A late winner from Aaron Ramsey rescued the three points for Arsenal against obdurate Crystal Palace
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! It’s all over and Arsenal have won, but only just. Crystal Palace’s wretched start to the season continues; having lost their manager, they’ve played heroically well against an Arsenal side that were nowhere near their best, but still leave the Emirates with nothing.
90+5 min: Palace win a corner, but fail to capitalise on their last opportunity despite Wojiech Szczesny appearing to have some sort of breakdown that sends him sprinting around his penalty area, screaming at various people before the set piece is taken. When the ball’s eventually lofted into the penalty area, he manages to gather it on his second or third attempt.
90+3 min: Palace thought they were being very clever, interrupting Arsenal’s efforts to take a corner by making a substitution. Once Stuart O’Keefe came on, the ball was sent into the mixer, where it was half-cleared towards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He crossed into the penalty area, where Koscielny headed to Giroud, who flicked on. Debuchy shot, but his effort was blocked by Speroni, only for the ball to break to the onside and unmarked Ramsey, who buried the ball from five yards.
They scored in injury-time of the first half from a corner and they’ve scored in injury time of the second half from a corner. The unmarked Aaron Ramsey stabs home from about five yards out after some atrocious defending by Palace.
90+1 min: Arsenal score!!!
90 min: Crystal Palace substitution: Yannick Bolasie off, Stuart O’Keefe on.
89 min: Jason Puncheon receives his second yellow card, followed by a red, for a late challenge on Nacho Monreal.
87 min: Oxlade-Chamberlain attempts to cross from the right and looks on in horror as the ball flies wide. Now Debuchy wins a throw-in deep in Palace territory. Oxlade Chamberlain collects the throw-in, but crosses straight into the arms of Speroni.
85 min: Giroud drills the ball low and hard across the face of the Crystal Palace goal, tantalisingly out of the reach of his team-mates. Crystal Palace substitution: Dwight Gayle on, Frazier Campbell off.
81 min: Arsenal advance from their own half, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chambers combining, before one of them accidentally shins the ball out of play. This is classic Arsenal: they’re ongoing attempts to score the perfect goal by taking way too many touches before Arsenaling the ball into the net must be way more frustrating for their fans than it is amusing for the rest of us.
80 min: Martin Kelly is struggling with cramp, but receiving little sympathy from Arsenal fans, who are accusing him of time-wasting.
77 min: Martin Kelly gets booked for a foul on Alexis, who wins his team a free-kick between the touchline and the left-hand side of the penalty area. The Chilean opts to take the free kick himself, but sends his cross/shot fizzing high and wide of the Palace goal. The quality of dead-ball delivery from both teams has been fairly risible this evening.
76 min: Nacho Monreal crosses from the left, attempting to pick out Olivier Giroud in the Palace penalty area. Despite making a good run, Giroud fails to make contact by this much.
75 min: Palace substitution: Scott Dann is forced off with a thigh injury and is replaced by Damien Delaney.
74 min: Joel Ward takes on Mikel Arteta down the left flank, but fails to win the corner his efforts probably deserved. Goal kick for Arsenal.
72 min: Olivier Giroud appears to fall over while standing near Brede Hangeland. He appeals for a penalty, backed by several thousand Arsenal fans, but doesn’t get one.
71 min: Aaron Ramsey tries his luck with a shot from distance, but the ball gets caught under his feet and he can’t fire off a clear round. Julian Speroni saves his fairly feeble effort comfortably. Arsenal substitution: Jack Wilshere off, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
70 min: Santi Cazorla wins another corner for Arsenal afgter sopm,e nifty footwork in the Palace penalty area. Nothing comes of it and Palace clear.
66 min: Marouane Chamakh gets booked for barging Jack Wilshere moments after being told he was on his final warning by referee Jon Moss.
65 min: Excellent interception from Scott Dann, who slides in to prevent a glorious pass from deep making its way into the path of Monreal, who’d caught Martin Kelly napping and made an excellent run.
63 min: Arsenal appeal half-heartedly for a penalty after a suspected handball by Chamakh on the edge of his own penalty area, as he stopped to intercept a cross. Looking at the replay, I reckon that should have been a penalty. It was definitely a handball, but whether or not it was inside the penalty area is a matter for debate. I’d need to see it again to make an informed decision.
61 min: Santi Cazorla stretches in an attempt to pick up a pass from Aaron Ramsey and fouls Joe Ledley. Yellow card. Arsenal substitution: Olivier Giroud on, Yaya Sanogo off.
57 min: A nudge in the back by Scott Dann on Jack Wilshere earns Arsenal a free-kick over by the left touchline. The ball’s swung into the mixer, where Martin Kelly concedes a corner. Cazorla does the honours and Palace clear.
55 min: Palace embark on a counter-attack with three-on-three after Hangeland mugs Cazorla in the centre-circle. Hangeland plays the ball to Campbell, who picks out Puncheon, who has a shot blocked. The ball breaks to Chamakh, who returns it to Puncheon. He shoots tamely, straight at Wojiech Szczesny.
54 min: The ball’s played back to Alexis and he crosses into the Palace penalty area. Mile Jedinak heads clear.
53 min: Calum Chambers drills the ball low and hard up the inside right channel towards Alexis, but Joel Ward clears.
52 min: Arsenal substitution: Nacho Monreal on, Kieran Gibbs off.
51 min: Kieran Gibbs looks like he might not be long for this game. He appears to have done his hamstring a mischief. It doesn’t look like he’s torn it, but he’s definitely in discomfort.
49 min: Arsenal go forward, the ball down the middle aimed towards Jack Wilshere, but Scott Dann clears. Mile Jedinak attempts to play the ball foreward to Frazier Campbell, but Calum Chambers intervenes.
48 min: Jason Puncheon gets booked for some manner of indiscretion or other.
47 min: Crystal Palace win a corner and Brede Hangeland manages to give Laurent Koscielny the slip once again. Fortunately for the Arsenal defender, Yannick Bolasie’s delivery doesn’t find its way to the giant Norwegian’s head.
46 min: Arsenal get the second half under way. There have been no changes on either side. That might sound like Arsenal-bashing, but it’s not meant to. They genuinely haven’t brought on any substitutes.
Re: Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher’s pre-match criticism of Arsenal: “Carragher and Neville are really out of their depth her,” writes William Marzouk. “You don’t need a spine. Witness the jellyfish. Zoology’s great survivors. Been around billions of years, floating on the briny sea, stinging helpless dinosaurs out for a day at the beach, and still here a billion years later.”
David White writes: “Arsenal’s preseason seems to have included a considerable amount of focus on hairstyles - in particular the nouveau Teddy boy look as sported by Ramsey, Wilshere, Chambers, Sanchez, Cazorla and Giroud,” he writes, bashing Arsenal. Everyone’s at it - stop bashing Arsenal.
Sound the “bias” klaxon! “Another Arsenal basher in the popular media, then? How refreshing,” writes Robert H, who doesn’t specify what exactly it was I wrote that earmarked me as an “Arsenal-basher”.
I’m guessing it was either my banal observation that Crystal Palace fans make more noise than their Arsenal counterparts, or else my outrageous bias in reporting that Palace had gone a goal up. Lazy journalism, tut.
Half-time admin: Moments before Arsenal scored, Calum Chambers was booked for a foul on Frazier Campbell.
Half-time: The sides go in all square, with each having scored a conceded a soft headed goal from a set piece. Arsenal won a free-kick when Alexis was tripped by Martin Kelly and the Chilean promptly whipped the ball towards the edge of the six-yard box. There, Koscielny got in front of Hangeland to nod into the bottom corner.
Having allowed Hangeland to get in front of him at the near post to score Palace’s goal, Laurent Koscielny atones for his error, stooping to nod a floated Alexis free-kick past Speroni from six yards.
43 min: Arsenal win a free-kick on the edge of the final third and referee John Moss gets out his aerosol can of vanishing spray. Perhaps due to the excitement of using it for the first time, his trigger finger gets the better of him and he accidentally sprays himself and Santi Cazorla in the face with it. Nothing comes from the ensuing free-kick.
42 min: Just before the goal, I was bringingi you news of an attempt by Chamakh to lob Szczesny from distance after the goalkeeper had been forced to rush off his line to clear a long punt from the back, which Campbell was chasing. He didn’t come close to scoring, but his audacious move resulted in Laurent Koscielny diving in on Frazier Casmpbell and conceding the corner from which Palace scored.
38 min: Having seen that Hangeland goal again, I’d describe it as more of a glancing header than a “thumping” one. Arsenal were marking zonally and it seems to have been new boy Alexis who should have been out to clear Jason Puncheon’s corner to the near post.
37 min: Santi Cazorla fires a low drive between Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley, which the Welshman half blocks to put out for a corner. Cazorla sends in another poor delivery, which Martin Kelly clears for Palace.
Well you have to hand it to Arsenal. After 34 minutes of total dominance, they give Brede Hangeland free rein to thump the ball past Szczesny from a corner to give Crystal Palace the lead against the run of play.
33 min: Marouane Chamakh attempts to beat Wojiech Szczesny from about 50 yards after the goalkeeper ... oh, hold on.
31 min: Ha-ha! Crystal Palace win a free-kick deep inside their own half and Speroni takes it. He dawdles again, like a golfer eyeing up an iron shot towards the green during the final round of the Masters. The crowd start whistling their displeasure again, but the referee’s yellow card remains in his pocket.
30 min: Speroni continues to take an age over his goal kicks, prompting whistles of derision from the Arsenal fans and obvious irritation from Arsene Wenger. Referee Jon Moss signals to the goalkeeper to hurry up.
29 min: Julian Speroni gets down low to his right and parries a rasping Jack Wilshere effort from distance out for a corner. Cazorla’s delivery - an attempt to pick out Alexis at the near post - is poor and Palace end up with a goal kick.
28 min: Ramsey eschews the opportunity to shoot from just outside the penalty area, choosing instead to play a short pass wide to Kieran Gibbs. Oh, Arsenal.
26 min: Sanogo shoots low and diagonally across the face of goal from just inside the Crystal Palace penalty area, when perhaps he might have been better off playing the ball inside to Alexis. Wide.
25 min: Santi Cazorla plays the ball out towards the right again, this time to Debuchy. He sends an aimless cross drifting vaguely in the direction of Sanogo, but Brede Hangeland beats him in the air.
23 min: It ought to come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever attended a match in the Emirates or Selhurst Park to learn that the home crowd have been outsung by the visiting Crystal Palace fans for the opening 23 minutes.
22 min: Santi Cazorla plays the ball wide to Alexis, who beats Joel Ward and sends in a cross that is overhit. Arsenal are in complete control, but for all their dominance, Julian Speroni still hasn’t had to make a save.
22 min: Palace play the ball long to Marouane Chamakh on the edge of the penalty area. He knocks it down for Joe Ledley, but Arsenal clear.
19 min: With less than a quarter of the match gone, Arsene Wenger is already getting the hump with the length of time Julian Speroni is taking over his goal-kicks.
18 min: Jack Wilshere gets caught in possession in the centre-circle and the ball’s played wide to Palace right-back Martin Kelly. Palace manage to string four or five passes together for the first time before Joel Ward miscontrols and allows the ball out for a throw-in over by the left touchline.
18 min: Alexis tries his luck with a speculative effort. Wide.
16 min: No goals after quarter of an hour, but Crystal Palace are hanging in there by the skin of their teeth. Arsenal are completely bossing midfield and on the rare occasions Palace do get a chance to counter, they’re giving away the ball far too cheaply.
15 min: Wilshere picks out Gibbs on the left touchline and he promptly wins a corner. Santi Cazorla swings the ball in from the left, which Sanogo attempts to divert goalwards by cocking his leg, much like a dog might when relieving himself on a lamp-post.
13 min: With his sole contributions thus far having been restricted to giving the ball away, Yannick Bolasie finally gets on the ball on the left wing. He embarks on a mazy dribble and attempts to slalom his way into the Arsenal penalty area. Denied.
11 min: Crystal Palace earn some much -needed respite when Mikel Arteta upends Frazier Campbell to conede a free-kick in the centre of the park.
10 min: Calum Chambers plays the ball out of defence and Arsenal go on the attack again. The ball finds its way to Alexis, who is dispossessed by Joel Ward.
9 min: Arsenal continue to press relentlessly, but Crystal Palace stand firm. Mile Jedinak makes a crucial interception when it looked like Yaya Sanogo might score. In so much as it ever looks like Yaya Sanogo might score.
8 min: Jack Wilshire drills the ball forward towards the edge of the penalty area, where Aaron Ramsey runs on to it. The Welsh international goes down under a challenge from Scott Dann and the Gooners behind the goal appeal for a penalty. None is forthcoming and replays suggest that’s the correct decision. Dann stood his ground and didn’t foul Ramsey.
6 min: Arsenal try to find a way through the 10 men Crystal Palace have behind the ball, pressing and probing for an opening. Most of their efforts are being focussed down the right, where Alexis and Debuchy are proving most industrious.
5 min: Debuchy’s in the thick of the action again, diving in midfield to intercept a pass with his head.
4 min:Ramsey attempts to pick out Mathieu Debuchy with a raking pass from midfield towards the corner flag. There’s too much welly on it and the ball goes wide.
3 min: Down by the corner, Alexis pings the ball into space for Mathieu Debuchy to cross from the right with a clever reverse pass that elicits applause from the Emirates faithful. The full-back’s cross is cleared.
2 min: Joel Ward attempts to make ground down the left flank, but is dispossessed by Alexis.
1 min: Crystal Palace kick off and go straight on the attack, with Frazier Campbell surging through the centre and almost catching the home side napping. Good start.
Not long now: The teams make their way out on to the Emirates pitch, with Arsenal’s players wearing their customary home kit of red shirts with white sleeves, white shorts, and red and white hooped socks. Crystal Palace’s players are kitted out in yellow shirts, light blue shorts and light blue socks. It’s a very summery look.
Arsene Wenger speaks: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really listening. I was watching him speak and I could hear the sound of words coming out of his mouth, but none of it really registered.
I think he finished up by saying something about avoiding the embarrassment of last season, but I’m not sure which particular one he was talking about. Back in the Sky studios, pundit Jamie Carragher is writing off Arsenal’s chances of winning the league, in much the same way as Gary Neville did a few minutes ago. He thinks that Arsenal are sadly lacking in the “spine” department.
Keith Millen speaks: Crystal Palace’s caretaker manager says that the team he’s sending out to face Arsenal this evening is the same one that he and Tony Pulis had in mind all week, save for the absence of Adrian Mariappa, who misses out due to injury. He insists that Palace won’t be content to sit back and defend today, but will attempt to be more proactive when in possession.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Arteta, Sanchez, Ramsey, Cazorla, Sanogo.
Subs: Rosicky, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal, Martinez,
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Dann, Hangeland, Ward, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Chamakh, Campbell.
Subs: McCarthy, O’Keefe, Hennessey, Gayle, Murray, Bannan, Delaney.
Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)
Good evening sports fans. Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at the Emirates, in a fixture that - if nothing else - ought to ensure that my Tube home to sarf-west Lahndan from Guardian Towers this evening is jam-packed full of middle-aged men wearing over-priced red and white polyester, with a smattering of travelling Palace fans thrown in for good measure.
It’s been an upsetting week for Eagles fans, who learned on Thursday evening that their manager Tony Pulis had quit the club in a disagreement over transfers with the club’s co-owner, Steve Parish. Having performed all manner of miracles to keep Palace in the Premier League last season, Pulis had made only three notable signings this summer: Brede Hangeland from Fulham, Frazier Campbell from Cardiff City and Martin Kelly from Liverpool. Indeed, he left the club the day after Kelly had inked his contract, prompting the defender to joke that “I didn’t think I trained that badly yesterday.” With Pulis gone, Keith Millen will take charge of the Palace first team for this evening’s fixture.
Meanwhile at the Emirates, Arsenal come into this match having impressed against Manchester City reserves in the Community Shield last Sunday and all eyes will be on Alexis Sanchez, the squirrel from Tocopilla, as he makes his competitive debut for the home side and his manager is confident he will be a success. “”I think he will be very quick to adapt,” said Arsène Wenger. “He is very keen. He is a player who is proactive, wants to make things happen, runs at people. He is committed. I believe he has all the ingredients to be a very good Premier League player. I am happy with our signings. [Mathieu] Debuchy, [Calum] Chambers and Sanchez have integrated well with the team. We are not destabilised. It is a strong re-enforcement of our squad.”