Premier League
ArsenalArsenal2Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsenal went back top of the Premier League with victory over a dogged Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first of the season when he finished calmly after intelligent play from Santi Cazorla.

Palace could have had an equaliser but Cameron Jerome's diving header was excellently saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace: Arsene Wenger praises 'great' Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Oxlade-Chamberlain then doubled his tally for the season after he combined with team-mate Olivier Giroud.

The result takes Arsenal back above Manchester City, although Manuel Pellegrini's side can in turn regain top spot if they beat Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Monday.

But Arsenal, bidding to win the title for the first time since 2003-04, gained a vital three points to move two clear with Liverpool and Manchester United the opponents in their next two league games.

Oxlade-Chamberlain's last goal before this match came at the Maracana last June as England drew 2-2 with Brazil in Rio.

But the 20-year-old, who missed four months of the season with a knee injury, was the difference between Arsenal and Palace, and could yet return to Brazil in the summer as part of Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.

It had looked like being a disappointing afternoon for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as Tony Pulis's Palace appeared content to play for a point.

The defensive tactics worked in the opening half as a well-organised away side frustrated the hosts and sucked the entertainment out of the game.

Palace's Argentine keeper Julian Speroni blocked a low shot from Nacho Monreal and pushed out Mesut Ozil's floated free-kick, which had missed everyone and was heading towards the far corner of the net.

The Eagles' only first-half chance fell to Marouane Chamakh, but the Moroccan, who scored 14 goals in 67 appearances in just over three years with the Gunners, wasted the opportunity with a heavy touch.

It was a game to forget for the striker, who was also at fault for Arsenal's first goal, which came less than two minutes after the restart.

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis laments 'switched off' Palace

He failed to track Oxlade-Chamberlain and the unmarked midfielder, making a first Premier League start since the opening-day 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa, collected Cazorla's ball over the defence and shot past Speroni.

Palace have scored the fewest goals in the division - 15 in 24 games now - but might have been level within five minutes.

Yannick Bolasie's excellent cross from the left wing found Jerome, whose header from inside the six-yard box was blocked by the Arsenal goalkeeper.

That proved Palace's one chance of getting back into the game and Oxlade-Chamberlain grabbed his second on 73 minutes when he played a one-two with Olivier Giroud, outpaced the Palace defence and shot home to secure the win.

View a Facebook photo gallery from Sunday's Premier League games.external-link

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"It was a great day for [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain]. He was out for a long, long time and we needed to be patient to get him back to full fitness. He had a great game and scored two great goals.

"Crystal Palace were well organised and united in their desire to do the job. They are a physically strong side and we knew we had to take advantage of our chances, and we did.

"I believe Chamberlain can play out wide or centrally. Certainly in a few years he will be a central midfielder. He has that surge of power which is so vital in the game today. He is also a good finisher and hopefully these two goals will give him some confidence as he is not always sure he is a good goalscorer."

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain:

"It's never nice to be injured for five months and it was hard, especially with the boys doing well.

"Being out for a long time is mentally tough, but you have to stay positive and you think that when you come back you will be stronger - that's what keeps you motivated.

"I want to improve my goalscoring record. The manager tells me I need to improve and this was a step in the right direction."

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has run off the back of Marouane Chamakh for the first goal, but Joel Ward's body shape and position was poor. He has held his hands up. If you switch off for a couple of seconds, it's a goal.

"We seemed pretty comfortable and we had a great chance ourselves and that would have changed the game.

"Arsenal are a very good side and move the ball very well. Our players have done a remarkable job since I've been here. We've played all the top teams away from home, so we have got that out of the way and now it is up to us."



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Szczesny
  • 3Sagna
  • 17Monreal
  • 8Arteta
  • 4MertesackerBooked at 86mins
  • 6Koscielny
  • 19Cazorla
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 12GiroudSubstituted forBendtnerat 84'minutes
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forGibbsat 84'minutes
  • 9PodolskiSubstituted forRosickyat 72'minutes


  • 7Rosicky
  • 21Fabianski
  • 23Bendtner
  • 25Jenkinson
  • 28Gibbs
  • 44Gnabry
  • 58Zelalem

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Speroni
  • 2Ward
  • 4Parr
  • 8Dikgacoi
  • 19Gabbidon
  • 27DelaneyBooked at 68mins
  • 13Puncheon
  • 15Jedinak
  • 30JeromeSubstituted forBannanat 56'minutes
  • 29ChamakhBooked at 42minsSubstituted forGayleat 82'minutes
  • 7Bolasie


  • 3Mariappa
  • 5McCarthy
  • 16Gayle
  • 18Wilbraham
  • 26Hennessey
  • 31Guédioura
  • 46Bannan
Jonathan Moss

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamCrystal Palace
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Joel Ward.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jonathan Parr (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high following a corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Bacary Sagna.

  7. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  8. Post update

    Delay in match Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) because of an injury.

  9. Post update

    Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  13. Booking

    Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Per Mertesacker (Arsenal).

  15. Post update

    Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Nicklas Bendtner replaces Olivier Giroud.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs replaces Mesut Özil.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).

  20. Post update

    Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

2Man City23172468264253
7Man Utd24124839291040
10Aston Villa2476112734-727
16West Brom2441192834-623
17Crystal Palace2472151533-1823
18West Ham2457122433-922
View full Premier League table

Top Stories