Arsenal snatched a victory out of the hands of defeat with a 2-1 victory against London rivals Crystal Palace in their first Premier League match of the 2014/15 season.
Despite the turmoil going on inside of the club due to Tony Pulis leaving his position as manager on Thursday night, Palace put up a solid effort, with new centre back Brede Hangeland scoring from a good header. However, the Eagles was ultimately undone by goals from Laurent Koscielny and last year’s Arsenal Player of the Year Aaron Ramsey.
Wojciech Szczesny – 6
Szczesny had a relatively quiet game except for a mistake in the first half where a bad clearance nearly led to a goal. Besides that, he was rarely troubled by the Crystal Palace attack.
Mathieu Debuchy – 7
A good, solid Premier League debut for the French international. He was both solid in defense and attack. He caused Ward endless amounts of trouble with his pace. Was also involved in the late goal, nearly putting it past Speroni before Ramsey scored the follow-up.
Calum Chambers – 7
Calum Chambers seems to be living up to the hype as he put in a decent shift at centre back. Very good covering and all-round defensive work, with his only mishap being getting a yellow card after dragging Fraizer Campbell down in the first half.
Laurent Koscielney – 7
He made a mistake for Hangeland’s goal, but scored a goal to make up for it. It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Laurent Koscielny. He allowed Hangeland to get the better of him for Crystal Palace’s goal, but scored a lovely header to put Arsenal level. He was a lot more solid in the second half, making some decent interceptions.
Kieran Gibbs – 6
Didn’t have much trouble down the right and made some good runs down the line and into Palace’s box. However, he was able to build on his performance after he came off with an injury in the second half.
Jack Wilshere – 6
Wilshere had a decent game in the midfield today. He tackled well, linked up with the forwards and his other midfielders too.
Mikel Arteta – 7
In his first game as Arsenal captain, Mikel Arteta looked solid as a defensive playmaker, protecting the back four relatively well and quickly passing the ball onto the more creative players.
Alexis Sanchez – 7
Alexis showed glimpses of quality during the game, unleashing some magnificent passes. However, he a few misplaced passes along the way. His set piece led to Koscielny’s goal.
Aaron Ramsey – 8 (Man of the Match)
The Welshman buzzed around the pitch the entire game, making good runs into the box and linking up well with all the creative players around him, especially Alexis. His knack for goal-scoring continues as he put one past Speroni in extra time.
Santi Cazorla – 4
Terrible performance from Cazorla. His passing wasn’t accurate, his set pieces were all over the place and he didn’t really do much in front of goal either. He lacked the pace to really threaten the Crystal Palace defense.
Yaya Sanogo – 5
More of the same from Sanogo as the Frenchman worked hard, yet was unable to really do anything substantial. He didn’t make the right runs and his shooting was non-existent.
Olivier Giroud – 6
Giroud was a definite step-up from Sanogo and nearly scored a goal himself.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
The Ox looked out of sorts when he came on with some of his passes going all over the place. However, he did put in a lovely cross that led to the late winner.
Nacho Monreal – 6
Came on for Gibbs and played pretty much like him too. Solid defensive work mixed in with good attacking runs.
Julian Speroni – 6
Speroni commanded his back four commendably, but was unable to stop Koscielny and Ramsey putting two past him. Was also quite prone to time wasting during the game.
Martin Kelly – 7
Despite not starting an entire game last season and having a ton of injuries, Kelly looked good at right back, defending solidly and blocking off Cazorla well.
Scott Dann – 7
Solid game from Dann as he was one of the main reasons why Crystal Palace was able to hold on for as long as they did. His presence on the field was missed when he had to come off in the second half.
Brede Hangeland – 7
Decent debut from the former Fulham man. He defended well and stopped a number of Arsenal chances. Scored a great header to open up the scoring.
Joel Ward – 5
Playing at left back, Ward struggled with the combined forces of Alexis and Debuchy who mostly kept him on his weaker left side.
Jason Puncheon – 4
Puncheon didn’t have much of an impact on this game until he was sent off for a second yellow card. Gibbs and Monreal kept him quiet all game.
Mile Jedinak – 7.5
Brilliant performance from Jedinak. His protection of the back four was fantastic. He broke down a number of Arsenal attacks and was energetic in the middle of the park. If the game had been a draw, then he would’ve clearly been the man of the match.
Joe Ledley – 6.5
Put a lot of pressure on Mikel Arteta during the first half before they got the goal but as Crystal Palace sat deeper and tried to gain a point, his influence on the game lessened.
Yannick Bolasie – 5
There’s not much to say about Bolasie during this game. It seems as if he barely got a touch of the ball and was more involved in defending then attacking.
Marouane Chamakh – 7
Strong aerial presence, but didn’t cause much trouble otherwise. Despite getting a yellow card for persistent fouling, Chamakh was a nuisance for Arsenal. He was very physical in the air and defended set pieces well too.
Frazier Campbell – 6
Campbell looked energetic on his debut,using his pace to buzz around the box. However, he didn’t do much to trouble Szczesny in terms of shots.
Stuart O’Keefe – 5
Came on as a substitute and didn’t have much impact.
Dwight Gayle – 5
The former Arsenal youth player didn’t have much time to get the draw for Palace.
Damien Delaney – 5
Came on for an injured Scott Dann but wasn’t able to defend as well as him.