Arsene Wenger relieved, says Arsenal were “lucky” to beat Crystal Palace


Arsenal moved into the top three with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger wasn’t too impressed.

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The Gunners raced into a 2-0 lead against Palace — Santi Cazorla scored an eight minute penalty, while Olivier Giroud cleaned up on the stroke of half time to double their lead — but were pinned back for most of the second half and Glenn Murray’s late goal set up a nervy finish for the north London club. Murray was inches away from equalizing deeper into stoppage time, as his header hit the post, but Arsenal held on.

Talking to the media after the game, Wenger was asked if his team rode their luck in the final moments at Selhurst Park.

“Perhaps, yes but it was about fighting and playing. Crystal Palace are a team who played with high intensity, a very direct game and for us it was important to resist and try to play,” Wenger said. “We did that well but at 2-0 at half-time we came out in the second half much more to protect our advantage than to continue to play and put them under pressure. We missed goal number three and when they came back to 2-1 we were a bit lucky, a bit fortunate. Overall we did fight and it was in the end a very important win for us.”

Is there a growing trend of Arsenal wilting late in games? They led against Tottenham 1-0 in their last Premier League outing and lost 2-1 with Harry Kane bagging the winner five minutes from time.  There is no real need to worry for Arsenal fans, as their club have now won five of their last six matches and have gone to one of the toughest venues in the PL and raced into a comfortable lead.

As Wenger said, the Gunners couldn’t find the key third goal and with AS Monaco coming up in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16 stage at the Emirates on Wednesday, Arsenal’s players could be forgiven for easing off the gas in the second half but they still kept their top four hopes well on track.