Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has explained his blatant foul on Wilfried Zaha during the closing stages of the 2-2 Premier League draw against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Gunners grabbed a 2-0 lead through Sokratis and David Luiz in the opening 10 minutes but they surrendered the advantage before the hour mark with Luka Milivojevic and Jordan Ayew finding the net for the Eagles.
Sokratis was denied the winning goal for the Gunners in the 85th-minute through the VAR and Zaha could have won it for the Eagles at the end, barring a rugby-like tackle from Guendouzi.
With seconds left on the clock, the Ivorian had burst forward following an Arsenal corner and he only had Guendouzi to beat to have a free run towards Bernd Leno’s goal.
However, the Frenchman had other plans in mind and he managed to stop Zaha in his stride with the most glaring of professional fouls ever seen on the football field.
Luckily, Guendouzi managed to get away with only a yellow card and speaking after the game, the 20-year-old highlighted that he had no other choice than to stop Zaha in whichever way possible.
“I had to foul Zaha at the end, otherwise he is through on goal on his own,” Guendouzi told the club’s official website. “I’m the last defender but I’m far from our goal as well. I had to do it.”
Arsenal endured another frustrating gameweek in the Premier League but they could have come empty-handed from the encounter, had Guendouzi not made the challenge on Zaha.
The young midfielder has already become a fan favourite among a large section of the Gunners faithful after putting in consistent performances from the centre of the park.