Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace: Early blitz sees North London pride in capital derby
PUBLISHED: 16:54 20 January 2018
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Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in Saturday's north versus south London derby on a bitterly cold day in the capital.
Goals from Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette clinched the win for Arsenal as a game of football broke out during the transfer window. For 22 minutes at least.
Which was precisely the time it took for the home side to ease into a four goal lead against their sorry visitors from south London before Luka Milivojevic grabbed a late consolation for the Eagles.
With all the travails going on around the club including Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan set to arrive with possibly the Lamborghini-owning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as Theo Walcott sold to Everton for £20 million Arsene Wenger could be forgiven for savouring this match ahead of arguably his side’s biggest match of the season on Wednesday against Chelsea.
The long-serving Frenchman made four changes to his team bringing back Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Monreal and Mohamed Elneny. Surprisingly it was to be Monreal who had the most impact, despite only playing 34 minutes.
For it was he who grabbed a sixth minute opener following a corner after what can only be described as Arsenal-esque defending as the Spaniard had the freedom of the six-yard box to put his team 1-0 up.
Worse was to come for Roy Hodgson’s men who had battled valiantly 23 days previously in a tight 3-2 defeat to Wenger’s men under the lights at Selhurst Park.
On 10 minutes Iwobi doubled the score from close range after Monreal hooked the ball back for the 21-year-old to slot home.
Only 180 seconds later it was 3-0 after captain Koscielny scored after another assist from Monreal. It was proving to be an event start for the former Malaga player with a pair of assists and a goal.
With on 22 minutes, the game was well and truly over as Lacazette fired home past a shell-shocked Wayne Hennessey in the Eagles goal to make it 4-0.
The goal was also the 500th scored by a Frenchman for Arsenal in the Premier League.
What was joyous about the move was the driving run from Ozil before receiving the ball back from the Frenchman before playing a delicious backheel perfectly into Lacazette’s path.
As referee Chris Kavanagh blew for half-time it was noticeable the Palace players couldn’t wait to get back to the comfort of the dressing room.
Their pursuit of a welcoming sanctuary wasn’t just because it was a raw January afternoon in North London. No it was because Arsenal showed a sustained glimpse of what they can be capable of.
It was just a shame they didn’t show this kind of form on a more consistent basis, for if they did then it might have made a more convincing argument to Sanchez to stay.
Then again, a reported £450,000 a week plus a substantial signing on fee would be enough for most players to depart North London unfortunately.
The second half failed to match the pyrotechnics of the first even if Palace did grab a consolation through Milivoevic’s excellent turn and shot in a crowded box.
As the final whistle went this match, rather like Alexis Sanchez’s Arsenal career, will be largely forgotten by the majority of fans here in a few months.