Agents deny Arsenal Mkhitaryan for Crystal Palace tie?

Brighton & Hove Albion's Gaetan Bong and Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend battle for the ball

Arsenal surprised everyone else and themselves without Manchester United-bound Chile forward Alexis Sanchez by thrashing Crystal Palace 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium with all four goals coming inside the first 22 minutes of the first half.

However, the north London side did not appear to struggle up front during the game.

"I agree completely that 2018 until now has not been very positive but I am long enough in the job to know that what is important is how we respond to it and to focus on the performance".

Chelsea's first win of 2018 saw Eden Hazard score twice, his opener and a goal from Willian making it 2-0 inside six minutes.

Monreal who provided two assists, was also on target as he opened scoring while Lacazette made it 4-0.

There are hopes that Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey will be fit enough to return to the side, which could allow Arsenal to start with Alex Iwobi on the left, Ramsey on the right and Ozil as a No. 10 behind Alexandre Lacazette.

Wenger joked that while he had been tempted to select Sanchez, the logistics of transfers made his inclusion more hard.

But the 68-year-old has vowed to revive Arsenal's fortunes and, asked this week if this could be his final season, Wenger said: "No, that's not the way I respond".

"I didn't take him because there is this question of him moving to Manchester United, you can not drive up north and as well play football", he said.

He said that the transfer was "likely", and could be confirmed in the next 48 hours.

Wenger did not comment on speculation linking Arsenal to Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a possible Sanchez replacement.

On Friday, it was reported Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was giving serious consideration to including Sanchez in his squad to face Palace and might have named his player among the substitutes.