Arsenal usurped Manchester United into third place with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
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Santi Cazorla's eighth-minute penalty – the Spaniard's sixth of the season – gave Arsene Wenger's side a dream start in south-east London, after Palace new boy Pape Souare felled Danny Welbeck with a clumsy challenge inside the box. The Senegalese left-back endured another game to forget for the Eagles with an awkward display, following a difficult debut against Liverpool.
Arsenal soaked up Palace's first-half pressure from the wings and were effective on the counter-attack, with Olivier Giroud particularly impressive on his own as a relief point for the Gunners up front. It was the Frenchman who began the work for Arsenal's second; a sweeping move which resulted in the Frenchman nudging in a rebound after Welbeck's initial effort was saved by Julian Speroni.
Palace toiled out wide and peppered Arsenal's box with crosses throughout, but the Eagles were thwarted in their attempts to reply until substitute Glenn Murray jabbed home an injury-time consolation. Moments later Murray hit the post, with Alan Pardew's water bottle feeling the wrath of the late drama.
Generally, though, Palace's final balls lacked the quality needed to trouble Arsenal's back line, who held firm – if only just by full-time – to see out a professional win.
Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Swansea means Wenger's side edge a point ahead of their Old Trafford rivals, who they face in the FA Cup quarter-finals on March 9.
- Arsenal have won 8 and lost 0 of the last 11 meetings with Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- The Gunners are unbeaten in their last 12 visits to Selhurst Park to play Palace in all competitions (W7 D5).
- The Eagles have won just 7 of their 30 Premier League home London derbies.
- Olivier Giroud netted his 50th goal for Arsenal in all competitions.
- Giroud has scored 5 and assisted 3 more in his last 7 games for Arsenal in all competitions.
- Glenn Murray scored his first Premier League goal since March 2014.
- Santi Cazorla has had a hand in 6 goals in his last 5 Premier League games (3 goals, 3 assists).
- Indeed, Cazorla has scored more penalties in the Premier League this season than any of the other 19 clubs overall (6).
- Mark Clattenburg has awarded 7 penalties in 16 Premier League games this season; no referee has given more (Michael Oliver has also awarded 7).
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