The three Arsenal Frenchmen combined in stoppage time to allow Aaron Ramsey the chance to slam home the winner from close range. It was proving to be a rather frustrating afternoon for an Arsenal team who look like they are still at the beginning of a pre season regime. It was indeed frustrating until substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed a deep ball onto the head of Laurent Koscielny who headed back across goal to Giroud, Giroud helped it on to right back Debuchy who had ghosted into a centre forward position and he struck a shot against the palms of Julián Speroni but the ball had landed at the grateful feet of our Welshman to apply the finishing touch.
It was a case of what goes around comes around for Speroni and Crystal Palace, they had been attempting to time waste from early in the first half and had very little intention of borrowing the football for very long as they set their stall outside of their penalty box.
It was down to Arsenal to break them down but this Arsenal side are nowhere near sharp enough to play the brand of football needed to carve through a well organised and defensively minded team and so it proved. It was easier to physically compete against City last weekend and use the larger spaces to play but when the onus is on you to pass through walls of shirts your match sharpness needs to be at it's best. But a lot of this Arsenal squad have not played many pre season matches and should still be in the middle of pre season so we have to win games before we are at our best.
Yaya Sanogo seems a far better player when he has space to run in behind as his movement seems to be one of his strengths, instead he was static and found it difficult to get into the game. Alexis Sanchez was thrilling and frustrating in equal measure. His feet and body swerves are fantastic but he frustrated his own team mates at times when selecting the wrong option in good positions. He will get much better with games that is almost certain. Once that happens then Alexis will be a massive threat to every team in the league.
I cannot remember a time when an Arsenal first team had made so many bad passes in one 90 minutes. I couldn't believe what I was seeing at times in the second half as players usually so assured at keeping the ball were misplacing 5 yard pass after 5 yard pass. But before that, Arsenal had gone behind to yet another set piece. Hangeland was being marked by Alexis Sanchez of all people but he was shrugged away and then the new Palace signing ran into our near post zone. Sanogo could not reach the cross and Hangeland nipped in front of Koscielny to head past Szczesny.
I think all the goals we've conceded since pre season have all been from set pieces, mostly corners. Zonal marking was not seen as a problem when we were doing so well at it last season so we need to get back doing our jobs correctly from corners. With Mertesacker and Giroud back in the team, we should improve in this area.
Kos might have lost Hangeland for the opening goal but he got his own back just before half time. Alexis delivered his best ball of the match and Koscielny came alive in the box once again. Nipping ahead of Hangeland to find what was probably the only available space in the box and his finish was that of a seasoned striker. In fact his movement and ability to find space in a crowded penalty box is actually remarkable. He has done so time and time again.
I was hoping the late second half goal would spur us on and make Palace lose some confidence but it didn't turn out that way as the away side frustrated the home team.
Oliver Giroud's introduction for the largely ineffective Yaya Sanogo made a big difference. We didn't have any link between the midfield and our attack through out most of the game but once Giroud came on that changed somewhat. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on for Wilshere which allowed Cazorla to play centrally which improved his performance.
The sending off of Jason Puncheon was the correct decision following two bookings for late challenges. If not for that the game could have well ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw but the boys dug deep and found the winning goal right at the death.
While we were way off the pace, there were still some good performances. I liked what I saw from Mathieu Debuchy both defensively and offensively. Loved his passion when Ramsey got the winner. Southampton must have had some defence last season if Chambers was only a back up player. He was once again outstanding for Arsenal. Striding out of defence to pull Palace out of position with Arteta dropping back to cover. His reading of the game and tackling was also top notch. Give it a few years and this boy could well be something.
Jack Wilshere looks in better condition than last season and Nacho Monreal who had to come on for the hamstrung Gibbs did well. While Alexis needs to learn how to play the Arsenal way you can see just how much ability he has and that is exciting for the season ahead.
Certainly not vintage Arsenal but I hope this is one of those games where rival team fans look back at the season and curse their luck.
Three points is three points, better performances to come.
Check out last night's Q&A from three Gooners on Twitter.