Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has expressed his delight to see his side taking a crucial point at Arsenal on Sunday (17 April) to move eight points clear of the relegation zone. The boss, meanwhile, singled out Yannick Bolasie for praise after revealing that he nearly replaced the winger before he scored the equaliser in the 81th minute of the game.
Alexis Sanchez put the Gunners ahead just before half-time after Arsenal comfortably dominated the first half. Yet, the host failed to kill the game in the second half and Bolasie struck a goal from distance to secure a point for Palace, beating Petr Cech at his near post. Pardew praised the winger although admitted that the Arsenal keeper could have done better to block his shot.
"It was a big goal," Pardew told Sky Sports. "He looked affected a little bit and I was thinking about taking him off, if I'm being honest, because we have a lot of offensive players.
"But he's so important to us and I thought one moment could lift him, and I think that moment will lift him because it was a great goal. You could argue that Petr [Cech] should save it, but it's a great hit and I'm so pleased for him. That will definitely give him a major boost."
The points leaves Crystal Palace with 39 points in the Premier League table ahead of a midweek trip to Manchester United which will come before the FA Cup semi-final against Watford. Pardew hopes that the draw will give them a boost to end the season on a high.
"With our goal difference it means two of those clubs have to get 40 points, and I think they would snap our hands off for 40 points because that's a difficult total with the games they have remaining," Pardew added.
"There is still a long way to go, and we have ourselves in touching distance of mid-table, which is where I think we belong, but we have to prove that."