Arsenal are still top of the Barclays Premier League despite a rather too close for comfort win over lowly, manager-less Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon as the Gunners defeated the Eagles 2-0 at Selhurst Park. The first half proved to be one of missed opportunities for Arsene Wenger’s side as they wasted several good chances at the goal of Julian Speroni and had to settle for a 0-0 halftime score line. Acting Crystal Palace manager Keith Millen (who was in place of the recently dismissed Ian Holloway) seemed relatively pleased at his sides’ performance in the opening 45, but his approval turned quickly to dismay as Palace went behind just 2 minutes into the second half when Mikel Arteta fired home a penalty that was won by Serge Gnabry, who was quite clumsily brought down in the box by way of a sliding challenge from Adlene Guedioura.
The course and complexion of the game was surely poised to shift towards the home side on 65 minutes as the goal scorer Arteta was sent off for a second yellow he received in a shoulder to shoulder tussle with Palace’s Marouane Chamakh. That left the Eagles with a man advantage and 25 minutes to try and make it count and steal a much-needed point. They came close on several occasions with the most notable effort being a wicked volley from range that Wojciech Szczesny somehow managed to keep out of goal. Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud then combined quite late on to seal the win with the latter heading home the former’s cross to wrap-up Arsenal’s gutsy win against a battling Palace side.
Crystal Palace: at West Bromwich Albion
Arsenal: vs. Chelsea (Capital One/League Cup)