We earned our third away win the hard way, as we squeezed past Crystal Palace 3-2 in an open and thrilling encounter at Selhurst Park.

Goals from Shkodran Mustafi and a brace from Alexis saw off the Eagles, who created a fair amount of chances of their own. We did more than enough to warrant the points however, and it was only when we chose to take our foot off the gas that Palace started to gain momentum and become a real threat. It meant that once again, we were nearly our own worst enemy.

With Nacho Monreal out through injury, the pack was shuffled once more. Calum Chambers got his chance in defence alongside Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi, and he did well in attempting to contain the threat of Wilfried Zaha.

There were no surprises in midfield, as Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere once again comprised the engine room, and Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac took the wing-back spots. This gave us the balance we needed, and Kolasinac in particular was effective in attack throughout.

Up top, Alex Iwobi made way with the formation change, and Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette took the three spots in attack. Wenger made the necessary changes with one eye on the weekend fixture. Changes are necessary with two games in three days in order to keep up the levels necessary, and we started this game well, but so did Palace.

Zaha was troubling us from the off, and they crafted an early chance which could have changed the outlook of the game thanks to his wizardry. We all knew the key to stopping Palace was to stifle Zaha, but the extra focus didn’t seem to stifle him. His decision making was costing him at times, but everything was running through him.

It didn’t take long for us to hit our stride, and it was one of those games that Alexis turned up in. The Chilean was as busy as Zaha, and one of the two would have a big bearing on the game.

We were starting to click again, and our passing was faster than usual. We were pumped for this and we had about 70% possession after about half an hour. We were lording it over Palace, but they had a keen blade in the shape of Zaha, who was clearly in the mood.

Twenty five minutes in, we made the breakthrough our dominance deserved. A free-kick was fizzed in and Palace failed to clear. Lacazette had a cross blocked and then another that home keeper Speroni could only palm away. It fell to Mustafi who was lurking at the back post unguarded, and he finished well to give us the lead.

We are occasionally guilty of taking our foot off the gas once we gain the lead but no one could accuse us of that this time. Alexis Sanchez threaded a fantastic ball from out wide on the left that curled deliciously for the running Ozil in the box. His first time effort was only stopped by a fantastic Speroni save, and the home side were on the ropes.

Palace weren’t done though, and it was that man Zaha again who nearly drew his team level, only for the shot to drift just wide.

Chances were going for both teams, but the overall map of the game was Arsenal-heavy. The half time whistle blew and we had the lead and the game by the scruff of the neck, but knowing us, we needed a bigger cushion before we could feel comfortable.

And five minutes after the second half started, so it proved. It was Zaha once again as he got the better of Chambers, and he zipped in a low cross. None of our defenders reacted and it left Andros Townsend to slam home unopposed.

It was looking like a typical Arsenal script. Boss a game, see multiple chances go missing and then see the game slip away. Palace were in the ascendancy and we were taking our turn on the ropes. We toughed it out though, and we hit back only twelve minutes later.

Calum Chambers wings in a cross, Alexis headed it down for Lacazette, who returned the ball to the Chilean and his shot was hit well enough to find a way past Speroni at the front post.

Four minutes later, and here was the clincher. Jack Wilshere floated a fantastic pass over the top for Alexis. His first touch was sublime, and his second fired past Speroni.

There were other chances, and Palace grabbed one back with five mins left, as James Tomkins headed in. There wasn’t enough time for them to grab an equaliser, and in truth, they wouldn’t have deserved it.

We may have been a little cavalier in our defensive shape, but we definitely had enough attacking impetus to give us a little hope for the near future. Especially our trip to The Hawthorns in the weekend.

Alexis is showing signs of life, and we’re scoring goals. More importantly, we closed the gap at the top. Job done Arsenal.