Aug 16, 2014 at 5.30pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Crystal Palace
Koscielny (46'), Ramsey (91')
Chambers (44'), Cazorla (60')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Hangeland (35')
Puncheon (48'), Chamakh (68'), Kelly (77')
Puncheon (87')

Match Analysis: Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace

Sports Mole dissects the action as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in their Premier League opener at the Emirates.

Aaron Ramsey scored in second-half stoppage time to help Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 2-1 on Saturday evening.

Brede Hangeland had sent Palace into a first-half lead in the Premier League clash, but Laurent Koscielny equalised late in the first period to leave the two sides on level terms at the interval.

Palace lost Jason Puncheon to a red card in the latter stages, but worse news was to follow, with Ramsey tapping home from close range to secure all three points for the home side in their season opener.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the capital rivals.

Match statistics

Shots: 11
On target: 6
Possession: 76%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 13

Crystal Palace
Shots: 2
On target: 2
Possession: 24%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 19

Was the result fair?

Statistics rarely paint a false picture and the fact that Arsenal dominated all of the important areas this evening is an fair indication of the events that occurred in north London. That said, the Gunners really struggled to create clear openings in the final third and Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni did not have too much to do aside from pick the ball out of his own net on two occasions. It was a like a training match for long spells, with Arsenal on the ball and Palace retreating into a defensive shape. Due to the away side's work-rate, a point may well have been the right result, but, on the balance of play, Arsenal just about deserved it. Even if it came in the cruellest way possible for Palace at that stage of the match.

Arsenal's performance

The Gunners have been tipped to challenge for the title this season, but they were not great today it must be said. Their build-up was slow and predictable, while Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez both struggled in the final third. The likes of Ramsey - until he scored - and Jack Wilshere were also quiet, but as the top sides often manage to, they found a way to win the match. Arsenal stopper Wojciech Szczesny had his feet up for much of the 90 minutes, however, and Palace's opener did come against the run of play. Had Arsenal trailed 1-0 at the break, the second period might have been different, but the equaliser right on half time certainly harmed Palace's confidence. If the Gunners are to challenge for silverware this season then they must improve, while their lack of a real midfield powerhouse could also be a problem, with Mikel Arteta somewhat of a luxury.

Palace's performance

Assistant boss Keith Millen revealed before the match that the XI selected had not been altered from the team that were due to start under Tony Pulis, who left the club on Thursday. It was a real Pulis-type performance from Palace, with plenty of emphasis placed on defending and threatening on the counter attack. However, the away side were undone by two set pieces this evening, which might just be the most difficult part of the result to take. In open play, Palace frustrated Arsenal and looked comfortable for long spells, but two lapses in concentration cost them the chance to take something from the match. There were plenty of positives, however, with the likes of Martin Kelly, Joel Ward and Marouane Chamakh all impressing. Palace have been tipped to struggle this season following the departure of Pulis, but there is plenty of heart in their team and with a couple more additions, they should be good enough for another comfortable finish this term.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Martin Kelly: Kelly, who arrived at Palace from Liverpool just last week, has had his fair share of injury problems over the last couple of years, but when fit, he is a really fine defender. The right-back showed his best form this evening with a calm and composed performance. Cazorla and Sanchez failed to get any change from the Englishman, who also offered a threat in the final third. At £1.5m, he could be one of the signings of the summer.

Biggest gaffe

Hangeland scored a brilliant opener for Palace, but he simply went to sleep on the Arsenal equaliser. A straight ball from Sanchez passed over the head of the former Fulham centre-back and Koscielny was on hand to convert into the bottom corner. Overall, the towering Norwegian had an impressive debut, but it was that one lapse that cost his team. Palace's defending for Arsenal's winner was also not too clever, with Ramsey left free inside the box.

Referee performance

Overall, it was a busy 90 minutes for referee Jonathan Moss, who awarded five yellow cards and sent Palace midfielder Puncheon from the field late on. There were not too many complaints about the red card, with Puncheon flying into a poor challenge with Nacho Monreal, but Moss did make some strange decisions and was guilty of being too picky on a number of occasions. That was not really the case in the first period, but the second 45 minutes became more of a feisty affair.

What next?

Arsenal: The Gunners travel to Besiktas on Tuesday evening for the first leg of their Champions League playoff, before making the trip to Everton in the league next weekend.

Palace: Palace will look to put some points on the board when they welcome West Ham United to Selhurst Park next Saturday.

Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal celebrates his goal with team mate Mikel Arteta during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2014
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Result: Late Ramsey winner downs brave Palace
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