Good morning Positivistas,
That was much much more like it. Football reared its lovely head across a wet North London Saturday afternoon. The players, all of them in fact, delivered the fans 90 minutes of entertainment, and a comfortable three point win.
I have to admit a cloak of trepidation swaddled the Arsenal faithful on the way to the ground, after recent on pitch disappointments and off pitch shenanigans. It was understandable with January so far having been a month of one-step forward, two-steps back. Palace came into the game on good run of form, over their past dozen Premier League games their only recent defeat to us and points take off Citeh and beating Chelsea.
Looking at the line up I sensed Arsene decided that that is was a key game in our season, and it as the best 11 who were available on the pitch, never mind future games or player “fatigue”. Elneny coming also gave us more energy in the centre of the park and freed Jack to rove forward. A fit again Ozil will always add quality to our movement and attaching threat. To start for what seems the first time this year (? maybe longer) with Nacho, Kosc and Mustafi gave us a more confident base from which to build.
And so it proved. It was a dream opening, no other word for it. After weeks of frustration with us struggling to create chances and thwarted by good goalkeepers when we did the Palace gates opened and we streamed in. 6 Nacho, 10 Iwobi, 13 Kosc and finally, our long suffering strokers, 22 Alexander Lacazette. Did you see him smile after the goal ?
It has been a while since he has enjoyed the grinning feeling, so to speak.
And CORNERS eh ? Who said we cant take corners ! Pffft.
I read somewhere it is four years since a team has been 4-0 in the PL in 20 minutes ( yes it was THAT game). And none of the goals were breakaways, none were lucky deflections, OGs or glaring defensive errors from Palace. It was good Arsenal football, crisp finishing and thoroughly deserved.
The second part of the match ? Clearly 4-0 up we slowed a little and consolidated our hold on the game. Hodgson appears to have done a fair job in rousing his lads at half time to ensure they did not end up totally thrashed and the visitors came out with a lot more purpose. Apart from the goal they eventually did get Palace had another couple of chances that Cech dealt with well. Zaha had an ‘interesting’ afternoon. The referee Kavanagh who I think was making his PL whistling debut had obviously read upon young Wilfried and gave him absolutely nothing, despite the full repertoire of theatrical tumbling and heart rending moaning from the Ivorian. Good.
With 15 minutes to go we wound down the game, packed the picnic away and headed for the car park. The job was done. And thoughts turned to the next fixture that kicks off on Wednesday !
(If he plays his cards right he may get a selfie opportunity next time).