Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 1

Well the new season has started and things are exciting. Arsenal opened their season with a home victory over Crystal Palace and won unconvincingly 2-1. Palace had a man reduced just before the winning goal. 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. Palace defended very well, clogging the middle of the field and frustrating Arsenal’s attackers. Despite dominating possession Arsenal barely challenged Palace’s goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

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. 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. 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.

Santi Carzola in particular looked out of sorts and his frustration was there for all to see as he kept giving away the ball and making awful passes. Arsenal looked lacking in the final 3rd of the pitch and despite the fact that they had only 5 regular players who started the game, Arsenal did not look like a side that could challenge for the league. However winning when not playing well is the mark of champions and 3 points is 3 points. It was important to start the season with a win and the team will gel as the weeks pass.

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