Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace
This was a good performance overall.
We blitzed Palace in the opening half an hour and they were spectacularly poor.
It was our first Alexis-less game, with his move to United looking very certain. However, life after Alexit as it were seems OK.
We were sharper in the first –half, and Palace couldn’t cope at all.
Ozil, Wilshere, Iwobi, and Lacazette all combined well in the attacking third, with Iwobi standing out for his pace and movement.
The first goal was due bad defending from Palace, with Monreal sneaking in at the far post to score.
The second goal again was capitalising on poor Crystal Palace defending, as Iwobi picked up the ball in their box and hit a low drive.
Kos got a third, and again by capitalising on bad defending from their part.
Lacazette got on the scoresheet, and finally. Ozil, himself, and Iwobi, all interchanged well, and he slotted home after a back heel in the box from Ozil.
Palace stood up more in the second half, but seldom threatened bar the goal. Their goal though was well-taken by Milivojevic, but he had the time and space to chest the ball down and volley it, which he should not have been granted. A contender for goal of the month, in my mind at least.
The French President Macron came to the UK lately to meet our PM, to discuss post-Brexit relations/deals. Wenger, like his national President, also must contemplate life after a major change/break, namely Alexis. “Alexit” looks OK, if this game is anything to go by.
Yes, Crystal Palace are not that good. They were actually worse than I expected today. However, we had to capitalise on their poorness, and we did.
It was the win we were due, or should have worked for, after some recent poor games. Had we played this way at Forest in the Cup, then there is now way we would have lost.
Nonetheless, the Palace goal epitomised the self-destruct tendency we have, as Milivojevic did possess excessive time and space to execute his finish.
I don’t believe anybody had a bad game, and it was good to see the following:
- A change from back four to back three. We are being more tactically flexible these days, and it’s good to note the differences in our shape. At the start, we moved from a back three and then a back four after Monreal went off injured.
- Monreal He’s one of the most underrated players in the league, and Spain could do worse by including him in their World Cup squad. He’s not a legend, perhaps, but one of the best defenders in the Wenger era.
- Iwobi After the recent antics, and poor performances, he stepped up today, and has improved of late also. He needs to sustain this, and put the recent negativity on and off the pitch behind him.
- Lacazette Finally, he has scored. And it was a well-executed finish, following an excellent assist from Ozil. Let’s hope he can now get over 20 this season which would be a great return in his first season.
- Maitland-Niles. I like Zaha, and I believe he could do a job at Arsenal. However, Maitland-Niles schooled him today, and even if he’s not a true defender, he looked the part today.
- Koscielny He’s a stalwart, and at times erratic. But then he looked very strong today, and took advantage of some very weak Palace defending.
- Elneny He played in a holding role, and looked comfortable overall. Now that Coquelin has left, he has more scope to develop this aspect of his game. Moreover, he could be akin to how Arteta was, as a deep-lying shield/playmaker.
- Jack Not the best game today, nonetheless he looked to get forward as often as he could.
- Ozil A great assist today, and has sustained his outstanding form of the past few months.
As for the manager, he didn’t do much wrong, in his return to the dugout. The formation, tactics, and team selection were spot on in all counts.
I will miss Alexis, however if this is a sign of things to come, albeit against a weak Palace side, then it may not be that great a loss.
Cech 7, Monreal 8, Kos, 6, Mustafi 6, Bellerin 6, Wilshere 7, Elneny 6, Iwobi 9, Ozil 8, Lacazette 7, Xhaka 6.
Maitland-Niles 8, Nelson 5, Kolasinac 5.
Man of the match
For me, he looked sharp, and hopefully has turned a corner following recent on and off the field matters.