Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 0
Giroud 17, Iwobi 56,

Arsenal produced another resilient performance with star quality from Olivier Giroud’s opener and Alex Iwobi’s second half header to double the Gunners lead. With their rivals all picking up maximum points ahead of kick off, Arsenal responded with Giroud’s stunning back flick to hit Crystal Palace after 17 minutes. Under pressure from two yellow shorted Palace defenders, Giroud defied all the angles to get off a shot which looped over the tall frame of Wayne Hennessey. The visitors attempt to stage any kind of comeback was thwarted by Iwobi’s second and some late saves from Petr Cech. Palace then failed to effectively deal with the late pace from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who gave the tiring visitors back line a torrid time. Back to back home wins and clean sheets will be welcome news for Arsene Wenger’s side who appear to be showing signs of recovery from their pre-Christmas losses to Everton and Manchester City. The Arsenal boss would later describe Giroud’s goal as ” a work of art,” and it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Mesut Özil was a notable absence from the Gunners starting line up, which saw Gabriel keep his place with the fit again Shkodran Mustafi on the bench. The omens were there from early Arsenal pressure for a side who hadn’t been beaten at home by Palace since 1994.

An early Mohamed Elneny half chance went begging and Alexis struck just wide of target as the Gunners began to fire. After sixteen minutes, Iwobi saw his shot held by Hennessey from from a Lucas Perez pass after some good work from Hector Bellerin in the build up.

A minute later and Arsenal had spectacularly taken the lead.

Perez tracked back to win possession deep in his own half. Away came Bellerin and Giroud with a neat touch to keep the move going. The ball released Iwobi, with Granit Xhaka also in support. Wide on the left, Alexis had motored along in possession and as he looked up, he saw that so had Giroud. The Chile striker put over his cross which although behind Giroud, the Arsenal striker flicked the ball with an outstretched heel to loop the ball over a startled Hennessey. It was as exquisite as it was brilliant and Arsenal had the lead after 17 minutes.

Midway through the half, Monreal almost stole in as Andros Townsend got caught with a defensive fumble. More Arsenal pressure saw Elneny then hit wide from Iwobi’s lay back. Arsenal were fizzing the ball about in a familiar fashion, but one which hadn’t been much in evidence of late. Quick passing and strong backing up as the Gunners stirred despite the absence of the influential Özil.

Perez was enjoying his start and his energy levels saw him race away of the Palace defence but then just fail to control a through ball when he seemed odds in to get a shot away. Alexis then flashed just wide and there were huge away end cheers when Petr Cech gathered from Yohan Cabaye after 37 minutes with the visitors first attempt on the Gunners’ goal.

On the stroke of half time, Alexis saw another effort saved by Hennessey and then the Chile striker hit at Hennessey following another passing move from deep. The Palace keeper was being kept busy as Arsenal finished the half strong as Alexis almost capitalised on a defensive mix up.

Perhaps their best opportunity to draw level was squandered by Christian Benteke. Just two minutes after the break, the Palace striker rose to head down but wide from Towsend’s cross. Arsenal responded with another piece of Alexis magic, but his cross just eluded Perez. Scott Dann was then called on to block from Alexis.

When. Monreal kept the ball in tight from the throw in line, he fed Alexis. The Arsenal number 7 played in Perez, but his hot was angled high.

With their next move, Arsenal doubled their lead. Iwobi kept his eyes on the ball to head in from Monreal’s cross. Hennessey didn’t deal with the danger, as Iwobi aimed his header in over the heads of Dann and Joel Ward on the line.

Palace now facing a two goal deficit suddenly began to play. Puncheon’s corner and Cech held Benteke’s header. The Arsenal ‘ keeper then saved the follow up and punched clear from Townsend.

Townsend then tested Cech with the Gunners’ keeper palming away to give away a corner.

At the other end, Hennessey had to gather a Bellerin cross as Arsenal threatened again. Still searching for his first home goal, Xhaka’s shot from Alexis pass was blocked for a corner.

Wenger adjusted his line up by bringing on Francis Coquelin, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain for Elneny, Perez and Iwobi respectively.

With eight minutes of time remaining, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pace was the last thing the Palace defence wanted to contend with. He stormed past Ward, but Kelly was there to mop up the danger with clearance from an unguarded goal.

On 88 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain fed Ramsey to work an opening but strike just wide of the Palace post as Arsenal finished strongly with Xhaka’s free kick and Oxlade-Chamberlain who saw his shot saved by Hennessey after some more good work from Alexis.

Another home win and now the Gunners will need to keep their Premier League winning momentum going when they travel to Bournemouth in 48 hours time.