Report: Crystal Palace 2-3 Arsenal (inc. goals)

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Starting XI: Cech, Chambers, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette

Subs: Ospina, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott

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Alexis Sanchez was the star as Arsenal closed the gap on the top four to one point with a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Shkodran Mustafi kept his cool to slot home the opener from a tight angle in a dominant first half. Andros Townsend converted Wilfried Zaha’s cross just after the break as the home side briefly wrestled back the momentum before Sanchez came to the fore. First the Chilean hammered home at the near post after good work by Lacazette, then, put through by Wilshere, he slotted past Speroni again.

There was a late scare when Tomkins headed home with a minute remaining but Arsene Wenger, equalling Sir Alex Ferguson’s record for matches managed, wasn’t to be denied the points. His side move level on points with Sp*rs but remain in sixth.

First half

Undefeated in eight games, their longest Premier League unbeaten stretch, Palace came into the game full of confidence. You got the feeling, judging by the noise coming from the terraces, that their fans obviously fancied a visit from Arsene Wenger’s men. Perhaps the memories of April’s 3-0 win against the Gunners, who were booed from the field that night, were still fresh in the memory.

As it turned out, Arsenal started and played throughout the first half like they had a point to prove.

Initially, the home side were full of attacking. Cabaye fancied his luck from outside the box with a couple of efforts from range on 11 and 15 minutes. The first flew over the bar, the second slipped just past Cech’s right-hand post. Unsurprisingly, Zaha, playing on the left of the Palace front three, was eager to test Calum Chambers on his first Premier League start in an Arsenal shirt since 2016. For the most part, the centre back held up fine.

The storm weathered, the Gunners moved up the gears as they looked to make the most of their lion’s share of possession.

We were neat and tidy in possession with Wilshere, Ozil and Alexis pulling the strings in the final third. Clear-cut chances were hard to come by, although Xhaka, who’d fired from long tange just on 9 minutes, did see a fine opportunity blocked at close range on 19 minutes. As the play continued to unfold, another chance fell Wilshere’s way and he shot straight at Speroni.

It felt like a goal was coming for the visitors. And sure enough, on 25 minutes, it did. After Palace half cleared an Arsenal free-kick, lofted into the box by Wilshere, the ball fell to Lacazette on the right side of the box. The France international curled an effort goalwards that Speroni palmed straight into the path of Mustafi, who calmly tucked home first time. (1-0)

Were it not for a fine save by Speroni, the Gunners would have had a second on 30 minutes. Somehow the Argentine managed to stop a toe-poke from Ozil, fed by a brilliant Sanchez through ball, from squeezing in.

Earlier in the week, Arsene Wenger had lamented his side’s profligacy in front of goal. It was a problem that they continued to wrestle with at Selhurst Park. Lacazette made room for himself with quick feet but having done the hard work he couldn’t get his low drive on target. Not long after a brilliant counter-attack saw Ozil put through, but when one-on-one with Speroni he passed square and the move broke down.

Second half

The Gunners started the second half as they finished the first, by squandering a chance. An Alexis ball, curled with his right foot from the angle of the area, found Hector Bellerin darting in at the far post. The Spaniard couldn’t get any purchase on his shot, it appeared to come off his heel, allowing Speroni to pounce.

It felt like a costly miss when, against the run of play and with their first shot on target of the evening, Palace equalised. Zaha dragged Chambers to the touchline, pulled the ball back to the penalty spot where Andros Townsend met the ball on the run to sweep home. The Arsenal defence was completely static. (1-1)

The momentum immediately swung in the home side’s favour. For five minutes the Eagles were untouchable. Zaha fired at Cech. Schlupp hit the side netting. Loftus-Cheek opened up his body but couldn’t find any whip and shot wide. The men in black were chasing shadows.

It took a while for the Gunners to get back in the groove, but they did in style. On 62 minutes, Alexis thrashed home from eight yards after brilliant play by Lacazette who held off a man and teed up the Chilean after Chambers had dropped the ball in the Palace box. (2-1)

Three minutes later, the Gunners had a third. Again it was Sanchez. This time the Chilean latched on to a beautiful quarterback style pass from Wilshere, took a touch to control and calmly slotted past Speroni. (3-1)

Looking to close the game out, Wenger opted to replace Lacazette with Coquelin. The striker didn’t look too pleased as he once again failed to complete 90 minutes for his new club. On the break, Bellerin, a fantastic outlet all night on the right, forced Speroni into a save as Arsenal hunted a fourth.

Palace rallied. The ball was driven low into the Arsenal box on numerous occasions. It was scrambled clear, time and time again. Zaha should have reduced the deficit with his head, but put his effort wide with his shoulder. Sako, on as a sub, then hit high and wide. The striker, a real physical threat, then had an effort deflected just wide on 88 minutes. The home side’s pressure finally paid dividends as Tomkins headed home the resultant corner. (3-2)

Four minutes of stoppage time were greeted with roars from the home crowd but the Gunners held their nerve.

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Pedant
Pedant

Great result at least. Three important away points.

goongot
goongot

Liverpool needed a leader because they were leaking goals…

Get van djik and make a statement

Arsenal have 3 defender above age 32 and are leaking goals

Place coq in centre..

After wenger i want to see simeone type football..i have had enough of this chutyagiri.

Yas
Yas

If you’ve had enough I am sure man united are looking for more fans since half of them have deserted away to city

goongot
goongot

Pretty sure i would have more up votes if we drew 3-3 …Or i guess most of the arsenal fans have accepted this mediocre performances and are just happy that we won away.

xxxrob
xxxrob

You’d have more upvotes if more people agreed with you…

Non flying dutchman
Non flying dutchman

You wanted that result so you could get more upvotes

Off you trot mate

Indian+Gooner
Indian+Gooner

You are boring.

#MAGA
#MAGA

Van Dijk might still be rubbish, give him a chance

Kafkush
Kafkush

I think you’ve spelled chutiyagiri wrong.

Runcorn Gooner
Runcorn Gooner

3 points but our defence is becoming a bigger and bigger nightmare. AW for gods sake sort it out.

Adam
Adam

Far, far, far from perfect but i enjoyed watching this Arsenal game. Refreshing feeling.

Ps. No fucking way that we should sell Alexis in January, he may be the fine margin between Champions league and heroics of Thursday evenings.

Ps2. I am really not sure anymore if Bellerin is good at defending.

moonie
moonie

Really good on the attack. Yes, Bellerin was terrible all night at defence.

Awesomesauce25
Awesomesauce25

Sanchez is gone, and can be replaced. He has moments of brilliance, but he is equally a liability and disrupts the flow of the attack. The key is finding the right replacement, which is really where my concern is. If we keep Ozil, we must find someone that partners his style well.

Bellerin has never been great at defending. Just fast so he can recover well after a mistake.

Old Boy Gunner
Old Boy Gunner

Agreed. Straight swap Sanchez for Aguero.

Julian+Gooner
Julian+Gooner

Bellerin just seems incapable of stopping a cross to save his life

Old Boy Gunner
Old Boy Gunner

Or putting in a decent and intelligent cross in attack

Scott+P
Scott+P

Enjoyed those goals + Wilshere’s performance as well. Still very concerned about the defense. But that’s for another day – we have the 3 points!

Matt
Matt

We’ve been saying it’s for another day for like 10 years. It’s not gonna change if we leave it always for another day

goongot
goongot

I so hope we get zaha as sanchez replacement..

Yas
Yas

He is good but no where the level we need. Possibly fakir or mahrez or both or all three!

moonie
moonie

Trolling?

Man Manny
Man Manny

We can certainly do better than Zaha if we are by any chance aiming to move to the next level. He is not even up to a poor replica of Alexis. A one trick pony he is.

arsepedant
arsepedant

That’s even dumber than your rant above.

Old Boy Gunner
Old Boy Gunner

Zaha flatters to deceive.

ETTAN
ETTAN

Wilshere ❤

Tim
Tim

What a pass by Wilshere ?

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

I think subbing Laca was not bad management. With him being our best choice upfront and there being no Giroud, I’d do the same.

mrtanmay
mrtanmay

With him being the only noteworthy striker at the moment.. I say we keep him nice and fresh…

BidOnLard
BidOnLard

How much of a difference do 10 minutes make?

Atom
Atom

A fair amount as so many injuries occur when players are tired

Gunner Matt
Gunner Matt

@mrtanmay That’s true with all the games coming up but from his point of view you can understand why he must be getting pissed off with seeing his number come up all the time. I think our game lost momentum when he came off as we were such a threat going forward. I cannot see Pepe doing the same as at 3-1 he would keep faith in attacking football and would think its time to demolish the opposition not hold on.

mrtanmay
mrtanmay

Yes.. I would be worried if a player was happy while coming off.
Laca is a brilliant player… Wish we had a bit of depth in his position and would’ve loved to see him rip into tired defenders.
Would love to see a bit of Nketiah more often now.

arsepedant
arsepedant

The difference is Pep has rather a lot more fit and healthy attacking options than we do right now. Lacazette is going to have to play all three of our matches this week. Plus, we were two up with ten minutes to go. Taking off a forward and putting on a defensive mid was exactly the right decision.

Joe
Joe

Laca does not have to play all our matches this week, alexis/welbz/theo all offer goal threat. Weird for a pedant to make such a mistake 😉

Old Boy Gunner
Old Boy Gunner

And a lot more better players.

Non flying dutchman
Non flying dutchman

Yeah reaction a bit off. We were 3-1 up with 15 mins left and he hadn’t been finding the net himself. Perfectly reasonable substitution

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

We lost momentum though, it invited more pressure from them

Bob davis

Yes! Great win. A hard fought 3 points. Really happy for Super Jack and Sanchez as we really needed the third goal. I hope Granit’s injury is short term. Looks like a groin injury.

IceBerg10
IceBerg10

Very curious to see Wilshere’s player rating from blogs… Must be running out of excuses to mark him down. Thought he was outstanding

Frankie
Frankie

Have to agree, Wilshire rating will be a thing of legends… as blogs does seem like poke jack with a shitty stick even when he has given 110% on the pitch…

Vin_Unleaded
Vin_Unleaded

Arguably his best performance of the season.

Thought Xhaka had a decent game too.

Yas
Yas

Nothing like giving the chavs something to sing about then take it away… twice

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

That was not just a great performance from Sanchez, that was a great TEAM performance from Sanchez. Enjoyed his tracking back almost as much as his goals. (That’s a lie, but you know what I mean)

FAXE
FAXE

This. Easily MotM. Also before he scored.

onenil
onenil

Our attacking is scary at times. Unfortunately, so is our defending.

Frankie
Frankie

Wiltshire MOM he makes our midfield tick…. Bellerin is a liability at defending, Sanchez looked hungry…….

Come on you gunners

mrtanmay
mrtanmay

We made Zaha look unnecessarily good. Jack was brilliant playing a bit deeper. Xhaka rarely moved into the space Jack vacates while carrying the ball… left Bellerin and Chambers an awful lot to do every time in the second half.
Also I’m all for good hold up play when we are in the lead… but can we do it in their half please !!! Its like our whole team goes on a power save, rightly so but that does not mean we should stop moving completely.
Good game to win. Ending showed all the flaws in their glory.

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Bellerin had a strange game…He played well but seems to have become allergic to defending. Chambers had his best game in an Arsenal shirt and kept Zaha quiet until the last 10 where he got tired…This is when Bellerin got exposed even more so as Chambers could’nt keep going out that far to double up..
Kos and Mustafi far better this game.
Something about Wilshere completing these 90mins consistently has a big smile on my face at the moment.
Alot wrong with the team but alot right also…Its why we can go from sublime to terrible and back again all in the space of 15mins.

eddymc2
eddymc2

Here on American TV we got a brief pre-match interview with Bellerín where he mentioned something about himself having less defensive responsibility when we play in a back 3, which really didn’t sit too well with me. But that would ignore the fact that he wasn’t awesome before we switched to a back 3 anyway.

espen
espen

Bellerin needs to warm the bench, he is turd awful in defense.

espen
espen

So there are actually 6 people here with thumbs down who thinks Bellerin defended well lol.

xxxrob
xxxrob

I think part of the problem is the bloke cunts himself up and down the line so much and it is only human to make poor decisions when you are tired. Most of his suspect defensive actions (and I will agree there are unfortunately a few..) come off the back of an 80 yard sprint to supply the width that is otherwise lacking in this formation. You can argue that’s his job to be up and down the line and it probably is, but all I’m suggesting is that could be a reason.

I’d be interested to see how his defensive ability stacked up if he was making say 75% of the runs forward he currently does. That extra energy might help concentration levels. The alternative is if there was a designated defensive midfielder, that player simply slides across to fill the space for him while he is forward, buying time for him to get back… that player doesn’t exist for us at this time though.

Gudang Bedil
Gudang Bedil

Not happy with Granit’s injury. But excited to see AMN in midfield. But alas, we might get Coq instead.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I normally defend Ramsey’s performances in the middle because of the way he helps our attack, but Wilshere has forced me to reassess. Such a difference having someone in there who can create consistently but is also actually disciplined. The biggest compliment is that Wilshere didn’t even play out of his skin today and yet was still very very good, it was just natural for him and topped it all off with a great assist. We lost control of the game when we moved him from the middle, just shows the impact he had in the engine room. Must sign him up as a top priority.

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

I enjoyed seeing AMN in the midfield finally

Getso+gunner
Getso+gunner

Mr Lacazette, the sooner you start scoring regularly the better for us

onenil
onenil

He had 2 assists. He worked his hole off winning the ball high up the pitch, making runs and linked well all match. Would love to see him score, but I will take what he did for the team.

bobbyp
bobbyp

Jack played well, but thought Mustafi was really excellent even without the goal.

Non flying dutchman
Non flying dutchman

Needed to have attacked the ball for their first goal. That was disappointing

SB Still
SB Still

In the post game analysis I thought Sky would cover how Sanchez or Wilshere or Kos or Mustafi played.

However those guys are focusing on a gut feeling of dressing room discontent between Sanchez and some others. Arseholes!

arsepedant
arsepedant

Look up the definition of “Sky TV” and it’ll say they’re a bunch of arseholes. Look up the definition of “arseholes” and it’ll say “see Sky TV”.

Highbury
Highbury

Özil – what a player, I am so glad that we signed him. His presence of mind is unbelievable.

santori
santori

1) Bellerin was RUBBISH
2) We were WASTEFUL
3) We do not ever learn to play with our heads on a SWIVEL
4) We are LAZY. Rather than play to end of the match we opt to try and see out the game taking our foot off the pedal.
5) We make counter attacks look so COMPLICATED (with exception of Alexis goal which is the way it should be done)

OTOH

Positives :

1) ALEXIS.Prob gone. Diss him all you want but he makes the effort and he’s pretty direct.
2) Chambers did decent.
3) Jack’s passing range …great assist.

Not a great performance by any stretch and all our ills still laid bare.

Chuffy
Chuffy

Disagree with Bellerin being a fantastic outlet. He didn’t deliver one decent cross, was caught out of position a number of times and refuses to take on his man any more. It’s a worry which I now thinks to be looked at more seriously.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

Cech (Ospina)

Mustafi (Chambers) Koscielny (Holding)
Bellerin (Debuchy) Monreal (Kolasinac)

Maitland-Niles (Coquelin – Elneny)
Ramsey (Iwobi) Wilshere (Xhaka)
Özil (Nelson)

Lacazette (Giroud) Alexis (Welbeck – Walcott)

As we are currently switching between different formations like never before anyway, why don’t give the good old 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield a try again. Think we have a pretty ideal squad for that apart from the DM role which isn’t exactly an unimportant role in that system. But I’d try out Maitland- Niles in his actual position for some games and if it turnes out to be too much to ask of him, play Coquelin in that role until we manage to bring a top class DM in. But with Wilshere and Ramsey in the team the focus from the opponents wouldn’t be on Özil that much anymore which would give him more time on the ball and Özil with time on the ball and Lacazette and Alexis in front of him always sounds like a good plan. With Ramsey and Wilshere both very capable of making dangerous runs too which would give him even more targets. Finally I’d like to say that it’s a 50/50 between Kolasinac and Nacho for me. Sead has that physicality while Nacho is just amazingly reliable. Would probably rotate them.

Beast
Beast

Jack the lad

American Gooner
American Gooner

Could we maybe buy a right-wing back in January who occasionally defends?

Dreamcast
Dreamcast

I don’t mind how dirty or clean the result came. I’m only interested in the 3 points cuz we need catch up with the rest of the teams who ahead of us. 6 points adrift 2nd place. We’re in for a battle for the remaining half of the season. Jacko, I’ll get you a new deal tonight. What a fantastic through ball to Sanchez there. Reminds me of Fabrepass in an Arsenal shirt. Wenger has got no excuse to bench you. Lacazzette’s link up with Alexis is getting stronger. If he wants to go we must sign Lemar or someone with Sanchez’s skill set. So much energy, dribble skills, an eye for goal.
What a way to end the year. Dramatic win. Selhurst park isn’t an easy place to go with their current form.
Glory days ahead.
Love you all Gunners worldwide.

Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam

Lemar would be great but in all honesty I’d rather strengthen our defence and defensive midfield area, and that might be mostly getting more coaching and psychological work done than actually bringing new bodies in.

UpNorth
UpNorth

I dont think Bellerin was so awful defensively the first 75, the last 15 was a nightmare, but there’s two reasons for that. Firstly, when Zaha began his short combination play there was no support behind him,so it was easy for Zaha to make the runs behind him. The second factor is the type of player Bellerin has been. He’s put on a lot of muscles the last years and is now a more powerful player,but the cost is that he’s lost his previous ability to make quick turns and short high speed runs. Still fast, but need longer distance to reach top speed. The major problem is not Bellerin, but our total lack of defensive plan and structure.
The worst part is that this is not rocket science, a decent coach and a few weekd of training would sort this out.

Post January Blip
Post January Blip

As bad as we’ve been at times, we’re not only a point off of 4th, but 6 off 2nd. Not saying that’s where we’ll finish at the end of the season but I think it’s fair to say we should be aiming to put a good run together into the new year. Only worry, we play Chelsea 3 times before Feb.

Ponsonby+gooner
Ponsonby+gooner

1. Good to get an away win.
2. Jack played well again.
3. Alexis looked much sharper than he has done recently.
4. The two goals we conceded were sloppy, with all the changes in backroom staff we’re making at the moment perhaps we should be looking at a new defensive coach? Bould was a great player but maybe someone younger and able to challenge Wenger could sort out some of our contestantly reoccurring defensive deficiencies….

Conchetumadre
Conchetumadre

Cech needs a break

adgonner
adgonner

Now we have come to a point where we have started to close the gap on the top 4.. sigh

Arun M
Arun M

That was Wilshere pass was awesome. Reminded me of carzola pass in one game in which Ozil scored. I felt Wishere was playing with less confidence maybe this assist will help him

Nick
Nick

We conceded 2 goals to side 1 point from the relegation zone. The only surprise is that we actually managed to prevent them from scoring first as it was starting to look like we were going for some sort of record lately. Who in their right mind would sign for Arsenal now?