A routine victory set the ball rolling for Arsenal in 2017 as the Gunners beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at the Emirates. This win takes them to the third spot on the Premier League table as they hope to catch the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the home side with a sensational Scorpion kick from an Alexis Sanchez cross with Wenger claiming it to be the best goal he has seen at the Emirates.
Palace had their share of chances but could not keep the pressure on Arsenal to score an equaliser. Alex Iwobi doubled Arsenal's lead as the win sees the Gunners leapfrog Spurs and Manchester City in the standings. Let's take a look at the player ratings from the first Arsenal game of the calendar year:
Petr Cech - 6.5/10
Cech had a quiet first half but was sharp whenever he was needed. He made three important saves to keep a clean sheet and negate Palace's pressure.
Hector Bellerin - 7/10
The fullback has been crucial to Arsenal's attacks and he proved that yet again as he put in a great shift on the right flank and did well both offensively and defensively.
Gabriel - 7/10
This might be his last start with Mustafi being fit again but the Brazilian made a statement of intent to prove his worth as he handled Benteke to perfection and never gave him a sigh of relief.
Laurent Koscielny - 6.5/10
Another assured performance by the captain as he had very little to deal with but was solid when the opportunity arrived.
Nacho Monreal - 7.5/10
He might not grab the headlines like Bellerin but Monreal has gone on to make his presence felt in the team. He was colossal on the left flank as he handled the threat of Andros Townsend well and also had a hand in the second half with a dangerous cross.
Mohammed Elneny - 6.5/10
Elneny was calm when in possession but looked for easy options rather than creating spaces going forward. He was smart off the ball and cut the opposition's passing lines well.
Granit Xhaka - 6/10
A decent outing for Xhaka where he joined Arsenal's attackers going forward but seldom troubled the Palace defence. The Swiss international dictated the tempo well in the second half.
Alex Iwobi - 8/10
The youngster scored yet again as he was rewarded with a goal for his industrious performance. He showed massive work rate and always looked a threat when in possession.
Lucas Perez - 6/10
Perez received a surprise start and started on the right for the hosts. He made some incisive runs and dominated Ward on his wing.
Alexis Sanchez - 7/10
The Chilean enjoyed toying the Palace defence as he created many opportunities and was Arsenal's primary creative outlet in Özil's absence.
Olivier Giroud - 9/10
Everyone will hope that 2017 will just be sensational like the Frenchman's goal as he scored an absolute belter. Even after the goal, he was a threat throughout the game and was a strong presence in Palace's box.
Francis Coquelin - 6/10
Coquelin played for 20 minutes and was resolute in clearing the ball when needed and helped Arsenal to cross the finishing line.
Aaron Ramsey - 6.5/10
Ramsey replaced Perez and continued his good work on the right side and whipped in some delightful crosses for Giroud to feed on.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6/10
The Ox looked comfortable in possession and was very close to scoring in the final few moments of the game.
Wayne Hennessey - 6.5/10
He could do nothing to sort Giroud's wonder goal but did everything in his control to help Palace suffer a massive beating and succeeded in that with some brilliant saves.
Martin Kelly - 5/10
The former Liverpool man struggled against the pace of Sanchez and was a liability for Sam Allardyce from the word go.
Scott Dann - 5.5/10
Dann was up against a pacy attacking unit and he failed to come up strongly against that. Though he made some important interceptions, Dann struggled to cope with Arsenal's pace.
James Tomkins - 5.5/10
Tomkins returned to the starting lineup after an injury and got completely dominated by Olivier Giroud as he failed to handle his threat to the tee.
Joel Ward - 5/10
Like Kelly, the fullback struggled to contain Perez as he failed to catch runs of first Perez and then Chamberlain as they beat him at will.
Mathieu Flamini - 6/10
He received a good welcome at the Emirates and played as a third centre back with Arsenal attacking incessantly. He too struggled with Arsenal's creativity and was very slow to react at times.
Yohan Cabaye - 5/10
He was not able to influence the proceedings and failed to create any good opportunity for the likes of Zaha and Benteke.
Wilfred Zaha - 5.5/10
Zaha was invisible in the first half but was decent in the second. His attacks were largely reduced by Bellerin's surging runs forward which pegged him to track back and defend.
Andros Townsend - 6/10
He showed immense work rate and also created some rare chances for his teammates to take advantage of on the counter.
Jason Puncheon - 5/10
A bad night for Puncheon as he was denied enough time on the ball and also was sluggish when tracking back.
Christian Benteke - 5.5/10
It was going to be a quiet night for the Belgian as he was isolated up forward and failed to take advantage of some of the half chances that were presented to him.
Jordan Mutch - 5/10
Defensively, Mutch made some important interceptions but on the ball, he lost possession on a number of occasions.
Chung-Yong Lee - 6/10
Lee could not do much in the short span he was on the field but made some good passes in his short cameo.
Frazer Campbell - 4.5/10
He replaced Benteke but met with the same fate as him and endured a frustrating night as he was devoid of any service.Published 02 Jan 2017, 10:12 IST