It took just six minutes for Arsenal to take the lead against Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners cantered to a much-needed win in North London on Saturday to forget issues off the field.
Nacho Monreal opened the scoring - the Spaniard now becoming somewhat a dark horse in front of goal. A whipped corner found Monreal in acres of space, and the Spanish left-back made no mistake, nodding the free-header into the back of the net.
Just four minutes later, Alex Iwobi put Arsenal two-up slotting into the net from the middle of the box and Laurent Koscielny put the game to bed three minutes later, bundling the ball home from a couple of yards.
The goal of the game came from Arsenal’s record signing, Alexandre Lacazette. A typical sweeping Arsenal move eventually found Lacazette just inside the box and the French forward made no mistake, firing into the bottom corner.
The fourth goal in the 22nd minute would be Arsenal’s last of the game, with Palace scoring a consolation 10 minutes from time and the game finished 4-1.
Today’s victory ends a run of three Premier League games without a win for the Gunners – here’s how each player fared individually:
Monreal the pick of the defenders, despite injury.
Petr Cech: 7 – Though Cech was quiet throughout the game, the Czech international made two very impressive saves, most notably one-on-one with Wilfried Zaha. A clean-sheet would’ve topped a perfect day for Arsenal however Cech was powerless to stopping Luka Milivojevic’s effort, as the stopper still awaits his 200th clean sheet in the top-flight.
Laurent Koscielny: 8 – Brilliant return to first-team football for Arsenal’s vice-captain. Was extremely solid going in defence and always looked to play out whenever possible. Even going forward the French centre-back looked threatening and this was proven scoring Arsenal’s third goal of the game. Today’s performance showed just how much Arsene Wenger’s side have missed him.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7 – Once again Mustafi impresses with another typical performance from the German. Mustafi was always looking to attack the ball and drive forward whenever possible. Consistency is the only thing missing from the German’s game as he needs to start delivering performances like today, week in, week out.
Nacho Monreal: 8 – Having only played 34 minutes of today’s game, one goal and two assists speaks for itself. Headed home Arsenal’s first goal of the game but didn’t stop there, delivering two assists for Arsenal’s next two goals. Having been playing at centre-back all year, many were surprised that Monreal got the nod at left-back over the likes of Sead Kolasinac and academy graduate Ainsley Maitland-Niles, however the Spanish left-back impressed greatly having only played minimal time. Monreal was pulled on 34 minutes with what looks like a muscle injury, though Wenger has claimed it is not that serious.
Hector Bellerin: 6 – The Spaniard had a relatively quiet game today however did his job well. As always, Bellerin used his pace down the right-hand side to get at the Palace full-back, however his final ball was lacking the quality that was needed.
Wilshere continues to impress
Jack Wilshere: 8 – Playing in a new 4-3-3 system today, Wilshere thrived in a free role in front of the two holding midfielders. His quality on the ball is undoubtable and up there with the best in the league. Used his quick feet and sharp football knowledge to constantly threaten the Palace defence and was Arsenal’s best midfielder today.
Granit Xhaka: 7 – The Swiss international played well sitting behind Wilshere and kept the ball ticking over well throughout the game. This 4-3-3 system may suit the centre-midfielders game.
Mohammed Elneny: 6 – Not a bad performance today from the Egyptian international however was not quite at the level of the other players. Was lucky to have not given away a penalty, with what looked like a foul on Zaha at the edge of the box. With Aaron Ramsey coming back from injury, it is likely the Egyptian will be replaced in the team once again.
Mesut Ozil shines on return
Mesut Özil: 8 – Brilliant performance from the World Cup winner on his return to the first-team. Was the master-mind behind Arsenal’s fourth goal, at the centre of a number of one-two’s, before eventually flicking the ball around the corner for Lacazette to finish off. Arsenal’s lack of creativity without Ozil on the pitch is frightening and today proved just how important he is to this Arsenal team.
Alex Iwobi: 7 – Iwobi played some very good stuff at times today and was rewarded with a goal. Needs to continue impressing, as moves for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are edging closer and closer, could see the Nigerian face a spell on the Arsenal bench.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7 – A run of ten games without a goal came to an end today, as Lacazette scored his ninth goal of the season in emphatic fashion. A brilliant team move worked its way to Lacazette just inside the Palace box, and the Frenchman made no mistake rifling the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. Looked frustrated at times, however worked hard off the ball. Could the possible signings of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan help rejuvenate Lacazette’s season?
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6 – Didn’t hugely impress today having come on for the injured Monreal. Did well to shut out Palace danger-man Zaha, however made a couple of sloppy mistakes.
Sead Kolasinac: 5 – Not much of note today for the Bosnian with the limited time he had on the pitch.
Reiss Nelson: N/A – Not enough time on the pitch to give an accurate rating.