Crystal Palace 0 - 2 Arsenal: Instant Reaction

Shaun Botterill

Arsenal had to battle, but got all three points today at a windy Selhurst Park.


0 - 1 Mikel Arteta 48' pk
Mikel Arteta red card 65'
0 - 2 Olivier Giroud 86'

Arsenal stayed top of the table today in the Premier League, as they saw off a snarling, snapping basement-dwelling Crystal Palace despite going down to ten men midway through the second half.

Arsenal started with basically all of the ball. Things seemed to be going well, although both Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Flamini were hobbling a bit, and indeed, the latter had to exit the match seven minutes in, Serge Gnabry replacing him. The shape would change, but seeing how Crystal Palace hadn't even moved the ball past halfway yet, it seemed relatively safe. It took until 14 minutes in for Palace to even have a sniff, Barry "I Am Tiny" Bannan heading over after Damien Delaney seemingly smothered the ball with his arms on the ground in his own penalty area, no call forthcoming.

Palace stayed with Arsenal for much of the first half, Marouane Chamakh forcing a save from Wojciech Szczesny. From that point forward, Palace really started to take over a bit. Both sides were finding chances, Gnabry drawing a foul that seemed to be inside the box, Chris Foy saying otherwise, because Chris Foy's diet consists of eating mainly paper with salt.

Arsenal started the second half out with Serge Gnabry winning an easy penalty a minute in, Adiene Guedioura taking the winger down quite clearly. Mikel Arteta stepped up and knocked home the spot kick, and Arsenal had the lead. Chances were starting to arrive. Things would get weird, though. From an Arsenal corner, Palace hoofed it up to Chamakh, who got wrong side of MIkel Arteta. Arteta, last man, 50 yards from goal, brought down the Moroccan, and Foy showed him red. Arsenal were down to ten men. Reminder: Chris Foy eats paper. Jack Wilshere came on for Serge Gnabry to shore up the midfield.

74 minutes on, Joel Ward hit the bar (Szczesny tipped it), and from the corner, Mile Jedinak's shot flew in, but Szczesny made another terrific save. Arsenal were suffering, the Wilshere-Ramsey double pivot super adventure continuing. But the game opened up, both sides attacking. Counters were coming both ways, but Arsenal made theirs count 86 minutes in, Aaron Ramsey coming through on the left, spotting Olivier Giroud running through the middle, and laying a sumptuous, decadent, fluffy cross on a plate for the big lug, who headed it home and screamed COME ON into camera.

It was all that was required on the day.

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