‘It helps to play your strongest side, Arsene’
Crystal Palace 2 Arsenal 3; back to winning ways
That's more like it. Three points and, on the whole, a pretty decent away performance.
What’s frustrating about this current Arsenal side is that we all know they are capable of turning on such attacking displays as they did tonight, yet of late have failed to do so on far too many occasions.
It helped this evening that Arsene, equalling the record for the manager who has overseen most Premier League games on 810, was able to field most - if not all - of his strongest players.
Laurent Koscielny looked far more assured with his own game thanks to the presence of a proper centre half in Shkodran Mustafi, back from injury, beside him. Calum Chambers also did well as the boss reverted to a back three.
And Arsene’s decision to finally see sense and bring back Sead Kolasinac added extra solidity to the side.
At the other end Ozil’s good form continued, while Alexis and Lacazette looked threatening throughout, and Jack Wilshere continued to supply the ammunition - his ball which created Sanchez’s second goal was sublime.
Arsene spoke today of money being the stumbling block in Jack signing a new deal. Arsene, please just pay up. More than ever it's now what you have to do. Of course Virgil van Dijk is nowhere near a £75million footballer, but Liverpool have bitten the bullet and addressed a weak defensive area by signing someone better than they already have. Similarly we must pay up, or else risk losing players of the quality we badly need to keep.
Only time will tell if Ozil and or Alexis are with us in five weeks, but if not it was interesting today to hear stories of Julian Draxler as a possible replacement should either leave - if only for the reason that we only ever win the league with a left winger in the side. Geordie Armstrong in 1971, Brian Marwood in 1989, Anders Limpar in 1991, Marc Overmars in 1998 and Robert Pires in 2002 and 2004. Julian Draxler 2019? We can only dream - but it's about time.
On the other hand I'm less impressed that the name Riyad Mahrez once again has cropped up. Let’s hope that's just a rumour for, like Jamie Vardy, he's hardly set the world alight since Leicester’s title win.
So a good night tonight. We’re back up with Liverpool and the Spuds in the race for the top four, and a win at West Brom on Sunday will give us belief going into Chelski next midweek. Two wins from two and we’ll be back with them, too, and things will be looking much rosier.
Up the Arse.