EPL Results: Oxlade-Chamberlain Fires Arsenal Back to the Summit as Liverpool Stutter
By Deepak Vikraman | February 3, 2014 3:24 PM EST
That we've-been-there-for-the-majority-of-the-season top spot is Arsenal's yet again after an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain brace helped the North London side to a 2-0 win over a typically Tony Pulis-inspired dogged Crystal Palace.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been on the treatment table for much of this season, underlined his importance to the Gunners' cause, scoring two sumptuous goals in the second half to spur his side back to the English Premier League summit.
It was business as usual for Palace from minute one, keeping as many people as possible behind the ball, while Marouane Chamakh looked to hurt his former side on the counter.
Arsenal came close on a couple of occasions, with Julian Speroni making a nice save or two, while the home side also had a penalty appeal turned down when Olivier Giroud.
Chamakh, at the other end, had it not been for a couple of oh-my-god-how-did-that-get-away-from-me touches, might have given Crystal Palace the lead before halftime, but 0-0 it stayed, and Arsenal would kickoff the second 45 in splendid style.
Santi Cazorla received the ball outside the box on the right channel, before cutting in and seeing a nice run from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the opposite side. There was never really any doubt that the left-footed chip pass from the ridiculously two-footed Spaniard would be anything but perfection, with Oxlade-Chamberlain taking a touch and then calmly chipping it over Speroni to make it 1-0 on 47 minutes.
The Gunners took another 26 minutes to put the game to bed, but the goal was well worth the wait. Tomas Rosicky, in as a second half substitute for Lukas Podolski, played the ball to the feet of Oxlade-Chamberlain just inside Palace's box, with the Arsenal youngster, playing in the middle of the park, brilliantly laying the ball off to Giroud with a flick, with the striker returning the favour with a nice pass of his own.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the goal in his sights, then took his time, before slotting it low past Speroni's left hand to seal the result and put Arsenal two points clear of Manchester City, who can go back to the summit with a win at the Etihad against third-placed Chelsea on Monday night.
Earlier, Liverpool threw away their chance to firm their grip on fourth place, as former Everton man Victor Anichebe equalised in the second half to give West Brom a 1-1 draw.
Daniel Sturridge continued his goalscoring ways tapping in from close range off a Luis Suarez cross in the 24th minute, only for Anichebe to pop in with the equaliser seven minutes past the hour mark, latching onto an awful misplaced pass from Kolo Toure to slot home.
The point means Liverpool are now two points clear of fifth-placed Everton, with Tottenham a further point adrift, while seven points separate the Reds from Premier League champions Manchester United.
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