An unrelenting and merciless first half performance from Arsenal sealed an emphatic 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday. 

By 90Min
January 20, 2018

An unrelenting and merciless first half performance from Arsenal sealed an emphatic 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday. 

A four goal blitz in the opening 22 minutes squandered any hope Crystal Palace had of causing an upset as goals from Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette had signed, sealed and delivered the three points for the Gunners with less than two-thirds of the game having ticked by.   

Luka Milivojević managed to net a consolation goal for the Eagles late on after converting a perfectly timed volley through bodies and beyond Petr Cech. 

Arsene Wenger made four changes from the side who fell to a disappointing defeat at Bournemouth last time out, with veteran defenders Koscielny and Monreal making their first appearance in 2018, whilst Mesut Ozil also returned to the starting lineup - Alexis Sanchez remained a notable absentee due to his anticipated move to Manchester United.

Whereas the Eagles were boosted by the return of Yohan Cabaye as they looked to backup their impressive 1-0 victory over Burnley last week.  

A lively start ensured Arsenal did not have to wait long to get their noses in front as the space in both open play and set-pieces offered up by the Eagles was like dangling a bone in front of a dog for the home side.


The first corner of the game merely five minutes into proceedings saw Monreal latch onto the in-swinging delivery at the back post where he was allowed to head home without opposition - a goal which proved to be an ominous sign of things to come for the visitors. 

Although the Eagles had admirably looked to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal, the open spaces played into the hands of the home side who doubled their lead less than four minutes later as the unrelenting pressure in the final third paved the way for Iwobi to notch his second league goal of the season.

Crystal Palace had struggled to clear their lines and when they did get a foot into a challenge they quickly surrendered possession, it ultimately paved the way for Monreal to burst down the left-hand side of the penalty box and tee-up the Nigeria international who bundled the ball into the back of the net from six-yards out. 

The misery was not yet over for the visitors as two then became three, then four before the clock even had chance to tick-over its 23rd minute

The third arrived after yet another corner lacking defensive discipline enabled Monreal to freely latch onto the ball at the back post where his delivery across the face of goal was tapped in from close range by Koscielny. 

The 22nd minute saw an exceptional piece of intricate team play around the penalty box to make it four for Arsenal, a clever one-touch interchange between Jack Wilshere and Ozil opened up the space in the box for Lacazette to curl a routine effort beyond a hapless Wayne Hennessey.

The Eagles did make appearances in Arsenal's penalty box throughout the first half, although they were fleeting and lacked any composure as the opening stages had clearly scrambled their decision making protocols which had seen them register a solitary loss in their last 12 league games prior to the encounter at the Emirates. 

Arsenal had continued to tease and torment until the referee drew a conclusion to the first period, a timely intervention for Roy Hodgson's side as they attacked the start of the second half with an impetus which was all but nonexistent in the first 45. 

The Eagles, however, squandered their chances as their crosses into the box consistently floated comfortably into the hands of Cech, but their best chance of the game soon followed in the 60th minute when an exceptional pass across the field from Bakary Sako found Christian Benteke - but his shot lacked conviction and was smothered by the keeper. 

Wenger's men had been content to slow the tempo of the game for much of the half but a consolation goal arrived for the Eagles 15 minutes from the end after Benteke headed down towards goal for Milivojevic, who controlled the ball on his chest, swivelled and volleyed the ball into the far corner.


Arsenal will now switch gears to the second leg of their semi-final League Cup tie against Chelsea on Wednesday before continuing their league campaign with a trip to the Liberty Stadium the following week. 

The Eagles on the other hand will be buoyed by extra days of recovery time following their heavy defeat as their league clash with West Ham is scheduled for January 30. 

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