Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Monday, 3 February 2014

Chamberlain double helps Arsenal to win over Palace

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain marked his return from injury in perfect fashion as he scored two goals to ensure Arsenal beat Crystal Palace on Sunday. It the was the Ox's first league start since picking up an injury in August. The win meant we returned to the top of the Premier League, and with Chelsea and Man City playing each other on Monday night, it was vitally important to get the points. That was especially after Spurs, Liverpool and United all dropped points. It was again far from our best performance but we got the job done again as we won 2-0 for the tenth time at the Emirates this season. There were two changes from the side that drew to Southampton in the week as Lukas Podolski replaced Serge Gnabry out-wide. Meanwhile Oxlade-Chamberlain came in for the suspended Flamini.
The Ox popped up with two goals as Arsenal beat Palace
Recently we've had trouble actually scoring in the first half and it's led to a professional second halves display on many occasions. That was the story once more on Sunday. Palace were extremely hard to break down in the first half and the fact that our two best chances came from set-pieces was a credit to them. However the second half saw more penetration from the midfield and wide players.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain burst forward from central midfield to get on the end of a Cazorla pass to fire home the first just after the break. Santi's form has been brilliant since the turn of the year and his ball was perfectly measured. The Ox took one touch before then lifting the ball over the keeper for his first of the season. Chamberlain was to then wrap up the points for us. He played a lovely one-two with Giroud before racing in on goal and then finding the net with an assured finish from just inside the box. He now has as many goals this season as he did in the whole of the last campaign.

This season the midfielders have all scored their fair share of goals. Ramsey was banging them in at the start of the season, and then it was Wilshere's turn. However with both of them now out injured it was the Ox's turn to score the goals. He wasn't playing in his preferred position but Wenger certainly sees his future more centrally than outwide.

The defence meanwhile put in another brilliant display. At times they were tested but Szczesny made some key saves to keep us in front. The Pole really has been brilliant this season when called upon. Meanwhile Mertesacker and Koscielny again asserted their dominance. The way Per managed to just nick the ball off of some of the Palace players feet was incredible. His anticipation and reading of the game is up there with the very best. Sagna meanwhile just has to get a new contract. After a dodgy campaign last term, he's been back to his solid best this season. Nacho Monreal had a tough time in the week against Southampton but against Palace yesterday showed why he is keeping Gibbs out of the side at the moment with a solid display.

Vermaelen, Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey, Diaby, Kallstrom, Walcott and Sanogo were all missing from the squad which shows that we can win without some of our best players. Something that has seemed to be a key theme of our campaign so far. However the likes of Wilshere and Ramsey, who will be back hopefully very soon, will be key in the run in. 

Following this game against Palace we now have an extremely tough run where we face Liverpool twice, Man United and also Bayern Munich. Anymore injuries and I think we could really struggle. We have the potential to beat all of those teams but it'll be extremely difficult. The fixture list is a nightmare and we'll have to be at our very best if we're to come out on top.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil(84), Podolski(72), Giroud(84).
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs(84), Zelalem, Rosicky(72), Gnabry, Bendtner(84). 

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Parr, Delaney, Gabbidon, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Chamakh(83), Jerome(56).
Subs: Hennessey, Mariappa, McCarthy, Guedioura, Bannan(56), Gayle(83), Wilbraham. 

My man of the match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Referee: Jon Moss.
Attendance: 60,005. 

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