Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: 6 Things We Learned

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Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace: 6 Things We Learned
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Arsenal moved back above Manchester City to the top of the Premier League with great thanks to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain double over Crystal Palace. The hard-earned 2-0 win over the visiting Eagles was the sixth time the Gunners have won by that scoreline at the Emirates this season.

Palace, managed by Tony Pulis, came to frustrate Arsenal, and frustrate they did. In an uneventful first half, the Gunners only managed a handful of attempts on the Palace goal, ably manned by Julian Speroni. 

The visitors' team-sheet seemed to suggest a conventional 4-4-2 formation. However, they lined up in a system more in line with a 4-4-1-0-1, as their five midfielders stayed deep with defending obviously on their mind.

Their cause was helped by Arsene Wenger choosing a lopsided midfield that featured three players more comfortable on the left side of the pitch. Lukas Podolski was deployed on the left with Mesut Ozil in the centre, and Santi Cazorla lined out on the right.

Podolski's game was instantly negated by the fact that he had no space to run into, as the impressive Joel Ward stayed deep and marked him out of the game. Ozil was a peripheral figure in the centre, and Cazorla looked a forlorn and frustrated figure on the right.

On the one occasion the Spaniard did stray into the center, he produced a magical pass, which Oxlade-Chamberlain tucked away for the first goal of the game.

If Wenger thought the idea of going behind would force the Eagles to come out, he was sorely wrong.

Palace continued to defend and attack on the break, and if it were not for Wojciech Szczesny, they would have equalized. 

As the game wore on, Palace began to fade, and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud combined brilliantly for the English international to fire home his second of the match as he made the game safe.

The win came courtesy of two well-taken goals from the Ox, but this was hardly an inspired Arsenal performance. It did, however, move them back to the summit of the Premier League.

Here, Bleacher Report offers six things we learned from Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace...

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