Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Elneny, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette
Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Kolsasinac, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Nketiah
Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League today, with a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace at the Emirates today.
The Gunners were without Alexis Sanchez, on his way to Manchester, while Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey were sidelined through injury and illness respectively. However, they did welcome back Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil to the starting XI in what was a return to a back four.
Alex Iwobi had the first attempt on goal, forcing Hennessey into a save which resulted in a corner. Xhaka took the set-piece, curled to the back post, and Monreal timed his run perfectly to nod the ball into the net from close range. 1-0.
It was a bright start, made even more so by a second goal just four minutes later. Arsenal had Palace under all kinds of pressure, but Monreal got a cross in from the left and the Nigerian poked the ball home from close range. 2-0.
Incredibly, there was another goal inside two minutes. Great work from Bellerin forced a corner, Xhaka took it again, Monreal got on the end of it, cut it back, and Koscielny bundled it over the line. 3-0.
It was four in the 22nd minute as the rampage continued. Beautiful build up play from Arsenal saw the ball fed to Ozil just inside the box, he flicked it behind into the path of Lacazette who drilled home a shot which the keeper couldn’t keep out. 4-0.
Palace, as you’d imagine, were shellshocked, but Cech did have to make a save from Sako, before we were forced into a 34th minute change when Monreal was replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Cech made a superb save from a Zaha shot which deflected off Koscielny, Xhaka fizzed a free kick over the bar and the Gunners took a very healthy lead into the break.
There were no changes from either manager at half-time, and Palace appealed for a penalty when Elneny fouled Zaha, but the ref played on and it was outside the box anyway. Iwobi saw a shot saved after a great Ozil pass but the youngster had Lacazette free outside him but didn’t spot the striker making the run.
Cech was again called into action when Benteke found himself one on one with the Arsenal keeper, and the Czech stood up well, making a great save to deny the Palace striker.
Reiss Nelson was handed his Premier League debut in the 72nd minute when he replaced Ozil, and Zaha became the pantomime villain for his frustration at being tackled all the time by Arsenal defenders. The cheek of them.
Palace got a goal back from a corner in the 78th minute. The set-piece came in, Milovojevic was given too much time, and he hooked the ball into the bottom corner from close range. 4-1.
Almost immediately Wilshere created a chance for Lacazette which was saved by Hennessey, and the Welsh keeper was equal to the Frenchman’s follow up too. Sead Kolasinac replaced Iwobi in the 82nd minute, and despite a late penalty for a foul on Lacazette the game played out to its natural conclusion.
In the end, a comfortable win, some flashes of the old Arsenal, and three points that were very much required.