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Sanchez and Wilshere too hot for Palace

TOP MARKS: Jack Wilshere (right) pulled the strings for Arsenal in the London derby

ARSENAL PUT on a stunning performance - which has been missing for a while away from home - to bring Crystal Palace’s revival to a temporary halt with a 3-2 win on December 29. This was only Arsenal’s third away win this season. The pace that the Gunners set in the first half was relentless and at times the Eagles were chasing shadows, with Jack Wilshere conducting the Emirates orchestra from midfield.

With a quarter of an hour gone, Yohan Cabaye hit a shot from distance, which whistled past Petr Cech’s goal.

Arsenal took the lead in the 26th minute. A free kick was awarded to them, which Mesut Ozil took, Alexis Sanchez kept the ball alive. Julian Speroni could only parry Alexandre Lacazette’s shot to an unmarked Shkodran Mustafi who calmly slotted home. Just after the half hour mark Sanchez played a through ball to Ozil who tried to place the ball beyond Speroni who read it wall and parried it to safety.

Moments after the break Wilfried Zaha broke down the left and slid a ball on the ground into the Arsenal area, which Andros Townsend ran unto and hit first time past Cech to bring the Eagles level.

Just after the half hour mark the Gunners restored their lead as Lacazette set up Sanchez who hit a shot past Speroni. Within a few minutes Sanchez virtually put the game to bed as Wilshere slid a gorgeous through ball to him which he controlled and hit in one breath past Speroni.

James Tomkins pulled a goal back for Palace with a header from a corner but Arsenal deservedly won the game.

Gunner boss Arsene Wenger, who was managing his 810th Premier league game,said: “I think it was a good positive performance. We were fluid going forward. At half time it was 1-0. It should have been a bit more. We started well in the first five minutes of the second half and we had two good chances. We were a bit nervy and finished with less control. I think it was good team performance.”

Sanchez has recently been accused of “winding down” but he was at it in south London on a cold Thursday night in south London. The manager said: “I felt Sanchez was good tonight from the very first minute. He is a great footballer and this is the kind of performance we want from him.”

Eagles manager Roy Hodgson said: “Arsenal deserved to go into the lead in the first half. We started the second half well and got the equaliser. The two goals were a body blow. The second goal was a reward but it came late.”

Wilshere gave a virtuoso performance and showed that he was the player the Gunners had been crying out for in midfield particularly away from home. On his pending contract Wenger said: “ We will sit down with him and sort out his situation at the end of December. We play today, Sunday and Wednesday so at the moment the focus has to be on the football.”

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