Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace

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News

Who was our best player against Palace?

Nacho Monreal celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace

We returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday, courtesy of a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Nacho Monreal marked his return by scoring once and assisting twice, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette were also both on the scoresheet, with Mesut Ozil providing the assist for our France striker.

But who was our best player? Make sure you vote below.

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

Three goals in a blistering 13-minute spell at the start of this game saw us blow Crystal Palace away and claim our first victory of 2018.

Nacho Monreal, back in the Arsenal team for his first appearance in close to a month, was at the heart of the action, opening the scoring and then bagging two assists.

The opener was a simple task for the Spaniard as he crept around the back post to meet Granit Xhaka’s deep corner and head in from close range.

Monreal is such a calming presence at the back, but his attacking game is underrated – and he underlined how good he can be when burst into the area and laid a cross on a plate for Alex Iwobi to poke home to double our lead.

We were passing the ball about slickly and the Emirates crowd were in fine voice, and that only increased when Monreal met another deep Xhaka corner at the back post and volleyed it across to Laurent Koscielny to bundle in.

Having struggled for form, this 13-minute burst was a welcome sight – and our fourth goal was the pick of the bunch, Mesut Ozil’s sublime backheel finding Alex Lacazette in the area, and he curled it into the bottom corner.

It was the France international’s first goal in 10 games, and just reward for the hard-working performances he has delivered in that time but neither he nor the team were prepared to settle for that.

On we continued to come, with Iwobi testing Wayne Hennessy with a firm drive and the Crystal Palace goalkeeper made a sharp save after half-time to deny the Arsenal forward again.

Petr Cech, who has been underworked all afternoon, was belatedly called into action on the hour mark to make a sprawling stop to deny Christian Benteke – but he couldn’t do anything to keep out Luka Milivojevic’s close-range volley in the closing stages.

It was the only moment of frustration of an otherwise fine afternoon’s work – and certainly not enough to take the gloss of the result. We’re up and running in 2018.

 

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded and get all the standout stats in our play-by-play commentary

what it means


WHAT’S NEXT

We welcome Chelsea to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday for the second leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final, with the game finely-poised after a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

It will be our fifth meeting with the Blues this season, having beaten them on penalties in the Community Shield and drawing both Premier League encounters.

 

NACHO, NACHO MAN

Nacho Monreal was back in the Arsenal team for the first time in nearly a month after recovering from injury, and he made quite an impact in the time he was on the pitch.

Here are some of his key moments:

5 – Ozil collects the ball in the area, and lays it back to Iwobi whose shot it palmed over the bar and from the resulting corner, Nacho Monreal heads in the opener

10 – Monreal does really well to pounce on a loose ball to the left of the area and race into the box, before cutting it back for Iwobi to poke in from close range

13 – Corner from Xhaka to the far post, and Monreal pops up and volleys it back across goal for Laurent Koscielny to bundle in from a couple of yards out

34 – Nacho is replaced by Ainsley Maitland-Niles after failing to run off an injury sustained in a challenge with Benteke a few minutes earlier

Press conference

Wenger on Aubameyang, Dortmund and Giroud

Talk of potential transfers take up a lot of Arsene Wenger's press conferences these days - and it was no different on Saturday.

The Arsenal manager was asked about the latest rumours, and this is what he told the press:

on speculation of a bid for Aubameyang and whether he is willing to comment…
No. No comment on that.

on whether he’s more reluctant to comment on Aubameyang following comments from Michael Zorc at Borussia Dortmund…
I don’t know what I said? I said nothing happens and I cannot comment on that. So I am quite surprised. It looks to me like a tactical reaction rather than anything else, because I said nothing. I said I don’t know anything about it.

on whether Olivier Giroud could move to Borussia Dortmund…
We are nowhere near anything with Dortmund. Nothing.

on Borussia Dortmund going public and claiming negotiations are underway for Aubameyang…
They are responsible for their own statements you know. I cannot stand up for what they say. But if we sign somebody, we will announce it. I half-announced today, Sanchez against Mkhitaryan, because that is likely to happen and the rest… we are not close at all to anything.

The Breakdown

How instinctive Iwobi helped blow Palace away

We scored four goals in the first 22 minutes on Saturday to blow Crystal Palace away and claim our first win of 2018.

In the latest episode of The Breakdown, Adrian Clarke examines the match in detail, focusing on:

  • The instinctive interplay that marked our attacking game
  • How the change in formation benefitted Granit Xhaka
  • Why set pieces played such a big part in the performance
  • How Alex Iwobi delivered his best display for some time

Click the 'Play' button to watch the The Breakdown and then check out the following:

We picked up our first win of 2018 in convincing style on Saturday, thanks to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

We were four goals to the good by the midway point in the first half, with Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette all scoring.

Click on the 'play' button above to watch our extended highlights. Alternatively, you can scroll down to see all four goals, plus a bitesize cut and the full first and second halves.

Interview

'Mentally we had to push ourselves more'

It is no coincidence that our return to form against Crystal Palace coincided with a number of important players coming back into the team.

Laurent Koscielny scored in his first match of 2018, and afterwards he praised the mental qualities the side displayed.

"It was very important because the last few games we didn't play well and didn't get the three points, and we didn't give as much as we need to, to win games," he told Arsenal Player.

"Today we were focused on what we want to achieve together, we know we have the quality technically and physically but mentally we needed to push ourselves more. We just had one target and that was to win, and the first half was very good.

"In the second half we were not efficient, we lost a lot of balls and we didn't play well but we kept the win. Today was important for our confidence and confidence comes with results and wins. So today we are a little bit more confident than last week.

"Without sacrifice on the pitch, the defensive runs and offensive runs give solutions to your team-mates. If you don't keep this you can't win in the Premier league so we need to keep this."

Press conference

'We played the football that we want to play'

Arsene Wenger was a satisfied man after we recorded our first win of 2018 with a 4-1 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Arsenal manager had this to say in his post-match press conference:

on the game…
I think we started well, we played well and played the kind of football we want to play and we know we can play when everybody is focused and in a good shape. Overall, we had a very convincing first half. The second half was of good quality and it’s always a bit human that you have not exactly the same drive in the second half. It was a convincing win.

on the second-half display…
Crystal Palace responded well in the second half. They gave us less room, they were aggressive and we had a bit less legs, a little bit less movement and we were less creative.

on if Nacho Monreal is ok…
Yes. He has a kick on the back of his hamstring. It was precautionary.

Post-Match Gallery

Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace: In pictures

Our photographers were pitch-side at the Emirates.  Check out the best of the action below.

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