Atleast for a day Arsenal went back to the top of the English Premier League after they heaved & hawed during a 2-0 victory at the Emirates stadium over Crystal Palace. Following a goalless first half, in which Palace were doggedly defending their goal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got his first of the season when he finished calmly after intelligent play from Santi Cazorla. Palace could have had an equalizer but Cameron Jerome’s diving header was excellently saved by Wojciech Szczesny. Oxlade-Chamberlain then doubled his tally for the season after he combined with team-mate Olivier Giroud. Until that point it looked like being a frustraling afternoon for or Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as Tony Pulis’s Palace appeared content to play for a point.
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.
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. Arsenal have 55 points after 24 games played.