Arsenal never make things easy for themselves.
They could and should have been up by a few goals in the first half an hour at Selhurst Park, but had to rely on an own goal to wrap up all three points on Sunday.
Sure, there are things to be concerned about. Francis Coquelin probably should have seen red; Laurent Koscielny shouldn’t have turned his back for the Crystal Palace goal and Petr Cech might have done better with Joel Ward’s shot.
But, as always, I’m going to look at the positives. The biggest – not literally, of course – being a certain German midfielder.
Mesut f***ing Ozil.
Where do I even start? Less than a minute into the game on Sunday and the guy carves open a chance. Surely he will get annoyed at just how many chances of his our frontline misses?
Fear not, this was not a day where the often languid looking midfielder was going to just create the one chance. Oh no. He was on a mission.
Time after time he found space, dribbled and found one of his teammates. It was a simply majestic performance. Santi Cazorla may be the fans’ favourite and may get the majority of praise from the pundits (how the hell did he win Man of the Match by the way?), but he isn’t on the same level as Mesut Ozil. When Ozil’s on his game, Arsenal win.
The thing that I really liked about Ozil’s performance was the relentlessness of it. He broke with pace and power that he’s not always shown in his time at the north London club. We cleared a corner and he was streaking up the middle of the pitch, reminiscent of the 2010 World Cup when he made Gareth Barry look a little bit silly.
He leads counter attacks better than anyone in Europe and knows the exact moment to pass the ball. Alexis Sanchez really should have given the German another assist but alas, he had to settle for the one. And what an assist and finish it was. Oh, but Twitter told me Olivier Giroud doesn’t score half chances. I must have been seeing things.
Anyway, make some more jokes about Mesut Ozil is in Reece Oxford’s pocket, I dare you.
Mesut’s back, and back in a big way.
Let’s talk about my mate Nacho Monreal. Well he’s not actually my mate, but that’s not the point. Once again he put in a fantastic shift at left-back and if you’re not on the bandwagon yet you better buy your tickets very soon as space is running out.
Not only is he pretty impossible to beat on the ground, he showed some toughness in the air and even a moment of flair to win Arsenal a valuable free-kick late on. Monreal just keeps on improving and it’s really hard to see a way back in for Kieran Gibbs.
I mentioned Big Pete™ earlier and to be honest, he might have been able to do a little better for the goal. I’m not sure. I’ve watched it a few times and he just doesn’t stretch out completely. In fairness to him, it can’t be easy sitting out virtually a whole year of football and being thrust into first team action again. He’s a class goalkeeper, he’ll come good.
So yeah, Arsenal got their season up and running with 3 points. Roll on Liverpool. If we play how we know we can play we should have too much for them.