Live Updates

16.00 GMT - Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

<video width="626" height="352" poster="" controls="controls"><source src="" type="video/mp4">
Arsenal transfer targets: Who will the club sign in January?IBTimes UK
<video width="626" height="352" poster="" controls="controls"><source src="" type="video/mp4">
Arsenal transfer targets: Who will the club sign in January?IBTimes UK
  • Fourth-place Arsenal can move into third with a victory over relegation battlers at the Emirates Stadium
  • The Gunners, 12 points adrift of runaway leaders Chelsea, bounced back from consecutive away defeats at the hands of Everton and Manchester City to record a 1-0 victory over West Brom on Boxing Day
  • Arsene Wenger's side have lost none of their last eight home matches in the Premier League
  • Sam Allardyce, appointed to succeed Alan Pardew in December, takes charge of Crystal Palace for only the second time after his first match ended in a 1-1 draw at Watford
  • The Eagles have won just one of their last 12 top-flight games and currently sit 17th - two points clear of the bottom three

That is all for this live blog, but stay tuned to IBTimes UK for all the reaction to that wonderful Giroud goal.

We will also be back tomorrow to bring you another six-game slate of festive Premier League fixtures that includes Sunderland vs Liverpool, Manchester City vs Burnley and West Ham vs Manchester United.

Farewell for now.

Allardyce's wait for his first win as Palace boss continues, meanwhile. The Eagles, who have won just one of their last 13 top-flight matches, remain 17th and two points clear of the bottom three.

They host Swansea City in a proverbial relegation six-pointer on Tuesday evening. Defeat in that one is surely unthinkable.

Sam Allardyce
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Another comfortable home league win sends Arsenal into third. The Gunners, three behind Liverpool, now trail leaders Chelsea by nine points ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Bournemouth.

Tottenham quickly drop a place and Manchester City fall out of the top four altogether.

That Giroud effort will certainly live long in the memory. Make sure you see it, if you somehow haven't already.


Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace

Arsenal are denied a third goal in the final minute of added time. Hennessey gets down low to his right and keeps out Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot with a strong one-handed save.

Three minutes of added time have been signalled by the fourth official. Arsenal are easing towards a comfortable first victory of 2017.

Tomkins is deservedly cautioned for upending Ramsey. Xhaka has a shot blocked.

Cech gathers a Palace cross without issue and Arsenal, seeking to add a bit more gloss to the scoreline, move forward again through Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The supposed Liverpool transfer target finds Ramsey, who cleverly creates a couple of yards of separation from Tomkins before drilling a shot wide.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown an impressive burst of pace since coming on, comprehensively beating his marker around the outside before producing a low pass into the six-yard box that is hacked away by Kelly at a crucial moment.

Zaha's trademark trickery bamboozles Monreal and Coquelin. The former accepts a booking for cynically stopping the Ivory Coast winger.

With his header likely having ensured a second successive victory, Iwobi is withdrawn in favour of the returning Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Sanchez's cross for Giroud is just too high for the Frenchman and Hennessey makes an initial clearance before Dann sends the ball crashing into a teammate.

Some of Palace's defending this afternoon can best be described as haphazard.

Ward is somewhat harshly penalised for a robust challenge on Bellerin in which he appeared to take ball before man. The subsequent free-kick comes to nothing.

Allardyce's final change is up front. Frazier Campbell comes on for Benteke.

A raft of substitutes now as Wenger sends on Aaron Ramsey and Coquelin in place of Elneny and Lucas. Allardyce, meanwhile, swaps Townsend for Chung-Yong Lee.

Jason Puncheon looks to send in an enticing free-kick but his deep delivery goes behind for a goal kick.

Bellerin's low cross towards Giroud is kept out by the foot of Hennessey and Kelly accidentally blasts the rebound into teammate Dann.

Xhaka's shot is turned behind by Ward. Palace really need to get out and stop defending so deep.

With his team at last posing a genuine attacking threat, Allardyce looks to his bench for the first time in the 65th minute.

Cabaye makes way for Jordon Mutch, a player who appeared surplus to requirements under Pardew but now has another chance to make a positive impression.

A dangerous cross from Townsend makes life difficult for Cech and he turns the ball behind for a corner.

Arsenal then attempt to counter before Zaha launches a quite dreadful strike into the stratosphere.

Palace suddenly spark into life at 2-0 down and Cech produces a string of fine saves in quick succession to deny Benteke, Cabaye and Townsend.

There was also a fresh-air shot there from Kelly that, had he made contact, would surely have nestled in the back of the net.

The Gunners double their lead and strengthen that grip on third place. After seeing an initial drive blocked, Sanchez gets the ball back and releases Monreal with a low pass.

The Spaniard's subsequent cross is cleared high into the air by a sliding Dann and Iwobi heads the loose ball home via a deflection from Tomkins and an attempted Joel Ward clearance that comes down off the underside of the crossbar.

Game over?

Joel Ward
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Alex Iwobi
GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace (Alex Iwobi)

Monreal gets the better of Townsend and Sanchez bursts forward for Arsenal. He eventually opts to play in Perez, whose poor first touch takes him too far wide of goal.

He tries to rectify the situation with a cross that sails behind for a goal kick.

Pinball in the Palace box as Allardyce's side concede a corner and then cling on for dear life. Sanchez's shot crashes into Scott Dann before Elneny volleys into row z.

Palace carve out a decent early chance to equalise as Townsend isolates the full-back and crosses for Benteke.

However, the physical striker fails to make a strong enough connection on his header and the ball drifts wide. Hector Bellerin did just enough to put him off.

The second half has begun. No changes from either Wenger or Allardyce just yet.

Giroud's mesmerising 17th-minute scorpion goal is the difference between the two teams at the break. It is an effort that will be talked about for some time to come.

Arsenal have been much the better side and Arsene Wenger will likely be frustrated that this game is not already dead and buried at half-time.

Palace are technically still in it, but they have yet to offer much by way of an attacking threat.


Arsenal 1-0 Crystal Palace

Some woeful, tired Palace defending in first-half stoppage time gifts Arsenal the chance to double their lead and put this game to bed before the interval.

However, Hennessey impressively throws out a foot to keep Sanchez's low strike at bay. That should have been 2-0.

Alexis Sanchez
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Not too much to report just at the moment as this match drifts rather aimlessly towards half-time.

Giroud finds Sanchez, whose deflected strike from distance is well held by Hennessey.

Palace's first attempt of the match comes courtesy of Yohan Cabaye, whose weak effort is easily saved by Petr Cech.

Sanchez tries to bend a shot into the bottom corner but sends the ball wide. Arsenal are dominating Palace in this first half.

Giroud almost creates another chance for Arsenal after Sanchez's cross, only for an offside flag to greet his chested knockdown into the path of Monreal.

Elneny drags a shot harmlessly wide after a cutback from Iwobi.

Social media now appears to be united in amazement at that simply outrageous Giroud finish. He will surely never score a better one.


A bonafide goal of the year winner on New Year's Day...

A nervy moment for Townsend as he is almost robbed by Monreal deep inside his own penalty area.

Having missed a sitter just minutes ago, Giroud atones for his error with a quite sensational goal.

After a Palace attack breaks down, Arsenal demonstrate their quality with an incisive and swift counter-attack. A lovely move ends with a cross from Sanchez that the French striker finishes with a breathtaking scorpion effort off the underside of the crossbar.

That was arguably even better than Henrikh Mkhitaryan's sublime Boxing Day strike against Sunderland. Just fantastic.

Olivier Giroud
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Olivier Giroud
GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Goal: Arsenal 1-0 Crystal Palace (Olivier Giroud)

Alex Iwobi exchanges passes with Perez before testing Hennessey's reflexes with a sharp low effort.


Arsenal win their first corner of the afternoon off Andros Townsend but Hennessey confidently claims in the wet conditions.

Sanchez then receives possession from Granit Xhaka and shifts sideways before firing a shot through a sea of Palace bodies and wide of the left-hand post.

This has been something of an ominous opening for Palace and they should be behind as Olivier Giroud completely fluffs his lines after being perfectly teed up by Monreal.

Perez also misses the ball and a follow-up drive from Elneny is headed over the crossbar by Tomkins.

A positive start from Arsenal, with Alexis Sanchez eventually thwarted by Martin Kelly in behind and Wayne Hennessey racing off his line to clear a dangerous long pass intended for the run of Perez.

Referee Andre Marriner gets the 200th Premier League game at the Emirates underway. Crystal Palace are sporting their yellow change strips complete with red and blue sash.

Arsenal will kick from left to right in this first half.

Sam Allardyce makes one change for his second match in charge since succeeding Alan Pardew as Crystal Palace boss on 23 December. James Tomkins recovers from a groin problem to replace suspended centre-back Damien Delaney.

Bakary Sako also features on the bench after a muscle problem, although Zeki Fryers is no longer a substitute due to an injury sustained in the warm-up. Academy graduate midfielder Michael Phillips takes his place in the matchday squad.

Damien Delaney
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Mathieu Flamini lines up against his former club. James McArthur, Joe Ledley, Connor Wickham, Loic Remy, Jonathan Benteke, Steve Mandanda and Pape Souare complete a lengthy list of absentees.

Here is official confirmation from Arsenal as to the reason for Ozil's surprise absence...


Mesut Ozil missing out due to illness is the headline piece of team news. He is replaced by Lucas Perez, while Nacho Monreal comes in for the injured Kieran Gibbs at left-back.

Mohamed Elneny, who was this week named in Egypt's squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, is preferred to Francis Coquelin in midfield.

Mesut Ozil
Getty Images

Theo Walcott, Mathieu Debuchy, Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck all remain out, while Shkodran Mustafi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both named among the substitutes.


The teams are in...

Good afternoon, Happy New Year and a very warm welcome to IBTimes UK's second live Premier League coverage of 2017.

You can keep fully up to date with the second half of Watford vs Tottenham here, but shortly our focus will shift to the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal host struggling Crystal Palace.

Stay tuned for breaking team news, confirmed lineups and live updates. Kick-off in north London is at 16.00 GMT.

Emirates Stadium
Julian Finney/Getty Images