Arsenal got their Premier League Campaign off to a winning start as they ground out a 2-1 win over 10-man Crystal Palace. The Gunners, fresh from winning the FA Community shield following a 3-0 victory over defending champions Manchester City last weekend started the game with the same first XI.
Crystal Palace – who had lost their manager (and Manager of the Year 2013/14 winner) Tony Pulis after he left on mutual consent on Thursday night – had a game plan and they played it to perfection, almost.
The second London derby of the 2014/15 English Premier League season’s opening day took an expected route as Arsenal bossed the Eagles in possession but their fans would have been disappointed they couldn’t create as many chances as they would have wanted. Star acquisition, Alexis Sanchez had a fairly rugged introduction to the English game and Calum Chambers, save a late and avoidable booking in the first half also had a good outing.
Crystal Palace took the lead completely against the run of play halfway through the first half. Arsenal’s defence and most particularly, Laurent Koscielny (who conceded the least amount of goals from set-pieces last season) failed to pick out the run of Brede Hangeland and the former Fulham captain duly guided in the ball for his first Premier League goal in 97 games.
With the first half coming to a close, Alexis Sanchez floated in a freekick from which Laurent Koscielny equalized with a finely placed header. The frenchman’s marker was incidentally Brede Hangeland with both players promptly cancelling each other out.
The second half was an almost unproductive half for the Gunners as they toiled with the ball without much end-product. In a bid to change the outcome of the game, Arsene Wenger threw on Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain in place of Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud came on for Yaya Sanogo.
The breakthrough for Arsenal came in the last minute of the game as that man Aaron Ramsey pounced on Speroni’s punch from Debuchy’s shot to score what proved to be the winner for the home side.
Arsenal now travel to Turkey to face Besiktas on Tuesday in a bid to play in the UEFA Champions League for a record 17th consecutive time.