First off I want to apologise for the lateness of this post. A match report is supposed to follow the conclusion of match only by a couple of hours at the most. But just a set of three points in the Premier League, just when you think it’s never going to happen, along it comes, even though it was hard-fought for.
Alexis Sanchez’s deflected header early in the second half eventually decided the match for the boys from north of the Thames but that didn’t tell the whole story. Arsenal started the brightest, pinging passes between themselves, led by the utterly magnificent Mesut Özil and creating a number of clear chances, leaving the home to team to resort to last ditch clearances and blocks when their goalkeeper wasn’t being forced to make excellent saves.
When the team sheet was announced minutes before the match, there were grumblings among the Arsenal twitterati as to the wisdom of dropping Oxlade-Chamberlain to the bench and deploying Aaron Ramsey on the right wing. As the match wore on though, it began to make sense, with Arsenal keeping possession with relative ease.
One player who didn’t play the game with complete ease however, was Francis Coquelin, who was ultimately lucky not to be sent off for tugging back a Crystal Palace player (I forget who) before being hauled off for the team captain, Mikel Arteta.
It was perhaps fitting that the best player on the pitch, Özil, would play a decisive hand in breaking the deadlock pinging a delightful cross over to the back post for Olivier Giroud who finished with aplomb. Just when it seemed like the team would carry on from there and really turn the screw on Pardew’s men, Palace pulled levelled matters.
The source might have been unlikely (Joel Ward, primarily functions as a right back), but the manner of the goal was all too familiar. Again, an opposing team scored against the Arsenal with its first shot on target. Again, an Arsenal defender, rather than closing down a player, turned his back on him as he shaped to shoot. Again, (yeah, i know its a bit early in his Arsenal career), Petr Cech conceded a goal you felt he could have done better with. I still believe the Czech will come good but its becoming a pattern, i think.
After the shock result against West Ham last week at the Emirates, it was nice to see the team recover from that shock result sharply.
Eventually, the Arsenal prevailed by dint of hard work and resolute defending, getting an all too familiar 2-1 win at Selhurst Park. 36 more of those would do very nicely.