Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal: Match Report and Player Ratings
Posted by enigma106
Crystal Palace 1 (Ward 28′) – Arsenal 2 (Giroud 16′, Delaney o.g. 55′)
Following the shocking season opener against West Ham, I expected the Gunners to prove their worth against a Crystal Palace outfit that has been hugely impressive under Alan Pardew. With Alexis Sanchez back to full fitness, it was simply a case of who was going to leave the team to accommodate the Chilean sensation and your guess was as right as mine, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal began the game with more urgency and Alexis almost got off the mark when he received a superb Ozil pass, dallied on the ball before firing a shot through the keepers legs but a defender was on the line to block the effort. Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha were a handful for the Arsenal defenders, using their pace and trickery to good effect but the full backs, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin, were up to the task. Arsenal opened the scoring when Ozil drifted in a great pass behind Olivier Giroud but the forward showed off some improvisation to fire a shot that showed off his technical quality.
After scoring that goal, the Gunners took their foot off the pedal and were punished for it through a combination of juvenile defending and some questionable goalkeeping from Petr Cech. Laurent Koscielny will take some part of the blame for failing to close Joel Ward down but while I shouldn’t take anything away from a perfectly executed low drive to the Arsenal net, I’d expected Pete Cech to at least put a limb to stop the ball. It just breezed past him like…
That was the third goal he was conceding in his first two Arsenal games. He had conceded two in his last nine for Chelsea. Speaking of Chelsea, lol, never mind! 😥
Arsenal sprang back to life after conceding the equalizer and the onslaught continued. Alexis and Ozil combined superbly to feed Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the area but his flicked effort was saved by Alex McCarthy. At the start of the second half, Crystal Palace almost took the lead when Conor Wickham reacted quickly to Zaha’s cross but his effort clipped the post when Cech rooted to the spot.
Arsenal got their breakthrough when Bellerin swung in a cross that was headed goalwards by Alexis but Delaney’s anticipation turned disastrous as he put the ball past his own goalie.
Crystal Palace tried to bring themselves back to the game when Jason Puncheon showed good control before firing a shot straight at Cech. Francis Coquelin can thank his lucky stars he remained on the pitch after a series of rash challenges and Wenger took him out for the Ox, deploying Ramsey in the holding position. With Crystal Palace fighting for an equalizer, they left gaping holes at the back but the Gunners didn’t exploit it. Ozil’s dinked a neat ball for Ramsey but he blasted it over. Santi Cazorla and the Ox also had some point-blank efforts that were saved by McCarthy and Wenger did his bit to bring on Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta that added some steel to the team.
In the end, it was good to finally get three points in the log table and I hope this would be a start of a good run of results in the team’s bid to challenge for honors this season.
Petr Cech had a relatively routine day in goal but in all honesty, he hasn’t been convincing. 6/10
Hector Bellerin was very efficient in his defensive duties and battled hard with Crystal Palace’s wingers. 7/10
Nacho Monreal put up another solid display at the back. 7/10
Laurent Koscielny could have done better in preventing the goal from the hosts. 6/10
Per Mertesacker didn’t have much to do in the game. 6/10
Francis Coquelin had a frustrating game and almost earned himself an early bath. 6/10
Aaron Ramsey was industrious as ever but he could have done a bit better with his finishing. 7/10
Santi Cazorla always made himself available for a pass and was better when he was restored to the middle. 7/10
Mesut Ozil had 98% passing accuracy, made 10 crosses, created five chances and had an assist. Man of the Match performance. 10/10
Olivier Giroud showed his team work skill set and must be delighted to score such a wonderfully-crafted acrobatic finish. 8/10
Mikel Arteta was at his combative best with his most telling contribution coming when he stopped Lee from having a goal attempt. 7/10
Kieran Gibbs offered some protection to Monreal on the left. 7/10
The Ox was all-action as usual but his end product was found wanting. He should have finished that late effort though. 6/10
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