‘Ox ride’ takes  Arsenal on top

The powerful 20-year-old scored twice to take gunners nose ahead of Man City in the Premier League table

London: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Arsenal recorded a 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Sunday that took them back to the top of the Premier League table.Making his first league start since the season’s opening day, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored both goals in the second half to send Arsenal two points above Manchester City, who host third-place Chelsea on Monday.

‘Ox ride’ takes  Arsenal on top

The result got Arsene Wenger’s side back to winning ways after the 2-2 draw at Southampton that cost them top spot, while Palace were left one place above the relegation zone after a first defeat in three league games.With Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield alongside Mikel Arteta, Arsenal quickly assumed control at the Emirates Stadium, but they struggled to make inroads against Tony Pulis’s well-drilled Palace.

The visitors had new goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey on the bench, but their current number one, Julian Speroni, seemed determined to stake a claim to the jersey.He produced two excellent saves to thwart first Nacho Monreal and then Laurent Koscielny, before bravely diving at Bacary Sagna’s feet shortly before half-time.

It had been a disciplined and hard-working display from Palace, but two minutes into the second half they fell behind.Former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain to run into the box behind him and when the scheming Santi Cazorla picked out the England man with a dinked pass, he coolly lifted the ball over Speroni.

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was quickly called into action at the other end, saving a header from Cameron Jerome at point-blank range, but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second goal in the 73rd minute settled the game.

The powerful 20-year-old, nicknamed ‘The Ox’, played a slick one-two with Olivier Giroud before cutting into the Palace box from the left and letting fly with a low drive that Speroni could not keep out.Arsene Wenger believes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved him right by scoring two goals.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, picked up a knee injury in the 3-1 opening day defeat to Aston Villa and then missed the following five months of the season.But he returned to Arsenal’s starting line-up against Palace and scored both goals from central midfield to send his team back to the top of the Premier League.

With Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere missing through injury, the former Southampton player’s return is timely with crucial league fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United on the horizon.“I’ve always believed that he can play wide and central,” said Wenger.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in