Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lauded the return of some his most experienced players on Saturday as the Frenchman admitted their inclusion balanced his side and set them up for their 4-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
Despite being without Alexis Sanchez amid his move to Manchester United, the Gunners welcomed back Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal to the starting lineup and despite the latter being forced off early, Wenger felt as though his side were stronger for their presence.
Following his side's victory, Wenger told Sky Sports: "We had a more balanced and experienced team. You could see that at the back, and then the experience and the class of Mesut [Ozil]."
A 17-minute blitz at the start of the first half saw Arsenal take a 4-0 lead before the game had even reached the 23-minute mark thanks to goals from Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Koscielny, and Alexandre Lacazette - who Wenger was happy to see end his goal drought in a pleasing team performance.
He said: "It had started to play on his mind and was very heavy, so that's a relief for him.
This is sensational stuff from Arsenal. Playing with the shackles off and Lacazette finishes an outstanding team goal with Ozil at the heart of it. 4-0.— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 20, 2018
"Overall we played our real game in the first half; good pace, good combination and we created great chances. I cannot fault the team for effort.
"In the second half the challenge was to keep the same drive and we didn't manage to do that, but happy we won the game.
"Crystal Palace were on a strong run and have only lost last twice in the 12 games, both against us.
"The speed of our game was good. They gave us less room in the second half, they didn't give up, so credit to them, they reorganised and gave us less room, and maybe we had less urgency in our game," he added.