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Three things we learned: Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace

Olivier Giroud scored a great goal. Photo: PA

Whilst most welcomed in 2017 with fireworks it was one to forget for struggling Crystal Palace in the New Year's Day London derby at the Emirates against Arsenal.

Newly appointed Palace manager Sam Allardyce has never won at Arsenal in the Premier League and that run was extended in this latest instalment of Big Sam's travels.

For Arsenal a win was vital in order to keep pace with north London rivals Tottenham and the buoyant Liverpool who beat Manchester City on Saturday evening.

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Here's three things we learned from the London derby.

Don't underestimate Giroud

On a cold a wet January afternoon striker Olivier Giroud warmed the ground with his version of the 'scorpion kick'. Set up by an Alexis Sanchez cross the Frenchman's strike went in off the underside of the crossbar. Similar to the goal scored by Henrik Mkhitaryan on Boxing Day against Sunderland both goals will surely be up there for goal of the season.

There's argument that the goal was a moment of pure class for the back-up striker, who has struggled for game time this season. He will now be hoping to get a more regular chance to score conventional goals on a frequent basis.

Alex Iwobi found the target. Credit: PA

Iwobi catching the eye

It's easy to forget Alex Iwobi is only 20 years old. The midfielder was unexpectedly played by Arsene Wenger in the No.10 role behind Giroud. Iwobi doubled the Gunners lead with a looping header over Palace goalkeeper and defenders on the line. A man of the match performance from the Nigerian international proved that he might be finding his feet in the Premier League now. Wenger will be pleased he won't lose the youngster as his country failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations this month, as he's showing his ability in front of goal and maturing rapidly as an Arsenal player, with the Frenchman keen to keep the progression going.

Christian Benteke didn't have much of an impact. Credit: PA

Palace need more from Benteke

Crystal Palace's record signing Christian Benteke will be key for Sam Allardyce in his quest to beat the drop from the Premier League, as goals are what keep a side out of the bottom three. A player who is usually dominant in the air, typical of Allardyce's teams down the years, was far from his best this evening. In all fairness to the sticker service from the wide positions from Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend was poor. Allardyce needs to build a team around the tall striker and get him firing consistently to have any chance to stay in England's top league. Jermain Defoe was his main man at Sunderland and Allardyce will need to have a similar figure in Benteke.

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