Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez scores twice for Gunners
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 29/12/17 7:58am
Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal ended Crystal Palace's eight-match unbeaten run with an entertaining 3-2 victory at Selhurst Park on Thursday.
Shkodran Mustafi put the Gunners ahead midway through an impressive first-half showing in Arsene Wenger's record-equalling 810th Premier League game.
Andros Townsend levelled shortly after half-time as Palace fought back, but Sanchez responded with two goals in four minutes, the second coolly finished from Jack Wilshere's pass over the top.
Crystal Palace: Speroni (4), Kelly (5), Tomkins (7), Dann (5), Schlupp (5), Milivojevic (6), Cabaye (5), Loftus-Cheek (6), Townsend (7), Zaha (7), Benteke (5)
Subs: McArthur (5), Sako (5), Fosu-Mensah (5)
Arsenal: Cech (5), Koscielny (6), Mustafi (7), Chambers (6), Bellerin (7), Wilshere (7), Xhaka (6), Kolasinac (6), Ozil (7), Sanchez (8), Lacazette (5)
Subs: Coquelin (5), Maitland-Niles (5)
Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez
An 89th-minute header from James Tomkins gave Palace hope, but Arsenal held on to move level on points with Tottenham and one behind fourth-placed Liverpool. Roy Hodgson's side remain just a point above the relegation zone.
Arsenal were largely in the ascendancy throughout the first half and, after Mesut Ozil failed to finish following a slick passing move, Mustafi fired in the opener as Julian Speroni could only parry out a cross to him.
The visitors should have extended their lead before the break as Speroni made a sharp stop to deny Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette shot wide after quick footwork on the edge of the box.
Ozil passed up another chance and Hector Bellerin missed the target with a close-range volley, before Palace levelled with their first shot on target as Zaha skipped past Chambers on the left side and pulled back for Townsend to finish.
The momentum looked to be with Palace after the equaliser, but a quickfire double from Sanchez put Arsenal back in front.
Sanchez rifled in at the near post in the 62nd minute and then slipped a shot past Speroni after Wilshere's ball over the defence from halfway.
Zaha seemed to have spurned Palace's best chance to score again when he headed wide at the back post, and they could not get back into the game even though Tomkins headed in from a corner in the 89th minute.
- Arsenal have won more Premier League London derbies (120) than any other side.
- Roy Hodgson has won just one of his last 12 Premier League matches against Arsenal (D3 L8).
- Arsene Wenger took charge of his 810th game as a Premier League manager in this match (P810 W468 D197 L145); equalling Sir Alex Ferguson's Premier League record.
- Jack Wilshere started in four consecutive Premier League games for Arsenal for the first time since March 2014.
- Crystal Palace have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 10 Premier League home games - their longest such run since May 2015 (15).
Roy Hodgson: "The second goal was difficult having worked so hard in the first half to try to contain them. To get to 1-1 and then go down 2-1 you knew it was going to be an uphill task, but I have to give the players a lot of credit because we conceded a third and many teams would have capitulated and we certainly didn't do that.
Arsene Wenger: "It was convincing, the second half was more difficult than the first because we didn't take advantage of the chances we created. When you come here it's a difficult game for everybody - to go home with the three points you need to suffer a little bit, and we did that tonight."
Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez
With his contract running down, Sanchez has been criticised for some of his performances this season, but he was key for Arsenal at Selhurst Park. His finish to make it 2-1 was precise - drilling a shot past Speroni at the near post - and his second was composed as he slipped the ball past the goalkeeper from Wilshere's pass.
Palace will be looking to prevent Premier League leaders Manchester City win their 19th straight league game when they meet at Selhurst Park on Sunday. They then travel to Southampton on Tuesday, January 2. Arsenal's next two games are live on Sky Sports Premier League as they go to West Brom on Sunday and then host Chelsea on Wednesday, January 3.