Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace, who sacked manager Ian Holloway on Wednesday, did a wonderful job shutting Arsenal down in the first half of the Gunners’ visit to Selhurst Park. After Arsenal dominated possession for the first ten minutes, Palace began to work their way into the match. By the end of the first half, it was the hosts that were taking the majority of the chances. They may not have actually put Wojciech Szczesny under much pressure, but Palace were looking lively and like they’d at least manage to grab a point.
It was an almost-perfect start for caretaker manager Keith Millen. But then Adlène Guédioura had to go and undo his team’s hard work, dragging Serge Gnabry down inside the area. It was a silly foul, a real striker’s challenge, as it was unlikely the defender was set to do anything more than cross the ball.
It was Mikel Arteta who stepped up to the spot. The Spaniard sent in a wonderful ball, smashing it in to the top corner. The ball hit the top of the net to drop behind Palace keeper Julian Speroni. That’s Arteta’s first goal of the Premier League season and the relief and joy on his face after the conversion were obvious.