Match Review - Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2 - Premier League
As the minutes ticked passed 90, I got up from my seat and went to grab my drink on the opposite side of the room. I thought to myself, the game was finally over with. Even if they managed to pull one back, we'd still take all three points without any issues.
Moments after that thought Crystal Palace had scored to pull the game back to 2-1. All of a sudden my inner bravado had disappeared and Crystal Palace kept coming forward. Substitute Glenn Murray who scored the Palace goal had got on the end of a marvelous Yannick Bolasie cross, pretty much his only decent delivery in his 33 minutes on the pitch. Murray got to the ball before Ospina and planted his header against the base of the post and back into the grateful arms of David Ospina.
Our defending during that injury time period was poor but that does not tell the entire story. Arsenal for the most part defended very well, especially Per Mertesacker who won almost everything in the air. The home side had targeted our full backs who are not the quickest, so both Zaha and Gayle got a lot of encouragement early on but either we defended very well or the delivery was rubbish.
It looks as if Alan Pardew had taken note of our performance at Tottenham because Palace were very aggressive in shutting us down and not allowing us time on the ball. But it was Arsenal who opened the scoring. Danny Welbeck had pounced on Souaré who took just a split second too long on the ball, Welbeck nudged the ball towards the penalty area and away from the defender who took him down on the edge of the box and the referee gave the penalty. It was a very tough call because Welbeck's touch took him and the ball inside the box.
Cazorla tucked the kick away to make it 1-0.
You can be critical of Welbeck's finishing or his haircut but I absolutely love the effort he puts in whenever he plays, no matter the opposition or what position he is playing on the pitch. Most others players in Welbeck's position would not have forced that error and that is why he is in the team.
I thought Mesut Özil showed some very classy touches and it's a shame we could not use him as much as we would have if we had to force the game. The German had a swagger about his game and looks really confident at present. Long may that continue.
We defended the inside of our penalty area very well. Ospina, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Coquelin had dealt with everything thrown at them. How many times have we played Chelsea and Manchester United in the past and had all the ball in wide areas yet were kept at arms length? The answer is a lot. The same was happening at Selhurst Park although the possession was pretty even. David Ospina hadn't had much to do but claim a few crosses in the air and that is always a good sign that you are in control.
Our craft in the final third was much better and it was that craft that put us 2-0 up. Danny Welbeck once again making something happen with a lovely diagonal run across the Palace centre backs, Alexis Sanchez played a perfect through pass onto Welbeck's left foot, and his shot rebounded off the keeper to Giroud to stab in from close range.
It wasn't Giroud's best performance but that is 8 goals in his last 11 games. His 50th goal for Arsenal. He deserves plenty of credit for coming back after such a long injury and hitting the ground running after his return to the team.
There is talk of Welbeck being offside when Alexis made the pass but I haven't seen another angle so I can't comment. Actually I can comment, I couldn't care less. We've seen enough decisions go against us in the past for me to start apologising.
It was much the same in the second half, until substitute Yannick Bolasie came on for the injured Fraizer Campbell. Bolasie caused Chambers all sorts of problems.
In stoppage time we could have thrown it all away but in the end we did enough to take away three points which puts us in third for now. Thanks to Swansea defeating Manchester United 2-1 in Wales as they had done to us earlier in the season.
Southampton vs Liverpool tomorrow should be interesting and a draw will keep us 3rd so that's what I am hoping for.
Podcast and Q&A will be out tomorrow, I'm off to sleep.