Own goal earns Arsenal victory at Crystal Palace

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (left) and Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye battle for the ball

Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (left) and Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye battle for the ball - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal needed an own goal from Palace captain Damien Delaney to get their season up and running as they edged Sunday’s derby clash at Selhurst Park.

Olivier Giroud fired the Gunners into a 16th-minute lead, but Joel Ward rifled a 25-yard equaliser and the game was ultimately settled early in the second half when Delaney diverted an Alexis Sanchez header into his own net.

It was no surprise that Arsenal restored Sanchez to their starting line-up and the Chilean wasted no time in making himself a nuisance to the Eagles’ back line.

When Yohan Cabaye’s volley was charged down, the visitors broke and Mesut Ozil fed Sanchez, whose initial effort was stopped by Ward – but the rebound was fired through the legs of Alex McCarthy, only for James McArthur to clear off the line.

Sanchez went close again, skipping away from Ward and cutting inside to thump a shot that Pape Souare blocked – but the opener was not long in coming.

This time Sanchez took full advantage of Ward’s slip, releasing Ozil to supply a cross that was met by Giroud’s left-foot scissor kick and sailed beyond the diving McCarthy.

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Sanchez might have increased the Gunners’ advantage soon afterwards, forcing a low save from McCarthy and then heading Nacho Monreal’s cross over.

But Ward atoned for his earlier error with a clinical equaliser in the 28th minute, drilling accurately into the bottom corner after Yannick Bolasie and McArthur had combined to set him up.

Arsenal might have regained the lead when Giroud’s cross found Aaron Ramsey, whose casual flick failed to beat McCarthy, while Wilfried Zaha tested Petr Cech at the other end.

And it was Zaha whose superb cross almost created a second Palace goal at the start of the second half, with Connor Wickham crashing a first-time half-volley against the post.

Instead, however, Arsenal regained the lead 10 minutes after the restart as Sanchez met Hector Bellerin’s cross with a header that Delaney diverted into his own net.

The home side responded, with Bolasie wrong-footing Bellerin but failing to find enough power to beat Cech, while Wickham was off target with a shot on the turn soon afterwards.

Both sides used up their full allocation from the bench, but there were few further scoring opportunities – although Ramsey went close with a volley on the turn that sizzled just over the bar.

Palace pumped a series of crosses into the Arsenal box during the closing stages but, apart from a Ward header that flew straight into the hands of Cech, the visitors’ defence held firm to secure their first points of the new campaign.

Crystal Palace: McCarthy; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Cabaye, McArthur (Bamford 80); Bolasie (Mutch 45), Puncheon, Zaha (Lee 76); Wickham.

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin (Oxlade-Chamberlain 64), Cazorla; Ramsey, Ozil (Gibbs 83), Sanchez (Arteta 75); Giroud.

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