Arsenal claim their first win of 2018
Arsenal won their first match of 2018, with a 4- 1 win over Crystal Palace in their Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The Gunners remain 6th place in the Premier League table, with 42 points from 24 matches.
The victory will provide Arsene Wenger with a little respite and he will hope that the protracted transfer of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United is now completed as quickly as possibly.
Along with possible moves into the club for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
They have moved to within two points of Tottenham Hotspur, who play Southampton at St Mary’s tomorrow.
Defeat for Crystal Palace drops them down to 13th place in the Premier League table.
Roy Hodgson is now winless in all 11 of his Premier League away London derbies as a manager (D3 L8).
Palace have now lost just two of their last 13 Premier League games (W5 D6), with both defeats coming against Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger was able to include Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil in his starting eleven.
Each made a telling contribution on their return to the team from injury.
Four first half goals from Nacho Monreal (6), Alex Iwobi (10), Laurent Koscielny (13) and Alexandre Lacazette (22) secured the three points for the Gunners.
Luka Milivojevic scored the consolation goal for the Eagles (78).
Monreal opened the scoring when he ran unmarked at the far post to head home from a corner.
Monreal then turned provider for Arsenal’s next two goals.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah gave the ball away inside his own area, allowing Monreal to feed Alex Iwobi who found the net from close range
For the third goal, Palace were again undone from a corner kick, Monreal found himself unmarked at the far post and set up Laurent Koscielny who scored from inside the six yard box.
Monreal’s involvement in three of Arsenal’s goals before being substituted (1 goal, 2 assists) – was as many as in his previous 43 Premier League games combined (2 goals, 1 assist)
The fourth goal was the best of the match.
Mesut Ozil touched the ball six times in the build up before his sublime touch found Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman ended his goal drought with a decisive low finish.
Arsenal going 4-0 up in the opening 22 minutes was the earliest a side has led by that many in a Premier League game since Liverpool against the Gunners themselves in February 2014 (20 minutes).
Lacazette’s goal was the 500th by French players for Arsenal in the Premier League (excluding own goals) – 358 more than any other side in the competition.
Crystal Palace improved after the break and got their consolation goal from a corner. The ball fell to Luka Milivojevic who swivelled and shot past Petr Cech.
So Cech’s wait for a 200th Premier League clean sheet goes on.
For Milivojevic it was his seventh Premier League goal – with the Gunners the only team he’s scored against more than once
This is what Arsene Wenger had to say after the match.
“We played our real game in the first half, real pace and real combination. In the second half the challenge was to keep the same drive and we didn’t manage to do that.
“The speed of our game at the start was good. We are the only team to beat Palace in their last 12 games.
“Not scoring had played on Lacazette’s mind, it was starting to get heavy for him so that is a relief. We know the challenge in front of us is very difficult, exciting as well.
“For 45 minutes our fans have seen some great football.”
Arsenal enjoy 3.00pm kick-offs on a Saturday. They are now unbeaten in their last 19 Premier League home games kicking off at 3.00pm on a Saturday (W17 D2), since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Gunners host Chelsea in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Wednesday, 24 January at 8.00pm and then travel to Swansea City in the Premier League on Tuesday, 30 January with kick-off at 7.45pm.
Arsenal: Cech 6, Bellerin 6, Koscielny 7, Mustafi 7, Monreal 7 (Maitland-Niles), Xhaka 6, Elneny 7, Wilshere 7, Iwobi (Kolasinac), Ozil 8 (Nelson), Lacazette 7