After the complete poo in the pool that was our last result against West Ham, it felt good to get back to winning ways.
It wasn’t our most dazzling performance by any means, we let Crystal Palace have a lot of the ball and looked a bit shaky at times, especially on the flanks, but I’m sure these are kinks that can be worked out over time.
What’s important is we got the three points and should be on the right track now.
Petr Cech – 7
He didn’t have a huge amount of overly complicated saves to make but he scooped up what he could. I don’t think he could really be blamed for the Palace goal, considering Kos shouldn’t have turned his back to Joel Ward when he shot.
Per Mertesacker – 6.5
Still a little rusty from the break, although the BFG was there to mop up after our full-backs got caught out down the flanks, I noticed him getting in Cech’s way a couple of times so maybe there needs to be a bit more communication there, which seems a bit odd considering the keeper and him have been BFFs since Cech joined.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Usually one for making crucial interceptions, the Frenchman was probably the most at fault for Palace’s goal. He’s not usually one to shy away from a crunching challenge or slide tackle, but today he turned his back to Ward as he had a shot on goal, and scored. I hope the BFG gives him an ear-bashing on the training field.
He also got caught in possession a couple of times, which is also unlike him.
Hector Bellerin – 6.5
After being out against West Ham with a thigh strain, it was good to see him back on the pitch. However, he looked just a smidgen slower today so just needs to shake out those cobwebs.
His relative inexperience showed a couple of times when, as always, he got drawn out of position and committed too much, leaving gaps and making us vulnerable.
His ball into the box, which led to the own goal (our second) was well-delivered, though.
Nacho Monreal – 7
I always find myself using the same phrasing when it comes to Monreal’s performances. More often than not it’s ‘solid‘. However, it’s true. Another solid match. I was particularly impressed by his crosses and balls into the box today.
Santi Cazorla – 8.5
Playing in his preferred central role, the little Spaniard ran the show. From there he was able to dictate play, drive us forward and create chances. Another superb performance.
Mesut Ozil – 9
One of his best matches for us and in my opinion, he should have won Man of the Match. Not to take anything away from Santi, but Mesut was next level today. Within the first couple of minutes, he’d already delivered a stunning through ball to the feet of Olivier Giroud and then later picked a stunning pass to grab the assist for the first goal.
In the 68th minute, he chipped a pass to Aaron Ramsey in the box and it was so perfectly weighted, I don’t know how he did it.
Francis Coquelin – 6
Not his best game for us. He was dispossessed a couple of times and seemingly, as a result, got frustrated. He was a lucky boy to stay on the pitch. He needs to learn to keep his head in these situations because if he gets sent off – it helps no one but the opposition.
Aaron Ramsey – 6.5
He teamed up with Coq well and showed off his relatively new confidence by having a shot from range in the ninth minute. Not as creative as usual because he was played in a slightly different position in order for Santi to move centrally, but he still did a solid job.
Olivier Giroud – 7.5
Stunning goal. Absolutely stunning. Before the goal itself he was, as always, getting in the right positions and looked likely to score. A great performance.
Alexis Sanchez – 6.5
The Chilean is nowhere near fit enough. Ideally, he would have got another week’s rest but I think, just like when Wenger threw him on against West Ham, there’s a little desperation there. He was a bit slow, hesitant and generally rusty, missing chances he would have scored with his eyes closed mid-season, but all these things that will improve with time and fitness.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5
Strong and lively. To be honest, I would have preferred he started over Alexis.
Mikel Arteta – 6
Put in a vital interception in the final couple of minutes to prevent Lee-Chung Yong from scoring.