Arsenal are top of the Premier League table -- at least temporarily -- following a very routine victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon. Tony Pulis' side were successful in employing their usual defensive style of football in the first half, but they were undone by a brilliant move just two minutes after the break. They couldn't recover and the Gunners ran out easy 2-0 winners.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the star on the day, scoring twice. With all of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini and Kim Källström all out injured, he was forced to start in the center of midfield. The 20-year-old made the most opportunity, scoring both of his goals in similar fashion -- off runs from deep positions.
There was only one real chance of any kind of note in the first half, with Julian Speroni making a save off an Arsenal set piece late in the second half. While Arsenal were in complete control of the half, they never looked much like scoring in a first half that was typical of a Pulis-Wenger battle.
Unfortunately for the extremely vocal visiting supporters, all of their team's hard work was immediately undone in the second half. Marouane Chamakh switched off mentally as Santi Cazorla cut inside, failing to spot Oxlade-Chamberlain making a run into the box behind him. Cazorla picked out a perfect pass and Oxlade-Chamberlain, left alone in space, applied a composed finish.
Cameron Jerome had a chance to hit back for Palace four minutes after that, but squandered his opportunity. He had a free header and the goal at his mercy from point-blank range, but instead of hitting the ball away from Wojciech Szczesny, he hit it squarely into the chest of the Arsenal keeper. The visitors would never get a better chance to score.
Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed the result for his team in the 73rd minute, finishing off a nice exchange with Olivier Giroud. He found his striker with a pass on the ground, then continued his run to get on the end of Giroud's return ball before surging into the box and beating Speroni, doubling the lead that his team would never relinquish.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Nonreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Özil (Gibbs 84'), Podolski (Rosicky 72'), Giroud (Bendtner 84')
Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain (47', 73')
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Delaney, Parr, Gabbidon, Ward, Jedinak, Dikagcoi, Puncheon, Bolasie, Jerome (Bannan 56'), Chamakh (Gayle 82')