BY SAM SMITH
Christian Benteke scored his first goal in 358 days as Crystal Palace earned their first ever win at the Emirates stadium.
The Belgian headed Palace in front before Mesut Ozil equalised for Arsenal. Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur gave the Eagles breathing space with goals in quick succession, before Pierre Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a consolation.
Mohamed Elneny had fired over the crossbar before Benteke put Palace ahead. The striker was left completely unmarked in the home side’s penalty area to nod Luka Milivojevic’s set piece beyond Bernd Leno.
The Eagles were in retreat mode for the rest of the half, opting to hold Arsenal at bay before counter-attacking when possession was won.
And the hosts were limited to only a few chances. Konstantinos Mavropanos glided through the Eagles’ midfield but struck well wide, before a cross appeared to strike the arm of Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Referee Jon Moss was unmoved.
A superb double save from Leno denied Cheikhou Kouyate as Palace ended the half on top.
The Gunners made a double change at half-time and one of those subs, Alex Iwobi, was pivotal in Them levelling the score just two minutes after the break. The Nigeria international led an attack on the left which eventually found Mesut Ozil, whose clever clipped effort from a tight angle deceived Vicente Guaita and bounced up into the net.
But Palace restored their advantage on 62 minutes in completely dissimilar fashion to Arsenal’s free-flowing build up – not that Roy Hodgson will care. Benteke flicked on Guaita’s long kick and Zaha raced through on goal, calmly dispatching his effort past Leno.
Palace were excellent all afternoon, displaying the kind of efficiency at both ends of the pitch rarely seen since their fantastic end to last season.
McArthur secured the three points – and too the South Londoners’ mathematical safety in the Premier League with Cardiff’s defeat to Liverpool – heading in Scott Dann’s flick from a corner.
Aubameyang’s superb solo goal set up a nervy final 12 minutes for Palace, but Roy Hodgson’s side held on fantastically as they move up to 12th.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.