Defender Per Mertesacker has revealed how clear-the-air talks helped Arsenal kick-start their Barclays Premier League campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.
An own goal from Palace skipper Damien Delaney ensured that Selhurst Park remains a happy hunting ground for the Gunners – unbeaten there since 1979 – after Olivier Giroud and Joel Ward had exchanged first-half strikes.
“He needed that [goal]”, Wenger told the club’s official website.
Keen to put that result quickly behind them, Arsenal made a positive start and saw Giroud and Sanchez both denied inside 10 minutes by crucial defensive blocks.
“Later (in the game) we made it hard for ourselves, but overall it was a very encouraging performance from top to bottom. That is what we need, that is our game, and we need to count on that”. It is a Monday night game, so everyone will have played in front of us.
The ex-Barcelona winger produced a typically all-action performance before being withdrawn after 75 minutes and is now expected to play a full role in the remainder of Arsenal’s season, having missed their first two matches, including the Community Shield win over Chelsea.
Coquelin could have been sent off when he pushed Wilfried Zaha to the ground at the end of the first half and he avoided a second yellow again for a clumsy challenge on James McArthur in the second period. “I thought Yohan Cabaye was terrific, as were Pape Souare, Connor Wickham, the goalkeeper [Alex McCarthy] and they are all relatively new players”.
Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks has praised Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, saying that he controlled the game against Crystal Palace on the weekend, via BBC Sport.
According to Chris Harris of Arsenal.com, Wenger started Alexis Sanchez instead of Axel Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Giroud put them ahead with an acrobatic volley on 16 minutes as he met Mesut Ozil’s cross with a bicycle kick that flew into the back of the net, and Sanchez nearly doubled that lead not long after but smashed his effort straight at the Palace keeper. They kept their composure to regain the lead through a Damien Delaney own goal and held firm in the closing stages to secure their first win of the season.