Arsenal started off the 2014/2015 Premier League game with a late win against a very defensively sturdy Crystal Palace side. Hangeland opened the scoring with a good header in the first half, yet a good header from Laurent Koscielny and a tap-in from Aaron Ramsey earned Arsenal their first three points of the season. We look at the key points to take from this game.
1. Aaron Ramsey is no one season wonder
One of the biggest questions coming into the start of the Premier League season was whether or Aaron Ramsey could continue the goalscoring form he had last season. It seems as if that question was answered with his performance against Palace, constantly making runs into the box before he scored the late equalizer. If he’s able to stay fit and keep his levels consistent, then the Welshman could have a hell of a season.
2. Solid debuts all around
Three of the four Arsenal new boys made their debut today and all three looked good. Most eyes were on Sanchez and he showed some glimpses as to why he and some Barcelona fans referred to him as ‘jugadoraso’ during his time with the Catalan giants, making Ward look foolish with some of his exquisite tricks and flicks. He was also frustrating though, sending passes astray and launching bad crosses into the box. His crowning moment was setting up Arsenal’s first goal.
A lot was made about 19-year old Calum Chambers starting at centre back for the Gunners but he seemed to slot in perfectly in the back four and showed maturity beyond his years. His ability to read the play kept the likes of Campbell and Chamakh at bay for the entire game.
Lastly, Debuchy played well at right back, defending well and attacking even better. He looks like a fantastic buy after the loss of Sagna to Manchester City
3. Arsenal really needs another striker
Every time Yaya Sanogo starts a game, it becomes increasingly more clear that Arsenal really do need another striker. Even though he works hard and is a physical presence among the centre backs, Sanogo clearly isn’t ready for the Premier League quite yet. Giroud has proven that he’s a good striker who could potentially bang in 20 goals a season but he’s not mobile enough to score them against the big teams.
Edinson Cavani is the latest name to be linked to the Gunners and if he’s available for a fair enough price, Wenger would be foolish not to snatch him up.
4. Set piece woes
I’m not 100% sure what it is about zonal marking that Arsenal players didn’t quite understand today but they need to quickly get a grasp of it otherwise they may not be so lucky in their next game. We all know that the idea is attack the ball if it lands in the zone the player is covering. However, there needs to be a little more common sense between the players when Alexis, one of the smallest players on the pitch, has to deal with a behemoth like Brede Hangeland.
If someone like Szczesny or Mikel Arteta told one of the bigger players to swap with Alexis and go into his area, then Arsenal may not have conceded a goal in the first half.
5. Wilshere answered the critics
A lot of eyes were on the young English man today after he was scrutinized over the summer for smoking while on holiday in Las Vegas and seemingly not reaching the heights many believed he could during the beginning of his career.
While he didn’t quite light up the stage like his midfield partner Aaron Ramsey, Wilshere did look solid in midfield, passing the ball well and drawing a lot of free kicks from the Crystal Palace players. If he continues to take it step-by-step, then he could have the season many are hoping he will.