Ten man Arsenal beat Crystal Palace as Arteta gets sent off
With Ian Holloway leaving Palace in the week, assistant boss Keith Millen took charge for today’s game. Meanwhile Arsenal, who are top of the league, were coming off the back of their brilliant display against Norwich.
Arsenal started decently, and in the third minute, Flamini sprayed a long crossfield pass to Sagna, who dumped a cross into the middle, and Giroud, unable to quite get over the ball, headed over from 10 yards. Seven minutes in, Flamini seemed to have picked up a knock, a groin strain, and was substituted, with youngster Serge Gnabry coming on to replace him.
In the thirteenth minute, there was a penalty appeal for Arsenal. Gnabry’s played in the overlapping Sagna on the right of the box. His low cross was well blocked by the sliding Delaney and came back to Sagna who tried to cross again, and again it hit Delaney, who was lying on the floor. There were hand appeals from the Arsenal players, but referee Chris Foy gave refused their pleas.
In the eighteenth minute, Mesut Ozil made a good run and got clear of the defence in the box after being played through by Gnabry, but his attempted cut-back was hacked away and Palace cleared the resultant corner. Four minutes later, the lively substitute Gnabry combined well on the right with Sagna, whose cross was headed straight up in the air by Gabbidon. The keeper Speroni came to claim what was an awkward ball, swirling in the wind, and dropped it. Luckily for Palace Gabbindon got to the loose ball a fraction before Gibbs, and averted the danger.
For the next few minutes, it was all Palace, who were having their best spell of the match by a considerable distance. Both Chamakh and Guedioura had strikes from the edge of the box well fielded by Szczesny and later Barry Bannan bent a shot just beyond the far post after his crossed free kick found its way back to him. This left Arsene Wenger frowning on the bench, with there being no intensity to Arsenal despite their overwhelming possession.
Moments later, Santi Cazorla almost put Arsenal ahead when he was found just outside the six-yard box on the right by Ramsey. He dummied Moxey sweetly to come back on his left foot and then crunched the ball across goal and just wide of the far post, with Giroud close to putting that in as well. At the other end, Palace were causing problems from set pieces. Bannan swirled a left-footed corner beyond the far post from the right. Szczesny went chasing for it and got nowhere near it, but Dikgacoi could only thump his header into the advertising hoardings by the near post.
Two minutes later, Ramsey’s fierce strike was saved by Speroni. Arsenal moved the ball around nicely before it was flipped down the side of the defence by Gnabry. Ramsey, at a very tight angle just outside the six-yard box, smashed the ball at goal and Speroni, whose positioning was just right, was able to beat it away.
However, the chance of the half came to Marouane Chamakh in the forty-first minute. He was totally unmarked, eight yards out, when Jedinak shaped an inswinging cross towards him from the left wing – but Chamakh mistimed his jump and was almost on his way down by the time the ball got to him, and failed to make the chance count. And so, the sides went in at half-time with the scores level at 0-0.
After only 57 seconds of the restart, Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Gnabry, on the right of the box, Cruyff-turned Guedioura, who was hopelessly duped and tripped Gnabry over, and it was an easy decision for Chris Foy. Arteta thumped an excellent rising penalty into the left corner of the net. Speroni went the right way but had no chance. Palace 0-1 Arsenal.
A couple of minutes later, Gnabry almost made it two. Ozil, facing away from goal on the edge of the D, stunned a delicious short-range pass round the corner to put Gnabry through. Delaney came across and his attempted clearance hit Gnabry, from where it rebounded just wide of the near post. Giroud missed a great chance a minute later. Koscielny hammered a superb crossfield pass to Sagna on the right, who took it down and then whipped a cross to the near post. Giroud was unmarked six yards out, just in front of the near post, but he mistimed the flick of his head and shouldered the ball well wide of the near post.
Palace slowly started to make it back into the game after this, and four minutes shy of the hour mark, Moxey combined with Guedioura, whose return pass pushed Moxey a touch too wide in the box, and his shot from a prohibitive angle was straight at Szczesny. Three minutes later, substitute Yannick Bolasie, who had just come on for the injured Jerome Thomas, skinned Mertesacker, before Sagna ruined everyone’s fun with a good tackle on the edge of the box.
Mikel Arteta was sent off in the sixty-fifth minute when he took out Marouane Chamakh about 40 yards from goal. Arteta was the last man but it was doubtful whether that was a real goal scoring chance, considering Chamakh was 40 yards from goal and there were defenders close enough to make up the ground given they were running without the ball and Chamakh was running with it. It looked like it had yellow card written all over it, but Chris Foy thought otherwise.
Then, Arsenal keeper Szczesny came up with two great saves. In the seventy-fourth minute, Ward, the right-back, played a nice one-two with Kebe on the edge of the box and crunched a curling, rising shot across goal. It clattered off the top of the bar and replays showed the slightest touch from Szczesny. The resulting corner was cleared to the edge of the area, where Jedinak belted a magnificent volley back towards goal. Szczesny, who a second earlier had been in among bodies trying to punch the corner clear, leapt to his right to tip the ball over the bar.
Palace kept pinning Arsenal back. In the eightieth minute, Kebe’s dangerous cross towards Chamakh was headed away splendidly by Mertesacker. Four minutes later, Jedinak fed a high ball into the box and it nearly fell perfectly for Chamakh, who tried to control it, but Arsenal shuffled it away before he could get a second touch.
Arsenal finally managed to kill off the game, with a goal in three minutes from time. It was made delightfully by the in-form Aaron Ramsey, who broke down the inside-left channel into the box before coming back onto his right foot, away from Gabbidon. He waited for support and then floated an insouciant little pass over Delaney, straight onto the head of the late-arriving Giroud, and he flicked an accomplished header into the far corner from eight yards. The pass from Ramsey was just delightful. Palace 0-2 Arsenal. Arsenal held on for the four added minutes to clinch the three points.
Arsenal stay top of the table and extend their lead to five points after their seventh win in eight league games. It wasn’t quite as comfortable as it looks, and Wojcech Szczesny was sufficiently busy, but they got the job done. And now the hard work really starts, with some big fixtures coming up. Palace lose again, although they shouldn’t be too down after a pretty good performance.
Ten man Arsenal beat Crystal Palace as Arteta gets sent off
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