Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace
- Arsenal leave it late to open season with win
- Ramsey scores third goal in four league games
- Hangeland scores his first goal in three seasons
Aaron Ramsey scored in stoppage time to break the resolve of Crystal Palace and give title contenders Arsenal a winning start to their league campaign.
Managerless Palace looked set for a point but had forward Jason Puncheon sent off for a second offence in the 89th minute before Ramsey pounced.
The visitors took a shock first-half lead when Brede Hangeland headed in.
The Gunners equalised just before the break when Laurent Koscielny nodded home from Alexis Sanchez's free-kick.
Despite kicking off their Premier League challenge with a win, it was an inauspicious start having barely made Palace keeper Julian Speroni work for his wage.
Apart from the two goals, the only other time the Palace stopper was called to save his team was when he pushed away Jack Wilshere's drive in the first half.
Credit for keeping Arsenal at bay should be given to Palace caretaker boss Keith Millen. The 47-year-old, originally from down the road in Croydon, was thrust into the hot-seat on Thursday following the shock departure of Tony Pulis.
So having had less than 48 hours to plan Palace's assault on their London rivals, Millen's team did brilliantly to restrict the Gunners for so long.
But their good work came undone in three minutes at the death, when first they were reduced to 10 men when Puncheon went in late on Nacho Monreal, before Ramsey grabbed the winner. The Wales midfielder was quickest to the loose ball after Mathieu Debuchy's snap-shot had been saved.
|Arsenal win their first opening weekend fixture in five attempts||Palace only had four attempts on goal|
|Arsene Wenger's side have now won their last six Premier League games||Jason Puncheon's red card was the third on the opening day|
Wenger might point to the fact he did not have his full squad available for the opening match as a reason for the below-par display - only five of the many who spent their summer in Brazil started today.
One of those absent was Germany's World Cup winning defender Per Mertesacker, who might have made a better attempt of preventing Hangeland from scoring.
The Norway player, who had not scored in the previous three league season for Fulham, was inexplicably left by Sanchez to roam to the near post to meet Puncheon's corner.
However, just before half-time, the hero at the other end appeared to lose his bearings as Koscielny sneaked clear to connect with Sanchez's lofted free-kick.
It was the only major lapse of concentration from the former Fulham player, who could prove to be a key signing for the Eagles, while Sanchez, who cost Arsenal considerably more, also impressed on his league debut.
The Chile international played the full 90 minutes, but it was only when rested France striker Olivier Giroud was introduced in the second half that the Gunners looked like a team who would break down Palace for a second time.
And in the closing seconds, the club's top scorer last season proved how key he is to the attack when he headed the ball across goal for Debuchy, whose shot was saved, only for team-mate Ramsey to tuck in.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "They made it very difficult, they defended very well and took their first opportunity. After that they made it very tight, they were physically very strong and we needed to keep going. Our desire got us through.
"If you look at the results, no home team won, we were the only one so it shows in the first game it is not easy to win.
"The Champions League qualifier is massive game for us next week against Besiktas, we have a short time to recover. Normally the German players would not play in that game. We will have to see on Sunday but only in case of emergency."
Crystal Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen: "I'd like to continue, I enjoy being in charge. Whether it's the right time or not I'll speak to the chairman tomorrow.
"If the chairman felt it was right for me then I would sit down and talk to him about it. I like working at this club.
"The circumstances of last year were that we had a really poor start, winning one in 10 games. There was a lack of Premier League experience at the club. This group of players now have that experience."
- 21ChambersBooked at 44mins
- 3GibbsSubstituted forMonrealat 53'minutes
- 10WilshereSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 69'minutes
- 19CazorlaBooked at 60mins
- 22SanogoSubstituted forGiroudat 62'minutes
- 34KellyBooked at 77mins
- 6DannSubstituted forDelaneyat 75'minutes
- 42PuncheonBooked at 89mins
- 7BolasieSubstituted forO'Keefeat 90+1'minutes
- 29ChamakhBooked at 68mins
- 10CampbellSubstituted forGayleat 85'minutes
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target