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Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal

  • Sixth-place Arsenal move level on points with Tottenham and within a point of the top four after securing only their third away league win of the season at Selhurst Park
  • Shkodran Mustafi scores on the half-volley after Alexandre Lacazette's shot is parried directly into his path by Julian Speroni
  • Wilfried Zaha tees up Andros Townsend for a thumping equaliser five minutes after the interval
  • Alexis Sanchez restores Arsenal's lead with an early drive that goes in off the hand of the goalkeeper
  • The Chilean then feeds on a brilliant long pass from Jack Wilshere to notch his second goal in four minutes
  • James Tomkins' 89th-minute header from a Townsend corner sets up a nervy finish, but spirited Palace cannot find a last-gasp leveller to preserve their impressive unbeaten run and remain two points above the relegation zone in 16th
  • Arsene Wenger reverts to a three-man defence on a night where he equals Sir Alex Ferguson's record of 810 Premier League games as a manager

That is it from me, thanks for following along. IBTimes UK will be back on Saturday to bring you live coverage of a seven-game slate of Premier League games that includes Chelsea vs Stoke, Liverpool vs Leicester and Manchester United vs Southampton.

Until then, it's goodbye.

Palace's longest-ever Premier League unbeaten run is now at an end, but they showed good spirit to make a game of it after being dominated for most of the first half.

It's another tough test up next as undefeated leaders Manchester City visit Selhurst on Sunday lunchtime.

A nervy finish to that London derby, but Arsenal hold on to record a deserved victory on a special, record-equalling night for their manager.

They stay sixth, but move level on points with Tottenham and within one of the top four ahead of a trip to struggling West Brom on New Year's Eve.


Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal

Townsend finds space down the left channel but can only pick out Ozil on the edge of the box with several Palace players waiting in the middle.

Arsenal break quickly and Ozil looks to run down the clock.

Palace are penned back towards their own corner flag before Zaha wins a corner off Mustafi.

Townsend's delivery is cleared, although the attack is kept alive.

Four minutes of stoppage time signalled by the fourth official. Can Palace find a last-gasp equaliser?

Tomkins soars above Chambers and Koscielny to head Townsend's corner past Cech.

We're in for a grandstand finish in south London.

James Tomkins

Goal: Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal (James Tomkins)

Schlupp seizes on a woeful header from Bellerin and provides a low cross towards Sako, whose driven effort is deflected wide by Mustafi.

Arsenal incensed as Sako appears to handle the ball before shooting high and wide.

Xhaka looked to be showing no ill effects after that injury scare, but he is withdrawn anyway as a precaution. Maitland-Niles enters the fray for the final few minutes.

Three successive Zaha crosses from the left are cleared by Arsenal. The first was teed up by a lovely pass from Schlupp that caught out Bellerin.

Palace spurn a glorious opportunity to make this a one-score game with seven minutes plus stoppage time remaining.

Zaha gets in front of Bellerin at the back post but the cross from Sako bounces off his shoulder and wide.

A vicious half-volley from Bellerin from a tricky angle forces Speroni into a strong save at his near post.

Xhaka appears to have hurt his groin while trying to keep pressure on Milivojevic.

Accomplished defending from Chambers to thwart Zaha and concede the corner. Hodgson's final change sees Kelly replaced by Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Sako's delivery intended for McArthur is firmly headed away by Mustafi and a fizzed right-wing cross from Townsend finds its way through to Cech.

All a bit flat now at Selhurst.

Wenger looks to preserve Arsenal's two-goal lead by sending on Francis Coquelin in place of Lacazette, who does not look too pleased to be coming off.

Arsenal's man of the moment. How they would dearly love him to stay.

Alexis Sanchez

Hodgson responds to that quickfire double by withdrawing Chelsea loanee Loftus-Cheek in favour of Bakary Sako.

Arsenal carve out another chance but Ozil blazes over from a Sanchez pull-back.

Before that, Schlupp landed a cross on the roof of the net.

Sanchez has been rightfully criticised for his ineffective performances over recent weeks, but he's certainly proving his commitment to the cause this evening.

The contract rebel somehow cushions a glorious long pass from Wilshere with his thigh before cooly slotting past Speroni.

Arsenal looked all at sea for a little while after Townsend's equaliser, but two goals in four minutes have them firmly back in the ascendancy.

Goal: Crystal Palace 1-3 Arsenal (Alexis Sanchez)

Palace were only on level terms for 13 minutes as Arsenal edge back in front.

Benteke's poor clearance from a corner falls to Chambers, who lofts the ball straight back into the box.

Lacazette is unable to create space for a shot after Sanchez's flick-on and the Chilean produces a quick shot that goes through the legs of Tomkins and goes in off the hand of Speroni at the near post.

Goal: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal (Alexis Sanchez)

Palace under the cosh again now as wounded Arsenal look to reassert their earlier dominance.

This game is nicely poised heading into the last half an hour.

Loftus-Cheek completely misses the target with a shot after being given too much space by Bellerin.

Palace have sent on McArthur in place of Cabaye.

Selhurst Park is rocking now. Chambers makes a last-ditch challenge to stop Zaha and Schlupp fires into the side netting with Benteke waiting in the middle.

Arsenal holding on after dominating the first 45 minutes.

Palace's first shot on target ends up in the back of the net.

Zaha fools Chambers with a nifty change of pace and plays in a low ball that is thumped beyond Cech by former Tottenham winger Townsend with his left foot. No awareness from Kolasinac on that clever run.

Wenger will be livid.

Andros Townsend

Goal: Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal (Andros Townsend)

Arsenal are straight on the front foot. Bellerin gets beyond Loftus-Cheek but cannot applying a strong enough touch to Sanchez's lofted back-post cross.

Another let-off for Palace.

Back underway at Selhurst. No changes from Hodgson or Wenger just yet.

We should mention that Zaha was booked on the stroke of half-time for complaining to the referee after being denied a free-kick and giving one away himself.

It's been a frustrating evening thus far for Palace's key man.

Palace fans have a few complaints regarding the goal, with Sanchez trying to attack the ball from an offside position. They also do not believe that Milivojevic's challenge on Wilshere was a foul.

Schlupp's clearing header was a poor one. Could Speroni have pushed it away from Mustafi in the first place?

After an even start, Arsenal dominated the majority of that first half and played some excellent passing football.

They could easily be two or three goals ahead, but for now only Mustafi's smart back-post finish separates these London rivals at the break.

Work to do for Hodgson and co, who have yet to register a shot on target. Can they make the Gunners rue their profligacy?

Shkodran Mustafi


Crystal Palace 0-1 Arsenal

Just the one minute of added time signalled by the fourth official.

Schlupp miscues a shot while totally off-balance and Kolasinac is crowded out by James Tomkins after exchanging passes with Sanchez.

Still 1-0 to Arsenal as we approach the interval.

Arsenal are dominating possession at Selhurst and you get the feeling that Palace's best opportunity to equalise will come from a set-piece. Their latest corner, conceded by Koscielny, is hacked clear.

Palace are very nearly made to pay for committing too many men forward at a free-kick.

Ozil's wonderful touch from a Sanchez pass takes him through one-on-one with Speroni, but he is just overstretching and cannot play in either Bellerin or Lacazette to his right.

Lacazette keeps the attack alive and a weak shot from Xhaka presents no trouble for Speroni.

Impressive centre-forward play from Lacazette, who twists and turns to evade the attentions of Dann, Schlupp and Martin Kelly before shooting into the side netting.

Zaha suddenly bursts into life, finding space inside the box to curl a shot just wide of the far post.

Wilfried Zaha

Sanchez slides in an enticing pass for Ozil and Speroni makes a terrific one-handed save to keep the score at 1-0.

A definite edge to this game now as Wilshere avoids a booking for a diving challenge on Cabaye and Chambers is cautioned for holding back Zaha.

Milivojevic fouls Wilshere and Palace are unable to properly clear Ozil's free-kick.

Lacazette cuts inside Schlupp with the aid of a deflection and unleashes a shot that is parried by Speroni straight into the path of Mustafi, who sidefoots home on the half-volley after drifting away from Dann.

First blood to Arsenal in SE25 after a period of dominance.

Shkodran Mustafi

Goal: Crystal Palace 0-1 Arsenal (Shkodran Mustafi)

Frustrated cries from Palace fans as their team hoof the ball downfield and invite more pressure.

Arsenal beginning to turn the screw.

A nervy moment for Speroni as he nearly lets Wilshere's shot squirm through after no Arsenal player can connect with a brilliant Ozil cross.

Both teams are playing some nice stuff in attack here. A sumptuous Arsenal passing move ends with Dann blocking a powerful low drive from Xhaka.

Jack Wilshere and Sanchez both see efforts blocked after Bellerin's cutback.

At the other end, Jeff Schlupp's cross is blocked by the hand of Chambers, who gets away without conceding a free-kick.

Zaha is afforded too much time to find Cabaye and the French midfielder pulls his second shot of the night narrowly wide of the post.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Townsend and Zaha combine to good effect and Bellerin is forced to concede the corner. Cabaye's in-swinging delivery is punched away confidently by Cech.

Chambers retains his concentration to get the better of Zaha before Hector Bellerin concedes possession in a dangerous area.

Cabaye skews his first attempt of the evening well wide of Petr Cech's left-hand post.

Arsenal look to move the ball quickly on the edge of the Palace box. Granit Xhaka's dipping left-footed shot fails to trouble veteran goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

Scott Dann makes a crucial interception to kill an incisive one-two between Sanchez and Ozil. Townsend then looks to make inroads for Palace after a lovely touch from Zaha sets up a swift counter-attack.

Chambers backs off the tricky Ivorian as he carries the ball a long way before a miscommunication with Benteke.

It's been a relatively quiet opening, with Alexis Sanchez failing to keep the ball in play and Mesut Ozil and Zaha denied space to operate.

The camera pans to Wenger struggling to do up the zip on his large coat. Some things have never changed throughout his lengthy tenure....

Referee Michael Oliver gets proceedings underway in front of a capacity crowd. Arsenal are decked out in their black and pink third kit and will kick from right to left in this first half as we look at it.

Can Wenger mark his 810th Premier League game with a win, or will Palace continue their impressive recent resurgence?

"Glad All Over" blasts out as the two teams emerge from the tunnel. We will be underway after the usual pre-match pleasantries have been exchanged.

Hodgson: "The players have been working hard and showing great determination to get the results of late but we have a real testing game tonight. If we are going to get points we need to play at our very best and believe we can win."

Roy Hodgson

A quick look at the current state of the Premier League table as we await kick-off at Selhurst...


Wenger is not going to hear the end of it if this change blows up in his face, is he?

In his pre-match broadcast interview, Wenger suggests that he still prefers a back four but that the dangerous central partnership of Benteke and Wilfried Zaha - a reported Arsenal transfer target - has necessitated a change.

He also describes tonight's clash as a big opportunity for Chambers to impress.


It is interesting to note that Wenger's switch to a three-man defence comes just a day after he appeared to suggest that he would continue with a back four.

"I think Kolasinac will play again and I gave him a breather, as well," he said. "He is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role. He is working hard and I think he will play in a back four, as well."

He added: "In my heart I prefer to play with one defender."

In fact, I believe it was that 3-0 defeat to Palace in April that provoked his initial move to a back three. He swapped back for the goalless draw at West Ham on 13 December.

Townsend, Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic all scored for Allardyce's Palace that night, when hapless Arsenal did not register a shot on target during the second half en route to missing out on the top four for the first time in two decades.


Former Middlesbrough loanee Chambers has featured in the Europa League and Carabao Cup during an injury-disrupted campaign, but this is his first Premier League start for Arsenal since the opening day of last season.

Calum Chambers

Wenger has reverted back to a three-man defence in Monreal's absence, with Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi drafted in to partner Laurent Koscielny at centre-back.

Sead Kolasinac is preferred to Ainsley Maitland-Niles at left wing-back and Alex Iwobi drops to the bench.

Just the one change from Palace, with James McArthur relegated to the bench in order to accommodate Benteke's return to the starting XI.

Andros Townsend is shifted back to the wing and Pape Souare drops out of the matchday squad altogether.


Official lineups are set to drop in just a couple of minutes. Do either Hodgson or Wenger have a surprise up their sleeve?

Sounds like it's shaping up to be a very chilly evening indeed in South London...


Olivier Giroud was ruled out for four to six weeks with the hamstring injury suffered in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat of West Ham, but Wenger hopes the "quick healer" will be in a position to play again in mid-January.

He is not looking to replace the Frenchman when the transfer window re-opens for business and dismissed Sam Allardyce's suggestions that it was wife Jennifer Giroud's desire to stay in the south that prevented her husband from joining Everton last summer.

"I don't think so, because he could have joined Everton and stayed basically in London," Wenger said. "I don't think that was the problem."

Olivier Giroud

Nacho Monreal limped out of Arsenal's six-goal draw with Liverpool after sustaining an ankle injury, while a hamstring issue has kept Aaron Ramsey in the treatment room since the 1-1 draw at Southampton on 10 December.

Wenger said yesterday that he expects the former to be back in approximately 10 days, while the latter should be fit for the start of January.

Plans for Santi Cazorla to make his long-awaited return in the New Year were scuppered in November after he was forced to undergo a ninth operation on his gruesome achilles injury.


Hodgson will welcome back attacking "focal point" Christian Benteke tonight after the Belgian striker was suspended for the match against Swansea.

However, influential centre-back Mamadou Sakho remains sidelined with a calf strain and fellow defender Joel Ward is doubtful due to a groin problem.

Damien Delaney is still out after undergoing surgery earlier this month and long-term knee injury victim Conor Wickham, who did return to training last week, is not expected to be fully fit until late January after a 13-month lay-off.

Christian Benteke
Getty Images

"I would have said, 'You're absolutely mad, no chance', if you told me I would be in charge for 810 games after that [first] game against Blackburn.

"I remember when I was 33, 34, I thought, 'I'll never get to 60'. It's Russian roulette, every game. So you think, at some stage, the trigger will hit you. So that's absolutely unbelievable. You can never predict that."

Arsene Wenger will equal the Premier League record set by old rival Sir Alex Ferguson tonight as he takes charge of Arsenal for the 810th time in a London derby clash at Selhurst Park.

The inconsistent Gunners, losers of only one of their last eight matches, make the short journey south having dropped to sixth following their high-scoring draw with Liverpool before Christmas.

They will be looking to move back to within one point of the top four this evening while improving a poor away record that has seen them win just twice on their travels in 2017-18.

Selhurst Park

Standing in their way is a Crystal Palace side that have been resurgent under Roy Hodgson following an utterly disastrous start to the season in which they looked absolutely nailed-on for relegation.

The Eagles are unbeaten in eight games - their longest such top-flight streak since 1990 - and were only denied a third straight win by a late Jordan Ayew goal for Swansea last weekend.

Palace, particularly strong at home of late, go into this festive fixture two points clear of trouble and could rise as high as 13th if they can replicate their performance from April, when they toppled Arsenal 3-0 and recorded their first triumph in this fixture since 1994.

Stay tuned for all the latest team news and live updates after kick-off at 20.00 GMT.