ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN scored twice as Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium today.
With previous leaders Manchester City hosting Chelsea early tomorrow, Arsene Wenger’s team had an opportunity to regain top spot and, thanks to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first goals of the season, they seized it.
The midfielder, 20, was making just his second league start of the campaign after missing the first five months of it with a knee problem.
Wenger chose to deploy Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield and also turned to Lukas Podolski for just his fifth Premier League start of the campaign to add some creativity alongside Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla.
But Palace nullified them with surprising ease for 45 minutes as manager Tony Pulis opted to anchor Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi in front of his defense in the hope of stifling the home side.
The closest either side came in the opening half was on 34 minutes when Ozil’s freekick was met by the head of Koscielny.
However, all of Palace’s first half efforts counted for little just two minutes into the second half.
On the first occasion Jedinak failed to close down Arsenal’s midfield, Cazorla found space to clip a majestic ball over the Palace back line and Oxlade-Chamberlain ghosted into the area before lobbing over the advancing Speroni.
He then sealed the win on 73 minutes when he received the ball from substitute Rosicky and exchanged passes with Olivier Giroud before sprinting into the area and driving past Speroni.