the ball past Matteo Guendouzi late-on before the Frenchman took the winger out with a tackle that wouldn't have looked out of place in England's victory over New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup.

Palace had stunned the Emirates with an astonishing come back after the Gunners had gone 2-0 up inside the opening ten minutes. Arsenal thought they had won the game themselves when Sokratis steered in from a corner late only for VAR to controversially intervene. 

Speaking after the game, Cahill claimed that the correct decision had been made, and claimed that Roy Hodgson's side could easily have won it.

"I think the lads were definitely adamant there was something at the near-post and I think that is where VAR is very good,' he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"Because when there are a lot of bodies in the box and there is a big incident like that it was easily missed back in the day so that is where VAR comes in and is very good because that is a huge moment - to go 3-2 down with five minutes to go it would be very difficult for us to come back.

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"They are big moments and I think the right decision was given and we could have nicked it at the end with the obvious rugby tackle on the half-way line which was a professional foul but if Wilf skips away from there then who knows what happens at the end?"

Despite the VAR incidents and Guendouzi's tackle, the game will most likely be remembered for Granit Xhaka's extraordinary reaction to being booed by fans after he failed to leave the pitch quickly enough when he was substituted in the second half. 

Cahill avoided discussing that moment in particular, but praised Palace for fighting back from 2-0 to cause such discontentment among the home fans.

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He added: "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."

The result leaves the Eagles sixth in the Premier League, while Arsenal sit just one place above them in fifth.

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