• Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal, Premier League

Arteta and Giroud fire Gunners into five-point lead

ESPN staff
October 26, 2013 « Machida and Munoz ready for UFC Fight Night 30 | Chartbeat test »
Mikel Arteta tucked away his penalty © PA Photos
Enlarge

Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points after beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park.

Mikel Arteta struck his first goal of the season from the penalty spot a minute into the second half after Adlene Guedioura brought down Serge Gnabry.

However, the Spaniard was sent off for appearing to be the last man back in fouling former Gunner Marouane Chamakh.

After withstanding pressure from the home side, Arsenal then secured the win when Olivier Giroud headed in Aaron Ramsey's cross three minutes from time.

Mathieu Flamini's return to the Arsenal side last only seven minutes as the Frenchman came off with a groin problem. The midfielder was left out of the Dortmund clash as a precaution after suffering concussion last week against Norwich.

Palace, who parted company with Ian Holloway following the 4-1 home defeat by Fulham, had Keith Millen in caretaker charge.

They rallied when Joel Ward saw his shot tipped against the bar by Wojciech Szczesny, who then produced a wonder-save to deny Mile Jedinak from the corner.

Arsenal, though, secured all three points when Giroud headed in with three minutes left after a break by Ramsey down the left.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had opted to start with England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who had been troubled by an ankle problem, on the bench.

There was a positive start by Arsenal, with Giroud heading over a cross from right-back Bacary Sagna,

The visitors, though, had to make an early change when Flamini pulled up with what looked like a groin problem and was replaced by Gnabry.

After dropping off for much of the opening 15 minutes, Palace found some energy when Thomas - once on the books at Arsenal - darted down the left and his deep cross was headed over by Barry Bannan.

Arsenal were soon back on the offensive as Gnarby played in Mesut Ozil, but he looked to square the ball through the six-yard box instead of shooting.

Chamakh - sold by Arsenal in the summer - tested Szczesny with a dipping 20-yard effort as the Eagles again looked to take the match to the Premier League leaders, with Bannon's curling cross then just ahead of Damien Delaney.

Santi Cazorla almost had Arsenal in front when the Spaniard spun onto an angled pass through the Palace box and sent a low shot across the face of Julian Speroni's goal.

The Palace goalkeeper then stood up well as Ramsey got in at the near post to drill an angled shot at point blank range.

Arsenal had a penalty claim denied just before half-time when Delaney bundled over Gnabry right on the chalkline. Both referee Foy and his assistant signalled for only a free-kick, which came to nothing.

There was no debating a key decision at the start of the second half when Guedioura cut down Gnarby, and this time all the officials were in no doubt.

Arteta crashed the penalty past Speroni, into the left corner, to give the leaders some breathing space.

It was almost 2-0 straight away when a clearance from Delaney bounced off Gnarby and just an inch past the post.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men after 65 minutes. A long ball up field was taken on the chest by Chamakh, who looked to get clear before tussling with Arteta, shoulder to shoulder just inside the Arsenal half.

The pair went down in a heap, but that was enough to convince Foy the Gunners captain had denied his former team-mate a clear goalscoring opportunity and went for the red card.

Wenger replaced Gnabry with Wilshere as he looked to protect the slender lead before, after 72 minutes, Spain defender Nacho Monreal came on for Cazorla.

Szczesny made two brilliant saves to kept Arsenal ahead when he first touched a thunderous 20-yard effort from Ward against the goal frame and then, from the resulting corner, produced a brilliant one-handed stop to turn over a dipping strike from Jedinak.

Monreal, deployed on the left of midfield, ghosted into the penalty area with some fine close-control, before his shot at the near post was blocked.

Arsenal finally secured three points when Ramsey broke down the left and delayed a chipped pass through for Giroud, who arrived on cue to nod the ball past Speroni.

Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Feeds Feeds: ESPN staff

ESPN staff Close