CRYSTAL PALACE 2- ARSENAL 3 GUNNERS BAG 3 POINTS ON THE ROAD
BACK to one of the crime scenes of last season where Arsenal put up one of the worst displays i as a fan had ever watched. We were slow, listless and demotivated and deservedly got slapped 3-0. Then the Clarion calls for Wenger to be sacked was so loud we thought it would only be a matter of time. Fast forward to this season, same team, same Manager but a much better performance saw the Gunners go away with the vital points that still leaves them in 6th but at least right in there with the 5 other teams scrapping for Top 4.
It was a historic day as the game saw two of football’s oldest bosses with a combined age of 138 show that they are not ready for the Retirement home just yet.
Wenger, was on the verge of equalling Sir Alex Ferguson’s 810-game record as a Premier League manager and you can bet the Arsenal Boss would want nothing more than to surpass his old Rival with a Win.
Seventy-year-old Roy Hodgson did his level best to deny the younger Wenger the victory he craved to mark his latest milestone but fell just short.
Fergie was 71 when he finally called it a day as Manchester United boss but there is no sign of these two old war horses plan on following him into retirement just yet.
Sanchez scores the 3rd goal that served as the dagger in the hearts of Palace.
But in all his years as Arsenal boss, you have to wonder just how more of this torture Wenger can put himself through after another 90 minutes suffering on the sidelines as his defensively clueless team make one mistake after another
Alexis Sanchez’s two goals in four second-half minutes finally settled matters for the visitors and ensured that they keep pace with Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Spurs.
But it was far from straightforward from a team who remain sixth in the table and still 23 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s wannabe Invincibles.
Jose Mourinho has been derided for claiming that £300million is no longer enough in the transfer market for a team with ambitions of winning the Premier League.
Wenger had declared on the eve of this match that he would be playing with four at the back for the foreseeable future.
Yet just 24 hours later he had clearly forgotten what he had said and reverted to a back three.
That meant an unexpected recall for Calum Chambers (surprise surprise),for his first Premier League appearance in an Arsenal shirt since the 4-3 defeat by Liverpool on the opening day of last season.
It was only after April’s dreadful 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park that Wenger had instigated the change in defensive shape.
And he was clearly wary of history repeating itself against a Palace team unbeaten in their previous eight games, their best ever run in the Premier League.
The Eagles have been playing with such confidence lately that they are virtually unrecognizable as the team who lost their first seven fixtures without scoring a single goal.
With Christian Benteke returning from suspension to lead their attack, there was never any question of them simply sitting back and getting everyone behind the ball.
Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend were clearly under orders to get at Arsenal’s wing-backs and ask early questions of their nervous opponents.
Yet their bold approach left them vulnerable to an Arsenal team who were always going to dominate possession.
And they were made to pay for allowing the visitors to get so comfortable when they fell behind to Shkodran Mustafi’s 24th minute goal.
Mesut Ozil’s pass to Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal’s £52million record signing the opportunity to turn inside Jeffrey Schlupp and launch a powerfully struck shot.
Palace keeper Julian Speroni did well to beat away Lacazette’s effort but was powerless to prevent Mustafi from sweeping the follow-up inside his near post with an impressively assured finish.
Lacazette almost doubled Arsenal’s lead after jinking his way past three defenders and Ozil’s surging run and lay-off was just beyond the reach of Hector Bellerin as the Gunners looked to turn the screw.
Jack wilshere impressed again with another eye catching performance
It was all too much for the petulant Zaha, who was booked for berating referee Michael Oliver as the team’s left the pitch at half-time and sarcastically applauded the official when the yellow card was brandished in his direction.
But whatever the wily Hodgson said to his star player during the interval clearly worked.
For within four minutes of the restart, the fired-up Zaha laid on the perfect cut-back for Townsend to sweep Palace back onto level terms.
Arsenal, though, were not going to ruin their manager’s big night and regained the lead in the 62nd minute when Lacazette pounced on Schlupp’s weak header and teed up Sanchez for an unstoppable shot inside Speroni’s near post.
Four minutes later the Chilean superstar pounced again, killing Jack Wilshere’s perfect pass with his first touch and rolling the ball past the advancing Speroni with his second.
James Tomkins briefly raised Palace hopes when he headed in from an 89th minute corner, but it wasn’t enough to halt Arsenal.
Sanchez will be free to start negotiating with foreign clubs from Monday and shows no sign of extending his contract.
From his performance he still looks a class act and we will miss his Vision,creativity and Goals but at the end of the day if his presence in the team is causing a division as rumors have it..Ill be more than happy to drive him to the airport myself..