Mikel Arteta scored a penalty before being sent off as Arsenal heaped more misery on Crystal Palace with a 2-0 win.
The match marked Palace’s first without Ian Holloway, who parted company with the club following Monday’s 4-1 win defeat to Fulham.
Keith Millen took temporary charge for the encounter, and he will have been pleased with his side’s showing as they competed well with the Barclays Premier League leaders.
However, it was Arsene Wenger’s men who would claim the spoils when midfielder Arteta converted from the penalty spot after Adlene Guedioura’s clumsy challenge on Serge Gnabry early in the second half.
Palace looked to have been handed a lifeline when the Spaniard was dismissed in the second half, adjudged to have denied Marouane Chamakh a clear goalscoring opportunity after bringing him down near the halfway line.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny preserved Arsenal’s advantage in the dying stages with some fine saves, before Olivier Giroud headed in Aaron Ramsey’s left-wing cross at the end of a quick counter-attack to finish things off.
Millen made six changes to the side beaten by Fulham, with Jerome Thomas, Barry Bannan and Chamakh among those to come into the side, while Mathieu Flamini and Santi Cazorla returned to Arsenal’s line-up in place of Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.
Arsenal created their first chance after just three minutes when Giroud headed Bacary Sagna’s right-wing cross just over the crossbar.
The visitors were forced to change things inside the first 10 minutes, though, Flamini replaced by Gnabry after he limped off with an apparent groin injury.
Palace competed well for large periods of the first half, and had opportunities to take the lead themselves, Bannan heading over before Chamakh tested Szczesny with a long-range effort.
Both sides continued to trade chances in an open game, and referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot when Gnabry was brought down by Guedioura less than two minutes into the second half, enabling Arteta to step up and fire home confidently from 12 yards.
Wenger’s men began to dictate proceedings following the opener and should have doubled their advantage shortly after, Giroud missing the target from point-blank range after good work down the right from Sagna.
However, the game was completely changed after 65 minutes when goalscorer Arteta was shown a straight red card for pulling down Chamakh as the Moroccan attempted to break through on goal.
Palace immediately began to take charge following Arteta’s dismissal, Szczesny performing heroics to tip Joel Ward’s fierce effort onto the crossbar before producing another flying save to keep out Mile Jedinak’s volley.
But Giroud wrapped things up three minutes from time to end the hosts’ hopes of a late leveller.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “We showed a lot of resilience and patience and good organisation against a team who were really up for it. It was a very convincing win because when we were down to 10 men we mastered the situation quite well.
“They came at us and we dealt well with the long balls. Every time we came out in the last 15 minutes it looked like we could score, and we got one with two minutes to go, which was a relief, and gives us three important points.”
“It’s a bit early but it’s nice to be there [at the top of the Barclays Premier League]. It’s good as well for the character of the team to respond after the disappointment of Tuesday night.”
Crystal Palace interim manager Keith Millen: “In the first half our organisation was terrific and we grew into the game when we did get possession of the ball and created some half-chances. At half-time we said to them we need to make sure we start nice and sharp, and play off the front and try and get them on the back foot but unfortunately we gave away another soft penalty.
“It was a soft goal to concede, son all that hard work in the first half is undone in two minutes. But their response is the most pleasing factor for me today. Going one down their response was really good. The two saves their keeper pulled off from Joel Ward and Mile Jedinak were world class, and that’s that little bit of luck we’re not having, and Arsenal showed their quality for the second goal.