Ian Holloway quit as manager of Crystal Palace because he could not rouse a reaction from the players. There was one here. Holloway also quit because Palace had bought badly - settling for quantity rather than quality - and were not good enough.
There was more evidence of that also. Arsenal won and did so playing the final 25 minutes with 10 men after Mikel Arteta - who had scored from the penalty spot - was red-carded after throwing his arm across his former team-mate Marouane Chamakh. Denial of a goalscoring opportunity?
Arsenal supporters (and maybe Palace ones also) will cruelly suggest that DOGSO does not apply for Chamakh who has simply been dog-so-so. Awful in fact. Even an open goal for the Moroccan would not represent an opportunity, they would claim. Still although Chamakh was 40 yards from goal and he had Barry Bannan steaming up inside him ahead of the covering defender, Laurent Koscielny, Arteta had to go.
The dismissal pumped up the Palace support even further and Arsenal were indebted to Wojciech Szczesny for two outstanding saves within a minute. But, apart from those two incidents, a fine snap-shot from Joel Ward, after a sharp exchange of passes, that Szczesny tipped on to the bar and then a fierce volley from Mile Jedinak which the goalkeeper superbly pushed away, Arsenal held on and even added a second goal.
At the end Olivier Giroud, who had scored that goal with a header, was on all fours gulping in air. Never mind Dogso, Arsenal looked dog-tired. This was not exactly winning ugly but, as Arsene Wenger put it more prosaically "a game of efficiency" and it kept Arsenal at the top of the Premier League. For Palace's stand-in manager, Keith Millen, there was a frank admission. He got a reaction, Palace were better but he will not be in charge for long. "I know it won't be me," he said.
"I don't think I'm the right person at the moment for the position we are in to take the job." Palace chairman Steve Parish said interviews will take place on Monday and Tuesday to find Holloway's replacement. His ideal candidate? An unattached, younger manager with a connection to the club. That limits the field and there is a growing doubt that another possibility, former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, wants the post.
Parish added that he will speak to former manager Neil Warnock also with fresh suggestions that either he or Steve Coppell could become a director of football. Where that leaves Millen remains to be seen but he deserves credit with the way he organized his team yesterday, overhauling the line-up with six changes. Maybe it was the ease of it all, their obvious superiority, or maybe, as Wenger noted, it was the long grass or the early loss of Mathieu Flamini to a groin injury, but Arsenal actually began to labour after a bright opening.
Suddenly Palace sensed an opportunity and shots from distance by Chamakh and Adelene Guedioura and a header over by Bannan who, soon after, sent in a cross cum shot that just missed the post and the head of Damien Delaney. For all their effort, Palace then conceded the softest of penalties as substitute Serge Gnabry was brought down recklessly by the hapless Guedioura with his trailing leg. Arteta drove the spot-kick to Julian Speroni's right.
Giroud should have added a second but mistimed a near post header only for the dynamic to change with Arteta's dismissal. Palace sensed they had a chance but Szczesny denied them as Millen threw on more and more attacking options. Instead it was Arsenal who scored with Giroud finding Ramsey with a deft touch. He ran on, checked and floated a wonderful cross for Giroud to meet and guide his header beyond Speroni. "We did our job," Wenger said.
"Maybe we were not the sharpest but we were serious and determined. We want to win with style but that is not always possible." It is, however, the hallmark of winners.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1) Speroni 6; Ward 6, Gabbidon 6, Delaney 6, Moxey 6; Bannan 6 (Gayle, 77), Dikgacoi 5, Jedinak 7, Guedioura 4 (Kebe, 72), Thomas 4 (Bolasie, 57); Chamakh 6. Subs Price, Mariappa, O'Keefe, Puncheon. Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Szczesny 7; Sagna 7, Mertesacker 6, Koscielny 6, Gibbs 6; Arteta 6, Flamini 5 (Gnabry, 8 (Wilshere, 69)); Ramsey 7, Ozil 5, Cazorla 6 (Monrea, 72); Giroud 7. Subs Fabianski, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Bendtner. Referee Chris Foy.