Arsenal claimed their first win of the season at Selhurst Park with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace. Following a bitterly disappointing opening day, The Gunners were determined to put things right to kick start their season in to life.
The open half was filled with exciting and open attacking football played with a high intensity which presented chances for both sides. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with an acrobatic volley in the 16th minute, however the Gunners were pegged back with a precise low drive from Palace defender Joel Ward.
The second half presented less chances with the first as Palace tightened up their defence compared to the first half which could have seen Arsenal put the game out of sight. The winning goal came in the 55th minute as Hector Bellerin sent in an inviting cross which was met by the head of Alexis Sanchez who showed tremendous desire to beat Ward in the air, his header then deflected off Delaney’s foot who put the ball in to his own net to give Arsenal their first win of the season.
Petr Cech- 6- Cech had a nightmare of a debut which saw the experienced goalkeeper make two vital errors. However, Cech picked himself back up today and put in a solid performance despite not having an awful lot to do which sees him earn a 6/10 rating.
Nacho Monreal- 7.5- He seems to grow in confidence with each game that he plays, having his best season in an Arsenal shirt last year and he will be looking to continue that form in to the new season. He was solid in defence and put in some good crosses when going forward which saw him complete a successful performance.
Laurent Koscielny- 7- Arsenal won ten league away games last season which was 2nd most successful in the whole league, and many of these victories were thanks to Koscielny’s brilliant defending. Once again, the consistent Frenchman had a solid game at the back which limited Palace’s chances in the second half.
Per Mertesacker- 7- Per has formed a solid the defence which has tightened up Arsenal’s defence over the last few seasons and that was no different today. Mertesacker won the majority of his aerial duals as he so often does.
Hector Bellerin- 8- Despite only being 19, Hector already looks like an accomplished right back. He faced a tough test up against the tricky Bolasie, however he performed brilliantly against him which saw Bolasie substituted at half time. Bellerin also provided the assist for the winning goal as he continues to look a threat in the attacking third in each game.
Francis Coquelin- 6- Arsenal’s brick wall in front of the defence had much less of an impact than usual due to picking up a yellow card in the first half which didn’t allow him to make his usual tough tackles and interceptions. It could be argued that Coquelin was lucky to stay on the pitch due to consistent fouling, however Wenger spotted the problem and substituted him preventing a likely dismissal.
Santi Cazorla- 8.5- Back in his favoured position of central midfield, Santi was pivotal to Arsenal’s victory as the Spaniard pulled the strings in the midfield with an extremely high pass success rate. He looked as if he was back to his old self being played in central midfield rather than on the wing which saw him pick up the Man of the Match award.
Aaron Ramsey- 7- A much improved performance in comparison to last week’s nightmare against West Ham which saw the Welshman played out on both wings and also in the middle today. Ramsey adapted well as he moved positions numerous times in the game and had a few chances at goal which he was unable to put away, but overall having a good game.
Mesut Ozil- 7- Glimpses of brilliance today from the German as Arsenal played some brilliant intricate football, much of it coming in the first half. Ozil was vital to Arsenal’s first goal as he provided a perfect cross which allowed Olivier Giroud to open the scoring.
Alexis Sanchez- 7- Back in the team after a late return to fitness. There was signs of the excellent Sanchez which we were treated to last season as the Chilean had some good chances to score early in the first half which may have been put away had it been later in the season. He showed immense desire to win the header which provided Arsenal with the three points.
Olivier Giroud -8- Also a much improved performance on last week’s horror show at the Emirates which saw Giroud as an almost transformed player today. His hold up play and general passing was very impressive and he took his goal brilliantly to perfectly volley the ball in the bottom corner from a difficult chance.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain- 6.5- Came on as a sub for Francis Coquelin and looked lively and attacked well as Arsenal looked to grab another goal on the counter attack and should have grabbed a goal in the last minute of added time, however his shot was saved.
Mikel Arteta- 6.5- Ankle injuries saw Arteta miss out on the majority of last season’s campaign however he returned today with a substitute appearance and looked solid in the defensive midfield position and put in some important tackles.
Overall, today’s game saw Arsenal pick up a massive three points which were drastically needed after last week’s awful loss at home to West Ham. Hopefully this will be a good kick start to the season with Arsenal hosting Liverpool at The Emirates in our next game which needs a similar performance of last year’s 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool to pick up the spirits around The Emirates.