Arsenal climbed to the third spot in the Premier League as they survived a last scare to hold on to the win against Crystal Palace.
Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud scored a goal each in the first half to give Arsenal a 2-0 advantage going into the half-time break. However, the last few minutes were tough for Arsenal as Glenn Murray scored in the stoppage time after a goalmouth scramble and then hit the post as Arsenal held on.
Arsene Wenger asserted that it was a tough game and the Gunners had to dig deep for the victory.
He said: “It was about fighting for the win. Crystal Palace made it a really tough game and we had to dig deep on a difficult pitch against a good team so I’m very happy with the win.
“Palace gave everything they had. It was like a cup game. They closed us down and stopped us playing.”
On the other hand, Crystal Palace manager, Alan Pardew, felt that his team delivered a very good performance and he felt fulfilled despite the defeat.
Pardew said: “I can’t remember being as fulfilled by a defeat for a long time. I’m so proud of the players and I feel so despondent for them to not get anything out of the game.
“From the start to the finish we had a game plan to threaten them and give them no time. We were superb, but sometimes this game can be very cruel.
“The performance from the players and the fans was exemplary. We couldn’t have done any more. I was kicking myself that we were 2-0 down because we had been so much better than that. We played the best football that we have done since I’ve been here.”
It was Santi Cazorla, who broke the deadlock as the Spaniard converted from the penalty spot after just eight minutes of play to give Arsenal the lead. Danny Welbeck won the penalty after being fouled by Souare a who was making his Premier League debut a on the edge of the box.
Palace recovered well despite conceding the early goal and Wilfried and Jason Puncheon looked lively sending in some threatening crosses into the area, testing the defenders.
With the half-time approaching, Arsenal doubled their lead through Olivier Giroud. Alexis sent in a ball to set-up Danny Welbeck, whose shot was saved by the Palace keeper, Speroni, only for Giroud to latch to the rebound and convert it.
Crystal Palace started the second half on a positive note as they looked determined to turn the result around. However, they failed to create any solid opportunities. Arsenal could have made it 3-0, as Mesut zil created a chance for Alexis Sanchez, who raced clear but could only flick his effort agonisingly wide.
The intensity of the game was at its maximum as the game went into stoppage time. Murray stabbed home from close range in the dying minutes and then nearly equalised but could only head against the post from inside the six-yard box.
The final few seconds of the game nearly cost Arsenal two points, but the away side eventually went home with three points in the bag.