Bolasie important to Palace, says Pardew

Crystal Palace Selhurst Park

The winger was on hand nine minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw away at Arsenal on Sunday, much to the delight of boss Alan Pardew.

Alan Pardew admits Yannick Bolasie is an "important" part of his Crystal Palace side, after the winger struck late on to earn the Eagles a point in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

A header from Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners the lead on the stroke of half-time, before Bolasie popped up nine minutes from time to beat goalkeeper Petr Cech with an angled effort from distance.

But while Pardew said the contribution of Bolasie was a decisive factor in snatching a result at the Emirates, in a game the hosts otherwise dominated, he admitted that he nearly took the Congolese international off before he found the net.

He told Sky Sports after the game: "It was a big goal. I think he looked a little bit affected today. I was thinking of taking him off if I'm honest because we have a lot offensive players.

"But of course he's so important to us and I thought that one moment might lift him and I think that moment will lift him because that's 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 for these remaining games."

The manner in which Palace earned the point in North London was a particular bright spot for the former Newcastle boss, who added that it could provide a platform on which the Eagles can build on.

He continued: "What they should take from today is maybe a little bit more exuberance, which we still need in the side at times. We showed more towards the end but really we should have had more of that in the first half.

"But it's understandable. This is a tough place and they keep possession well. [Mesut] Ozil was having one those first halves where although everyone else is in third gear, he's in another orbit at times, and he was creating and causing us problems.

"We sorted him out better in the second half, we dealt with him a little bit better and there were some great moments on the break that we can take forward."

The result edges Palace one point closer to Premier League survival, with a run of just one league win in 2016 previously seeing them outsiders for relegation.

But Pardew was quick to play down any lingering concerns of losing their top-flight status, adding that the onus was on the sides at the bottom to catch the South Londoners.

"Our goal difference means two of the sides down there have got to get 40 points and I think those two clubs would snap your hand off for that, because that's a difficult total with the games they've got remaining."

"There's still a long way to play and we've still got ourselves in touching distance of mid-table where I think we belong and we have to prove that in the games to come."

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