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This was an important win for Arsenal. After Chelsea matched their own Premier League winning record with their thirteenth successive victory on Saturday, Arsene Wenger’s side were under pressure to match the scintillating pace of the league leaders as they hosted Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.
Goals thanks to the heel of Olivier Giroud, in truly wonderful fashion, and the head of Alex Iwobi secured the three points and now give the North London outfit a little confidence heading into 2017.
Thankfully, Wenger’s men learned from the warning sign. Xhaka was more precise in his passing, not forcing the play as much, Sanchez began to threaten, cutting inside from the left-hand side and Alex Iwobi found the all-important second goal. Xhaka picked up the loose ball, fed Sanchez down the left. With wonderful patience, assessing the many options, Sanchez waited and waited and waited, slipped a ball down the flank for the overlapping Nacho Monreal. The low cross was blocked up into the air and fell straight onto to Iwobi’s head who, with the help of a poor clearing header from Joel Ward on the line, duly converted.