Rewind: Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2
PUBLISHED: 13:22 17 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:22 17 August 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
What we predicted
We forecast that Arsenal would bounce back from their West Ham woe with a 3-2 win. So not a million miles away - give or take a couple of goals.
Alexis Sanchez, restored to the Gunners’ starting line-up, looked sharp in the early stages and fired one effort through the legs of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, only for James McArthur to clear off the line.
It was no surprise when the visitors snatched a 16th-minute lead, with Sanchez pouncing on a slip by Joel Ward to pick out Mesut Ozil and the German’s cross found Olivier Giroud for a bicycle kick that flew beyond McCarthy.
Palace’s equaliser, just before the half-hour mark, came out of the blue as Yannick Bolasie and McArthur combined to tee up Ward, who drilled a precise 25-yarder into the bottom corner.
There were further chances for both sides but, although Connor Wickham fired a half-volley against the post early in the second half, it was Arsenal who scored the decisive goal 10 minutes after the restart.
Hector Bellerin’s cross picked out the head of Sanchez and McCarthy was left helpless as Palace captain Damien Delaney slid in to divert the ball into his own net.
Buy him a pint
Ozil raised his game significantly from the previous week and Cazorla held his own in a lively midfield battle, while substitute Mikel Arteta merits an honourable mention for his calming influence during the final 15 minutes.
However, we felt the impact made by Sanchez turned out to be decisive – the Chilean star played a part in both goals and gave Palace’s defence few opportunities to relax.
Get your coat son
Petr Cech was certainly under consideration for the second week running – he looked unconvincing on crosses and, while Ward’s finish was struck superbly, it wasn’t unstoppable.
And, although we’re big fans of Francis Coquelin, it has to be said that the Frenchman gave his manager no alternative but to take him off after a series of clumsy challenges left him on thin ice.
Giroud’s finish – perfectly executed to round off a good move and open Arsenal’s account for the season. Just the sort of goal we like to see.