Four first half goals saw Arsenal claim their first win of 2018 and kick-off the post Alexis Sanchez era perfectly.
If the feeling before the game was that Arsenal were there for the taking, it took 30 minutes to prove it was truly misplaced.
Goals from Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny, and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a handy win over Crystal Palace.
An “average” Arsenal side ran rampant in the first half, as if they had something to prove.
If they perform like that every week, Alexis will become a distant memory.
Here’s how the players got on.
1. Petr Cech 6
A day where he had little to do, yet still ended up conceding. There was little he could about Luka Milivojevic’s consolation goal, but he’ll be frustrated that his 200th league clean sheet has proven elusive once again.
2. Laurent Koscielny 6
A goalscoring return for the Frenchman who, for the most part, will have been pleased with his day’s work. There were times, though, when he was aimless with his passing from the back. The biggest positive for him was getting through the game without his Achilles flaring up.
3. Shkodran Mustafi 6
Took on the job of marking Christian Benteke was gusto and did a decent enough job, but also had moments of hesitation that invited pressure on his defence.
4. Hector Bellerin 6
He had little to worry about against Bakary Sako, and was able to go forward as much as he liked when Arsenal were dominant. He had a tougher time of it in the second half, but got through it without incident.
5. Nacho Monreal 9
Have there been many better cameos this season? Monreal was on the pitch for 30 minutes, and managed to score and set-up two more before he was removed as a precaution. His performance was game winning. Hopefully, he’ll be okay for the semi-final against Chelsea on Wednesday.
6. Mohamed Elneny 6
A rare start for the Egyptian that saw him do what he always does: play short, simple passes. He played a disciplined role today which allowed the more creative players to shine. Was fortunate not to have a penalty called against him for a shove on Wilfried Zaha.
7. Granit Xhaka 6
He had more freedom to go forward with Elneny in the team and enjoyed himself. Was outshone by other midfielders, but had a better game than usual.
8. Jack Wilshere 7
Stood out throughout the game due to his through passes creating opportunities for the attackers. He didn’t look as sharp as he has done in recent weeks, but provided plenty of creativity.
9. Mesut Ozil 7
A very good, and timely, performance from Arsenal’s best player. Nobody should need reminding of Ozil’s quality, but he showed it again today. His assist for Lacazette’s goal was delightful.
10. Alex Iwobi 7
A much-needed goal for Iwobi, who has had a tough time of it lately. He put in an industrious performance down the left hand side and helped out his full back.
11. Alexandre Lacazette 7
Speaking of much-needed goals, Lacazette was delighted to have broken a lengthy drought without scoring. There were still times when the Frenchman could have gotten better service, but his performance today was much better than it was against Bournemouth, and a 9th goal of the season will do his confidence a lot of good.
12. Aisnley Maitland-Niles 5
Spent a good hour on the pitch at left-back. Had the better of Zaha on multiple occasions, yet was also wayward with his passing and gave the ball away in key areas.
13. Reiss Nelson 5
A Premier League debut for the promising Nelson. Unfortunately, he came on when Arsenal were defending their lead, and didn’t get too many chances to show what he could do.
14. Sead Kolasinac n/a
Came on lot to shore up the left hand side of the pitch.