A 22-minute blitz saw Arsenal stun Crystal Palace with four first-half goals at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners took all three points with a 4-1 victory.

Two early set-piece goals from Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny sandwiched Alex Iwobi’s tap-in within the first quarter-of-an-hour of the clash, with the Gunners racing to a 3-0 lead early.

Arsenal’s pick of the bunch was reserved for Alexandre Lacazette, putting an end to his goal drought, with Mesut Özil starring in the build-up to assist the former Olympique Lyonnais man.

Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic then grabbed a consolation goal deep in the second period to conclude  a 4-1 score-line.

Mohamed Elneny was handed a rare Premier League start, meanwhile the likes of Mesut Özil and Monreal were also welcomed back into the first-team.

Monreal graced his comeback with the opener in the 6th minute, popping up at the back-post to make it 1-0 with his head.

Arsenal wouldn’t look back, with Monreal again involved in the move to cut a cross back for Alex Iwobi to finish, as the Gunners moved two goals ahead by the 10th minute.

Set-pieces proved to once more be Palace’s undoing in the 13th minute, as Laurent Koscielny got in on the act by bundling in Arsenal’s third from close range.

Wenger’s men remained relentless in attack, crafting the chance for Lacazette to fire low into the bottom-right corner in a move that was crowned by Özil’s intricate back-heel in the 22nd minute.

Activities were eased for the remainder of the first half, as Monreal’s apparent set-back forced Wenger’s hand into an early change before the interval.

Doubts remained over Arsenal’s appetite in the second period, given the comfortable lead, as Palace managed to squeeze the hosts in early before Iwobi could offer refuge down the left channel, pulling a save out of Wayne Hennessey in the 55th minute.

The response in front of goal from Roy Hodgson’s men came on the hour-mark, with Christian Benteke peeling off a stretched Shkodran Mustafi before hitting a shot right at Petr Čech from inside the box.

Luka Milivojevic then pulled a goal back with an acrobatic finish in the 79th minute, as Arsenal sought to close the game out with cautious possession-play.

Palace would offer no more nasty surprises, rounding the game up at 4-1 to the North Londoners come full-time.

By Patrick Ribeiro

(@P_SRibeiro)

Player Ratings:

Petr Čech (7) – Héctor Bellerín (7), Laurent Koscielny (7), Shkodran Mustafi (6), Nacho Monreal (7) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (7) – Mesut Özil (8), Jack Wilshere (7), Alex Iwobi (7) – Alexandre Lacazette (6)

Subs: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (5), Reiss Nelson (-), Sead Kolasinac (-)

Written by Patrick Ribeiro

Freelance journalist. @P_SRibeiro

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