LONDON: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first goals of an injury-wracked season lifted Premier League leaders Arsenal to a 2-0 derby victory over fast-improving Crystal Palace.
The England forward struck two minutes into the second half after a superb floating pass from Santi Cazorla and then again in the 74th.
‘The Ox’was making his first start since the first game of the season. This was his first ‘double’ since his two in February 2012 against Blackburn.
Per Mertesacker, solid at the heart of defence, was the best of the Gunners’ Germans. Lukas Podolski started but was substituted, as usual, midway through the second half by Tomas Rosicky, while Mesut Ozil gave way, late on, to Kieran Gibbs.
Serge Gnabry was relegated to the subs’ bench alongside Gedion Zelalem.
There was no sign of Arsenal’s new signing, Kim Kallstrom. He will miss six games because of a back injury suffered playing beach football during Spartak’s pre-season tour in Abu Dhabi last month.
Earlier Liverpool stayed fourth even though a blunder by veteran defender Kolo Toure handed Victor Anichebe an equaliser and hosts West Bromwich a 1-1 draw. Daniel Sturridge conversion of a Luis Suarez assist had given Liverpool a halftime lead.