Arsenal came away from Selhurst Park with all three points after beating Crystal Palace 2-1 thanks in large part to referee Lee Mason who had an absolutely shocking performance.
Arsenal took the lead early on through Olivier Giroud after Mesut Ozil crossed the ball in from out on the left which Giroud acrobatically volleyed home from 16 yards out. It was a brilliant goal.
Crystal Palace then got an equaliser as Yannick Bolasie chested the ball to James McArthur who played the ball into the path of Joel Ward who then fired low into the corner of the net from 28 yards out. Petr Cech should have done better.
Arsenal regained the lead to secure all three points in the second half thanks to a Damien Delaney own goal. Hector Bellerin crossed the ball to the far post from out on right, Alexis Sanchez climbed to get his head to it and direct it goalwards where it deflected off Delaney into his own net.
However there is big controversy over Lee Mason’s decision not to send off Francis Coquelin, not once but twice.
The first was towards the end of the first half and with Coquelin already on a yellow card he brought down one of the Palace players in the middle of the park for what should have been a second yellow card offence. Mason decided to give him a warning instead. To make matters worse a minute later he booked a Palace player for a similar foul in the middle of the park.
Then halfway through the second half Coquelin committed another foul that was worthy of yellow but again referee Mason bottled it and decided to give Coquelin another warning.
Shortly after Arsene Wenger subbed Coquelin off before he could be sent off.
Crystal Palace have huge grounds for complaints. If they had played the second half against 10 men they would have come away with at least a point if not more.
Palace played well. They created chances for themselves. They weren’t afraid to get at Arsenal. They played with pace and intensity, constantly causing problems for the Arsenal defence. If they keep playing like they did today they will cause teams plenty of problems and will nick goals.
As for Arsenal they were bailed out by the referee today. If they had lost Coquelin they would have really struggled. Cech looks a bit suspect in goal, he should have done better for the goal his side conceded, but he also looks shaky coming for balls.
The Arsenal defence needs improving as well. Just like last week against West Ham they are too easily exposed. Especially against pace. Per Mertesacker needs upgrading before the transfer window closes if Arsenal want to truly challenge for the title.