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Premier League

  • February 21, 2015
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Selhurst Park, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 24721

Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal: Cazorla, Giroud seal hard-fought win

First-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud did the damage for Arsenal on Saturday as it claimed a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Arsenal kept up the pressure on its top-four rivals as goals from Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud ensured a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The pair were on target before the interval in south London as Arsene Wenger's side moved third in the Premier League after Manchester United was beaten by Swansea City, with Southampton in action against Liverpool on Sunday.

A clumsy tackle from Pape Souare on Danny Welbeck allowed Cazorla to open the scoring from the spot after eight minutes, before Arsenal landed another blow on the stroke of halftime. Quick thinking from Giroud inside the area allowed him to prod home the second.

Substitute Glenn Murray scored late on for Palace and then struck the woodwork with another late chance, allowing the Gunners to barely hold on for the win.

Arsenal - which was able to name Jack Wilshere in the squad for the first time since November after injury - was on the back foot early on as Palace threatened down the right through Wilfried Zaha.

The home side pressed Arsenal high up the pitch but sloppy play from Premier League debutant Souare gifted the visiting side an opportunity to lead.

Referee Mark Clattenburg felt the foul on Welbeck took place inside the box and, after the official had pointed to the spot, Cazorla expertly slotted home.

It proved the only real chance of the opening 20 minutes, with Alexis Sanchez almost forcing an opportunity soon afterwards as he pressured Scott Dann into losing possession, only for Julian Speroni to come out and clear.

Palace, for all its promising spells of possession, struggled to test goalkeeper David Ospina and his defense before Arsenal made the most of its threat on the break when Giroud doubled the advantage. 

A clever pass from Francis Coquelin found Welbeck and, when the England international's effort was saved, Giroud reacted quickest to register his 50th Arsenal goal in first-half stoppage time.

Mesut Ozil had Speroni worried with a looping header that flew over the crossbar early in the second half but, like in the first period, the game continued to see Palace have spells of possession against Arsenal's threat on the counter.

Substitute Murray - on as a 79th-minute replacement for Gayle - then almost single-handedly gained Palace a point, as he first poked home a shot inside the area before hitting the post with a diving header deep into stoppage time.

However, it proved a frustrating day for Pardew as his side couldn't snatch a draw.