Arsenal – Crystal Palace – 2:0 (1:0)
Goals: Giroud 17’ – 1:0, Iwobi 56’ – 2:0
Arsenal: Čech, Bellerín, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneni (Coquelin 72’), Xhaka, Iwobi (Oxlade-Chamberlain 77’), Sánchez, Lucas (Ramsey 72’), Giroud
Reserve players: Ospina, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Reine Adélaïde
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Kelly, Dann, Tomkins, Ward, Flamini, Cabaye (Match 65’), Townsend (Lee 71’), Puncheon, Zaha, Benteke, (Campbell 77’)
Reserve players: Speroni, Sakho, Hasin, Michael
Cards: Monreal 83’ – Tomkins 90’
Referee: Andre Marriner
1st of January. Emirates Stadium (London)
In the first day of New Year the first round of English Premier League has finished the London derby – Arsenal met Crystal Palace. Arsène Wenger’s team has not yet said goodbye to hopes for champion’s title therefore “gunners” did not even think about losing the points. The team of Samuel Allardyce, in turn, wanted to take away points from the favorite, as “eagles”, after chief coach switch, hoped to get away from relegation-threatened side.
Mesut Özil wasn’t playing with Arsenal, as the German midfielder was unwell. In general, Arsène Wenger has made three changes in the squad of “gunners” in comparison with the last match against ” West Bromwich”. Lucas has replaced Özil, Elneni was playing instead of Coquelin, and Monreal was acting as the left defender where five days ago Gibbs was working.
It should be noted that the match on Emirates Stadium was judged by the arbitrator Andre Marriner. He celebrated his 46 birthday on the 1st of January, therefore this match was very special for the referee. Arsenal has very quickly taken the field initiative and over and over again aggravated the game near the gates of Crystal Palace. On the 17th minute Arsène Wenger’s team has opened the score. Olivier Giroud after left float from Sánchez has kicked the ball – the ball has hooked on horizontal bar and came behind the goal line of “eagles”.
Giroud scorpion kick goal!
Crystal Palace was full of desire to recoup, but as to built-in play, the team of Samuel Allardyce wasn’t very successful. The task of building the dangerous moments was complicated by the weather conditions – in northern London there was a downpour. At the very end of first half Arsenal was close to score the second goal and to strengthen its advantage. Pérez has reached the free zone and has kicked the ball but Wayne Hennessey has shot out the leg and saved his team.
Guests from the southern part of London have created the first moment after the first-half but Benteke who has crashed the rival’s defense but didn’t manage to shoot the near corner – the ball has flown near the bar. Then the initiative has completely passed to the hosts, and on the 56th minute Arsenal has strengthened its advantage. Iwobi steals in to thunk a header above two men on the line – Ward tries to get it over the top when he should get it away, succeeding only in diverting it onto the bar and in.
It should be noted that after the second missed goal Crystal Palace began to work more aggressively. Samuel Allardyce team over and over again has aggravated the game at Petr Čech zone, having forced the skilled goalkeeper to work hard. Up to final whistle the score 2:0 has remained on the board. Arsenal has won Crystal Palace in the first day of New Year.
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