Sunday 24 September 2017

Gunners survive late Murray scare

Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2

(L-R) Per Mertesacker of Arsenal, Damien Delaney of Crystal Palace, Jordon Mutch of Crystal Palace and Calum Chambers of Arsenal battle for the ball inside the Arsenal box
(L-R) Per Mertesacker of Arsenal, Damien Delaney of Crystal Palace, Jordon Mutch of Crystal Palace and Calum Chambers of Arsenal battle for the ball inside the Arsenal box
Alexis Sanchez fires the ball wide past Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (12) celebrates as he scores their second goal
Pape N'Diaye Souare of Crystal Palace tangles with Alexis Sanchez
Glenn Murray (17) gets to the ball ahead of David Ospina to make it Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2

Mark Bryans

Arsene Wenger believes his Arsenal side may have "switched off" towards the end of their victory over Crystal Palace as they escaped with a 2-1 win.

The visitors had eased into a two-goal lead at half-time courtesy of an early Santi Cazorla penalty and an Olivier Giroud strike just before the break.

But Palace rallied in the second half and had Arsenal defending deep, with substitute Glenn Murray scoring a stoppage-time consolation before cracking a post with the last meaningful touch of the game.

Arsenal moved third with the win and, while Wenger praised his players' fighting spirit, he conceded they suffered a lapse in concentration as Palace pinned them back in search of a point. "Certainly they thought that it was done," he said of his players. "We know in the Premier League that it's never done, especially at 2-0. With that ball on the post, we were a bit fortunate.

"We can learn from every game. I believe that the players know that maybe they switched off a little bit too early. Overall, I still must say that our central defenders played very well today against a very direct and a very physical game at the back.

"We missed goal number three and, when they came back to 2-1, we were a bit lucky, a bit fortunate. We did well so, overall, I'm pleased to have won three points in a place like this ."

Eagles boss Alan Pardew was left berating referee Mark Clattenberg as he felt Pape Souare's foul on Danny Welbeck, that led to Cazorla's penalty, occurred outside of the box, with Welbeck then offside in the build-up to Giroud's strike. Despite defeat, Pardew hailed his side's performance as the best he has seen since taking over at Selhurst Park at the turn of the year.

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