0-1 Santi Cazorla 8' (pen)
0-2 Olivier Giroud 45+1'
1-2 Glenn Murray 90+3'
Whenever Arsenal have a game like this, I remind myself that many times since I became a fan, they've played really well and lost, or drawn, even to teams they should be beating easily. It helps, I promise. Arsenal probably shouldn't have won that game today. Crystal Palace played well, and at times were definitely the better team. Both teams had chances that they couldn't put away, but I'd say that if we'd been the ones scoring late and then hitting the post again in stoppage time, the rest of my day would have probably be ruined.
But hey! The ball didn't go in the second time, and you don't get credit for coming close. So Arsenal gets three points, and while that's not the only important thing, it does top the list.
I may be letting the last few minutes color my perception of the rest of the game too much, honestly. While we weren't amazing and Crystal Palace was definitely in the game more than I'd like, Arsenal weren't garbage. Particularly on the counter, we were good offensively. Mesut Ozil has pretty much been good since coming back from his knee injury, and that continued today. Danny Welbeck was effective, as was Alexis Sanchez. Santi Cazorla has been so effective of late that it's almost nauseatingly disorienting when he's not on.
And both goals were good play. The first was a penalty taken well by Cazorla, and drawn well by Welbeck. He came across the defender while chasing down a ball, and forced contact just as he was coming into the box. For the second it was more of a team effort -- Alexis held the ball up on the left flank just long enough for Welbeck to get in position to get behind the defense, and then played a good ball to release Welbeck. The angle was tough so the keeper was able to save Welbeck's shot, but the rebound fell right into the path of the onrushing Giroud, who had no trouble scoring.
It could have been 3-0 not long after halftime as well. After a Palace set piece, a long ball forward set Mesut Ozil on the counterattack. He flipped the ball over the one defender nearby, then held for a split second for help. It arrived in the form of Alexis, and Ozil played him a perfect ball through the defense. Alexis tried to finish with the outside of his right foot, and had the keeper beaten, but the ball went just wide. It was really well-played by both of them, and it was a shame it didn't come off.
Palace had five minutes of stoppage to play with at the end of the game, and used it pretty effectively. They got their goal with about a minute and a half of it left, as Arsenal's defense couldn't clear a corner kick. The ball bounced around in the box, a shot bounced off the back of a Palace player, and Glenn Murray was able to take advantage of David Ospina having gone to ground in an attempt to save the initial shot. It was all pretty annoying.
Not as annoying as what happened about a minute later, though. Yannick Bolasie took the ball down the left and was able to cross into the box as he was falling down, somehow. It was a great cross, and Ospina came out to try to punch it just as Murray (him again!) attacked it. Ospina whiffed, but much to my relief the header went straight into the post, then right to Ospina on the turf. No goal, final whistle, 2-1 and we all go home happy.
Arsenal won, and since Manchester United lost at Swansea and Southampton play tomorrow, at least for the moment we're in third place. Good guys win, bad guys lose. That's two good reasons to be happy today.