Storming the Palace: Arsenal 2 – 1 Crystal Palace – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 2 – 1 Crystal Palace

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Finally, the Premier League has arrived. Arsenal welcomed a manager-less Crystal Palace to the Emirates. An “easy” fixture some might say, but this is the English Premier League after all.

Palace started the game off my immediately pouncing on Arsenal, stealing possession and very nearly setting Fraizer Campbell free behind the back four.

After that mini-scare though, Arsenal took over.

Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez in particular were running things for a while, with Alexis pulling out some tricks in the final third. It was great to watch, but few chances were actually being created.

Typically, despite Arsenal’s dominance, it was Palace who struck first.

In the thirty-fifth minute, a corner conceded as a result of a poor Szczesney clearance was attacked brilliantly by Hangeland at the near post. He ran through Arsenal’s zonal marking system before beating Koscielny to nod it into the net.

The goal didn’t knock Arsenal too much though. Just ten minutes later, on the stroke of half time, Koscielny hit back.

The goal didn’t knock Arsenal too much though. Just ten minutes later, on the stroke of half time, Koscielny hit back.

With their roles reversed, it was Koscielny’s turn to beat Hangeland. Alexis launched in a free-kick, and Laurent executed a perfect run and headed finish to bring Arsenal level. Revenge was sweet, I’m sure.

Arsenal couldn’t kick on in the second half though.

The players were tiring fast, and Palace were setting to see out their point. Never a good sign.

Palace battled against The Gunners hard, thwarting every attack as it came. As the clock ticked, things were looking bleak.

[Arsenal] finally found their winning goal in the five minutes of extra time.

Thankfully, in the eighty-ninth minute, Jason Puncheon picked up a second yellow card after a rash tackle on Monreal. This opened things up for Arsenal, and they finally found their winning goal in the five minutes of extra time.

A cross from The Ox was nodded into danger by Koscielny, where Giroud knocked it down to Debuchy. The Frenchman had his shot saved, but Aaron Ramsey was waiting in the wings to tap it home. Relief.

The final whistle soon blew, and although the performance wasn’t great, it was enough.

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Arsenal Player Ratings

Szczesney: [6/10]

Very poor clearance leading up to Hangeland’s goal, followed by an unnecessarily risky pass to Chambers. Ospina will be licking his lips.

Debuchy: [7/10]

Brings a whole new dimension to Arsenal – simply by being a full-back who can cross. Worked hard, got stuck in. I like him.

Chambers: [7/10] 

Looked solid overall, but made a very silly challenge on Campbell high up the pitch to earn himself a yellow card. Inexperienced, but highly promising.

Koscielny: [7/10] 

Laurent was the man at fault for not averting the Hangeland goal, but he made amends immediately with a fantastic header of his own. Looked comfortable otherwise.

Gibbs: [6/10]

Didn’t look comfortable in defence, and did pretty much nothing going forwards. Really needs to improve his crossing. Went off injured in the second half.

Arteta: [6.5/10]

Broke up play very well in the first half, but was not as effective in the second half. Palace were walking through out midfield at times.

Wilshere [6.5/10] 

Didn’t do much wrong, but Jack is facing a battle to get into this Arsenal team, and he doesn’t seem to be fighting very hard. Needs to run at players like he used to and be more creative. Subbed.

Cazorla [5.5/10]

Gave glimpses of good play, but they only came after spells of poor ones. Inaccurate crossing all game, ran into danger, lost possession and failed to contribute anything of real value. Walcott and Ozil will certainly push him out of the team.

Ramsey: [7.5/10] – MOTM

It wasn’t his best game, but he kept working, and was soon rewarded. I noticed he was helping out a little more defensively today at times too, and although that didn’t help us going forward, it’s good to see. Struck his tap in beautifully.

Alexis: [7.5/10]

Alexis was everywhere today. He closed Palace down well, tracked back, got stuck in and ran at defenders. He looked to be our only player willing to beat a player at times. Won’t need long to settle in.

Sanogo: [5.5/10]

Didn’t attack crosses, looked sluggish and never made any intelligent runs – which he usually does. Subbed.

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Substitutes

Giroud: [7/10]

Worked hard when he came on. Had a good shot/cross across the face of goal before he helped in the build up to Ramsey’s winner.

Monreal: [7/10] 

I’m liking Monreal this season. He replaced an injured Gibbs – and improved us. His crosses were of a good quality, and he defended well too.

The Ox [7]

Injected some much-needed energy into the side. His cross resulted in Ramsey’s goal.

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Storming the Palace

You could see Arsenal weren’t fully fit today, but in the end, we did just enough to secure an etremely important three points.

Kscielny, Debuchy, Chambers, Alexis and Ramsey stood out the most, whilst other players were still feeling the effects of their summer.

Palace worked us very hard too, and they probably didn’t deserve to lose. Then again, all they did was harrass and time waste, so I’ve got little sympathy.

Next up, Besiktas. A different type of challenge.

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