Arsenal began life without Chile forward Alexis Sanchez in style courtesy of a stirring 4-1 drubbing of Crystal Palace that saw all four goals scored inside the first 22 minutes.
With Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United apparently imminent after a weekend medical, Arsene Wenger’s side set about soothing the concerns of the home fans in style by putting Crystal Palace to the sword with a blistering start.
Arsenal hadn’t recorded a victory in 2018 as they slipped down to sixth in the Premier League, but four first-half goals against a lacklustre Palace side gave them an unassailable lead at the interval.
Nacho Monreal, on his return from a month long lay-off, gave his side an early advantage and with not even 15 minutes on the clock the full-back had also grabbed two assists, after setting up Alex Iwobi and Laurent Koscielny, before having to limp off with an ankle injury. Alexandre Lacazette then scored Arsenal’s fourth to end his nine-game goal-drought.
Arsenal took their foot off the gas after the restart and Palace netted a consolation through Luka Milivojevic on 78 minutes, but the day belonged to the home side’s free-flowing football.
The win keeps Arsenal in sixth, but they cut the gap on Tottenham in fifth place to two points before Spurs visit Southampton on Sunday.
Finally Arsenal win in 2018 and without their star player: Speaking in a pre-match press conference, Wenger admitted the January Transfer Window has been ‘destabilising’ for his squad, so the Arsenal boss will be delighted his team were able to win in such convincing manner – and without Sanchez. The Gunners are apparently in a ‘crisis’ and no one expected such a blistering performance in the first half. It was quite refreshing to be reminded of how ‘vintage-Arsenal’ used to play, even if we were fast forwarded to ‘average-Arsenal’ in the second period.