By Walter Broeckx
A few changes compared to the team that started last week. Hector Bellerin came in at right back and Debuchy went back to the bench. Alexis started up front and Oxlade-Chamberlain dropped to the bench.
Team in full: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
On the bench: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
After some 4 minutes a nice combination on the left flank but the final shot was blocked by a defender. A counter then from Arsenal and Özil feeding Alexis who rounded the keeper but then shot straight at the defender and the rebound was saved on the line. Arsenal with the better of the play in the opening minutes. Alexis with a steel but Alexis has his shot blocked again by a defender. Cech with a good interception on a low cross when Palace was on the counter. But at the other side again Arsenal with a good combination. Alexis who send the ball to Özil on the left and his cross was expertly finished by Giroud with a half volley. GOAL!!! 0-1 to The Arsenal after 16 minutes.
Arsenal controlling the match and Alexis with a fierce low shot that is fumbled by the keeper but no Arsenal player on hand to put the ball over the line. The next chance was again for Alexis but he headed the cross from Monreal over. And then out of nothing a cross from Palace and the ball was played back to Ward who beat Cech with a low shot. 1-1 after 30 minutes. That came out of nothing.
That lifted the spirit of Palace and the even claimed (wrongly as Zaha ran in to Monreal his back) a penalty. At the other end Giroud almost with a copy of his goal but he couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough this time. Cazorla couldn’t capitalise on a forunate bounce in the Palace penalty area and shot over the crossbar. Ramsey with a delightul chip after a cross from Özil but the keeper saved it and then Mason put an end to the Arsenal attack with Alexis in a promising position by inventing a foul. Palace then at the other end with a few dangerous crosses. But Arsenal then again bombarding the Palace goal but each time a defender in the way of a shot or a cross.
Coquelin with a yellow card after a late challenge on a Palace player. McArthur also going in the book for a foul on Coquelin and that was the last fact of the first half. Arsenal had enough chances to be comfortably in front but had to be satisfied with a 1-1 at half time. Too many chances missed at first and Palace scored from what not even looked like a chance with a shot from distance. Alexis the man who cathed the eye most with great all round game but his finishing not up to the required standard yet.
Arsenal Lucky at the start of the first half when Wickham puts a cross against the post. Arsenal react with a flowing combination but a defender can put his foot in and prevent the final pass. Özil with a fine piece of skill only to see him being hacked down. Free kick but the card is not given. Arsenal with a few corners but Giroud on the turn cannot make proper contact and the keeper kan pick up the ball. Bellerin with a cross and Alexis with a firm header that might have gone in but defender Delaney puts its over the goal line. GOAL!!!! 1-2 to the Arsenal after 55 minutes.
Puncheon with a good run that gives him some room but Cech stops his low shot. Coquelin getting a warning from Mason but that was more to him being a bit theatrical after having made a foul. If on a yellow just accept the foul and stay low profile is my lesson. Wenger takes Coquelin off and Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on after 64 minutes. Özil with a delightful pass to Ramsey but his left foot shot goes over.
Cech being blocked but the ref lets it go and then Mason blows a foul after Arsenal win the ball back. Puncheon shoots wide. Arteta comes in the place of Alexis after 74 minutes. After 82 minutes Gibbs came in the place of Özil. Delaney pushes Giroud in the back and that should have been a penalty but Mason has non of it. Mason then gives a corner to Palace when it was a goalkick. Cech is being blocked by a Palace striker and again Mason ignores it but luckily the ball goes over. Arteta with a last second block and Cech with the save from the resulting corner.
But Arsenal also with a chance when Ramsey gives it to Cazorla but the keeper can save with his foot and a defender can clear. Arsenal counter in the last minute but the keeper saves the effort from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal win with 1-2 at Crystal Palace. The first half Arsenal should have been home and dry before the half hour but didn’t take their chances. The second half was more about hard work, grit and determination and we showed great character and not unimportantly in each PL we had the luck on our side when it mattered.