A much needed victory for the Gunners, who appeared to be adopted an oddly shaped 4-1-3-2 / 4-1-3-1-1 despite being setup in a notional 4-1-4-1 prematch.
While Arsenal dominated the match (65% possession to Crystal Palace’s 35%) and predominately attacked through central areas, it was a combination of Arsenal’s effectiveness at set pieces, the efficiency of Monreal in attack and some dreadful defending from Crystal Palace which enabled Arsenal to establish a commanding lead in this one.
In terms of individual performances:
It was a solid performance from Cech who, while unable to keep out Milivojevic’s shot from a Crystal Palace corner, was able to repel goal bound attempts from Kelly, Zaha, Benteke and Sako as well as claim a number of crosses.
A strong tackling performance from Bellerin (3) as his opponent van Aanholt showed little initiative to take on the Spaniard via the dribble. That said, Bellerin’s positional play was again poor (1 interception) as he struggled to cut out van Aanholt’s 5 attempted crosses for the match. Offensively, while Bellerin showed great intent with his dribbling (3 successful dribbles), he failed to offer anything meaningful in terms of crosses (0 attempts for the match).
A pretty quiet day defensively for Koscielny (1 tackle and 3 interceptions) as his opponent Sako offered limited attacking threat (1/2 shots on target and 1 successful forward dribble). While Koscielny’s defensive positioning was excellent, as usually, he could have shown more aggression with this tackling which would have nullified what limited threat Sako did offer. That said, Koscielny kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 9 clearances, and he was again very strong aerially (5 successful aerial duels).
A similarly quiet day defensively for Mustafi (2 tackles and 1 interception) as his opponent Benteke, like Sako, offered limited attacking threat (1 shot on target from 1 attempt and no successful forward dribbles). While Mustafi showed more aggression in his tackling than Koscielny, his defensive positioning was questionable at times. That said, Mustafi, like Koscielny, kept his game nice and simple, reflected in a total of 7 clearances, and he was excellent aerially (9 successful aerial duels).
A quiet day defensively for Nacho (1 tackle and 1 interception) as his opponent Fosu-Mensah failed to challenge the Spaniard via the dribble (no forward dribbles). That said, Monreal’s positional play was a little underwhelming as he failed to deal with Fosu-Mensah’s 2 attempted crosses for the match.
Offensively, Monreal’s production was mixed, with no forward dribbles but 2 accurate crosses from 3 attempts, both of which resulted in goals. He also scores with a thumping header at the back post.
A relatively quiet day defensively for Elneny as his opponent, Zaha, struggled to influence the match (1 shot on target from 1 attempt, 2 forward dribbles and no through passes). That said, Elneny’s defensive production (1 tackle and 1 interception) was relatively poor, despite Zaha’s somewhat underwhelming offensive performance. Offensively, while Elneny’s passing accuracy (96%) was excellent, his transitional play was poor with only 2 accurate long passes for the match and just the one forward dribble.
An indifferent defensive performance from Iwobi, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) and made an interception but was rarely threaten by his opponent McArthur (0 shots, 0 dribbles and 1 long range pass). That said, Iwobi failed to put any pressure on his opponent which certainly afforded McArthur the opportunity to influence the match much more than he did. Offensively, Iwobi show good accuracy with his passing (83%) and great goal scoring intent with a goal from his 4 shots on target out of 4 attempts. Apart from that though, Iwobi underwhelmed offensively with no attempted through passes and just the one forward dribble.
A similarly, indifferent performance defensively from Xhaka, who had a couple of nice tackles (2) but was rarely threaten by his opponent Cabaye (0 shots, 0 dribbles and 1/long range pass out of 5 attempts). That said, like Iwobi, Xhaka failed to put any pressure on Cabaye who could have been more influential had he shown greater initiative. Offensively, Xhaka’s transitional passing was way down on his usual high standard (1 accurate long range pass out of 3 attempts) and he failed to offer anything in terms of forward dribbles. That said, Xhaka’s passing accuracy (83%) was very good and he at least showed some attempt at being creative with his passing with one attempted albeit inaccurate through pass for the match.
A bad defensive effort from Wilshere (0 tackles and 0 interceptions), who like Xhaka and Iwobi, failed to put any sort of pressure on his opponent Milivojevic who, with 5 out of 8 accurate long passes, did exert some influence on the game. Offensively though, Jack was very good with 82% passing accuracy, 3 forward dribbles and 1 accurate through pass out of 2 attempts. The only blight on his game offensively was his lack of goal scoring intent, with no attempted shots for the match.
A mixed performance from Ozil who appeared to isolate between a central attacking midfield and second striker role. His assist for Lacazette’s goal was majestic, his passing accuracy (86%) and creativity (1 accurate through pass out of 2 attempts) was very good and his forward dribbling (2) was solid. That said, he again showed very little goal scoring intent (no shots on target and just the one attempt).
A strong performance from Lacazette who finally had some goal scoring opportunities thanks to some more creative passing from the likes of Ozil and Wilshere. He ended the match with a goal from his 5 shots, 3 of which were on target.
A much needed victory for Arsenal and some more adventurous passing from the likes of Ozil and Wilshere was very much welcomed. That said, there was still incomplete or underwhelming performances from the majority of team, which sadly is likely to be masked by the result.
The stats and images referenced in this post are sourced from http://www.whoscored.com.