Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace: Player ratings as Arsenal make a winning start to 2017

Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace: Player ratings as Arsenal make a winning start to 2017

Arsenal made it back to back Premier League wins following a comfortable victory against Crystal Palace at The Emirates Stadium.

TJWedderburn
TJ Wedderburn

Olivier Giroud netted what can only be described as a goal for the ages, after his scorpion-kick helped secure three points for The Gunners. 

Alex Iwobi also got on the scoresheet, a looping header in the 56th minute was enough to put the game beyond Sam Allardyce's side. It's now two consecutive wins for Arsenal, who have a winnable set of fixtures coming up as they look to put pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

Goalkeeper and defence

Petr Cech - 7 - Cech didn't have much to do, but when he was called into action he produced a series of saves to preserve his team's lead. A solid performance from a reliable goalkeeper.

Hector Bellerin - 8 - Another superb outing from a player who is quickly becoming one of Europe's top full backs. The former Barcelona man kept an in-form Wilfried Zaha quiet, and as per usual, proved to be an important attacking outlet going forward.

Laurent Koscielny - 7 - The Arsenal skipper helped keep Christian Benteke at bay, bar a far post header in the second half, Palace's Belgian frontman had an extremely quiet game, with no real chances of note. 

Gabriel - 7 - The Brazilian was given a huge vote of confidence by Arsene Wenger, after he kept his place in the team despite Shkodran Mustafi returning to full fitness. Gabriel repaid Wenger's faith with another solid, committed defensive display. 

Nacho Monreal -7- Recalled to the starting XI after an injury to Kieran Gibbs, Monreal hardly put a foot wrong and was heavily involved in the build up to Arsenal's second goal of the game. The 30-year-old is often decisive in attacking areas, perhaps an underrated aspect of his game.

Midfield

Granit Xhaka - 8 - Xhaka's ability on the ball is clear for all to see. He is extremely dangerous in possession, and in the second half a sumptuous outside of the boot through pass to Alexis Sanchez  just about summed up his game. The Swiss international's distribution from deep was a key factor in The Gunners' New Year's Day win. 

Mohamed Elneny - 6 - Elneny got the nod in midfield in what will be his last appearance for Arsenal before departing for the African Cup of Nations. There was nothing spectacular about the Egyptian's performance in central midfield, however, he was neat and tidy with the ball and always offered his teammates an option without it. 

Alex Iwobi - 7 - Arsenal's youth academy graduate was given the unenviable task of replacing Mesut Ozil'creativity in the number 10 position, after the German playmaker was ruled out of the game through illness. To Iwobi's credit, he took on this responsibility with minimum difficulty, keeping possession ticking over with well-timed passes and eventually secured three points for Arsenal with a cute headed goal.

Attack

Alexis Sanchez - 7 - Arsenal's go-to-guy was the assistant for Giroud's outstanding 17th minute strike. The Chilean is never short of endeavour, and although he never managed to get on the scoresheet he was still hugely influential in his play. 

Lucas Perez - 6 - Starts have been hard to come by for Perez, who joined The Gunners last summer from La Liga side Deportivo de La Coruna. Perez was selected to start out wide and it was his interception which started the counter-attack that lead to Giroud's stunning finish. Perez demonstrated some clever attacking movement which will have encouraged the Arsenal faithful, now all eyes turn to Tuesday to see if Perez is given another opportunity to start.

Olivier Giroud - 10 - Such was the nature of The Frenchman's goal, it would be criminal to award him with anything less than a 10 rating. Giroud is a player who receives a lot of criticism, but has shown he's capable of brilliance. The powerful forward opened the scoring with a goal that will be shown frequently for years to come. It was a perfectly executed scorpion-kick which lobbed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, hit the crossbar and then the back of the net. Absolutely sensational from the Arsenal striker, an undisputed world class finish.

Substitutes 

Aaron Ramsey - 5 - Came on with a little over 20 minutes remaining and managed to work an angle for a shot which he fired wide of the near post. Ramsey's season has been very stop-start with injuries, the Welshman will be hoping to put together a consistent run of games.

Francis Coquelin - 5 - Was brought on to shore things up for Arsenal and did just that. In typical Coquelin fashion, he put himself about and won the ball back on a couple of occasions for his teammates. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6 - Always an interesting proposition from the bench, Oxlade-Chamberlain had a few direct runs at Palace's defence and was unlucky not to score. A smart save from Hennessey denied him a goal following good work from Sanchez.

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