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Arsenal Frustrated By Palace

Frustrated, defiant Arteta

Arsenal saw their away-day miserable luck continue against Crystal Palace as they could only muster a point from a game which they should have won in opening half hour. The fact they we didn’t was in large part due to our lack of creative play,  moments of lapse in concentration, referee’s special attention to our every foul, VAR’s absence of a blind eye except when it comes to Liverpool, and finally our inability to bury the chances that we did create.

It seems Mikel Arteta has inherited the fortunes of his former Arsenal boss. Dominate possession, score first, only to see your fortunes take a complete swing thanks to a referee call and a lucky goal for your opponents. It is a film we have seen many times, especially over the last 3 seasons and beyond.

Arsenal named an unchanged XI for first time since January of last year and one can argue that Arteta already has a grip on his preferred XI in four-weeks, something Emery failed to achieve over the course of 18 long months.

Crystal Palace began by sitting deep and compact with the purpose of making it hard for Arsenal to play between the lines. This however allowed Gunners to dominate the possession and play a high line that forced Palace even deeper and allowed David Luiz to almost play as a deep-lying playmaker. The fact that Torreira and Xhaka were also neat on the ball helped.

A single early chance 

Time and time again Luiz tried to find the runs of either Kolasinac or Aubameyang on the left flank as Arsenal stretch Palace to the extreme. The moment the Brazilian defender was able to thread a neat pass between the lines to find Ozil, the whole Arsenal front line suddenly came to life and German’s quick pass to Lacazette was enough to disrupt the discipline of Palace’s back line and open a small gap for Aubameyang to make his run and Lacazette to find him with a neat threaded pass. The rest was all too simple for in-form Aubameyang to put Arsenal ahead inside the first 15 minutes.

Arsenal continued to dominate possession thereafter without ever creating a chance. Lucas Torreira once again looked like a different version to the one we saw under Unai Emery. His ability to shield the ball and dictate tempo in the midfield was exemplary but soon Arsenal started to lose that control and allowed Eagles to play more in our territory but without ever testing Leno. Niles showcased another commanding full back display and never allowed Zaha a whiff of a chance.

Second half saw Arsenal luck starting to waver. First in the shape of Torreira’s injury which saw the introduction of Guendouzi and then in the shape of a deflected goal that saw Palace equalize.

As the intensity of the game raised up a notch so did Arsenal’s fouling which resulted in quite a few good free kick opportunities for Crystal Palace. And through one of these they took advantage of Gunner’s lack in concentration as first they allowed the Eagles to slip in a straight forward pass out on right wing and then twice failing to deal with the cross as Ayew shot at goal only for it to take a decisive deflection off David Luiz into the back of the net.

Before this Palace had already come close to scoring but were denied by Sokratis clearance off the line. However, Arsenal did show a good reaction in wake of that goal and Luiz could have scored from a corner but his header went closing over the bar.

But just when Gunners started to look threatening, VAR intervened as star man Aubameyang saw red after a nasty tackle on Meyer. Was it a red? Yes. But we have seen many like these go without notice recently so it was good to know that VAR is properly in use only for teams whose results won’t impact the would-be champion, Liverpool.

Arteta quickly responded by bringing on Martinelli for Ozil in order to better the shape and provide more pace and directness going forward. And it is fair to say that it worked as intended. Even with a man down Arsenal looked more likely to score and should have had it not been for Guaita, who produced two stunning reflex saves; first to deny Pepe and then Lacazette, who really should have scored, but only hit the rebound straight into the keeper’s hands.

Palace, on the other hand, came closest to a win when Zaha (who else) went down softly in the box aiming for a penalty. Referee Tierney summarily dismissed his appeal.

The game ended with both teams sharing the spoils.

Frustration but hope

Arteta and Arsenal must have been frustrated at the end as they had enough control and chances in the game to win it. Instead, just like Bournemouth, they could only take a point. But amid the frustration, one could feel that this Arsenal side is on the right track under it’s new leadership and the only thing missing on the day was the ability to make most of their good periods and extend them longer to stamp more authority on the game. One feels that under Arteta this will come in time.

…../End

EDITOR’S NOTE

In their post-game podcast, Shotta and the “Vindicated” Blackburn George have reiterated a point they made several months ago; Palace proves that even with the best coach available there is no quick-fix to rebuilding Arsenal. They conclude that Arsenal must forget top-4/top-6 and focus on the cups in the next months. Further, that being out of Europe next season would be a blessing as focusing solely on the Premier League  will give the club time and space to rebuild. Click on the link below for more:

Listen to “UnCensored Arsenal Podcast” on Spreaker.

11 Comments

  1. Welcome back Omi. We know you and your family are still grieving the loss of your father but you have our support as you heal and recover. We hope resuming your role at Uncensored is a step forward.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your support Shotta. They say that in grief you should try to do things that you love and hence I write about Arsenal!

      Reply
  2. Thanks for this article Omair. It is much appreciated.

    I think the combination of your match report and the edit by Shotta has summed up all my thoughts on this game and going forward.

    Personally, all I care about is the team finding its way again. I don’t particularly care about top 4, or even winning the cups. Of course I want us to win every game. But it’s more important Arteta gets the time to execute his vision, and importantly, gets the tools for it. Take the squad building out of the grimy hands of Raul and give the reins to Mikel. He knows what he is doing. It is apparent to see. Even in this game, it was mostly just bad luck that meant we didn’t get the win. We have much better control over the game these days.

    Of course Arteta will be focused on what we could have done better. Auba especially will be feeling ridiculous about his tackle. Lacazette about his miss. But there seems to be a genuine belief in the squad that they are on the right track after they all lost faith in Emery.

    I hope we can bring in a good player in January. Not necessarily due to on field requirements, though a CB seems to be of need. But from a morale perspective, I think the team can do with some freshening up. Someone who can come in and have an impact.

    Reply
    • Have you noticed how the club and its media surrogates (Ornstein) have tamped down any expectations of major signings during this window. As for a CB, remember they spent big on Saliba last summer and sent him out on loan, back to his old club. George has consistently emphasized there is no money. Despite my best attempts, I have found no evidence to contradict him. Some people think we are dooming and glooming but facts are very stubborn things.

      Reply
      • Shotts

        Are you saying that under Arteta the club won’t be signing off on spending £70M+ on a player no other club are in for with huge agent’s fees involved e.g.: the opposite of say the gazump on Mata etc. Which I didn’t mind as it meant we got to see Cazorla close up…

        We shall see what happens but you and George are right.

        The club themselves said they had delved into next season’s budget as a part of the Don’s master plan. However it appears that the Don’s Master is not an Arsenal Man. Or Woman.

        People will have their opinions but in 18 months he took the Arsenal to a lower place then thw other clown has up at Utd. And even Utd fans don’t bother to argue against eight seasons worth of laundry that other football fans up and down the land have all been laughing at.

        So. We shall see how the arsenal go from here.

        The Arsenal Media content gives me Reason and evidence that Raul has zero support from wishing the club.
        Therefore why would any Arsenal fan support Raul’s record at the club? He has to go.

        Get
        Raul
        Out
        The
        Club

        Please.

        Reply
  3. < zero support from within the club

    Reply
  4. Thanks Omair.

    I can only see progress compared to where this squad were three months ago.

    Didn’t need a defensive minded coach.
    Didn’t need anything apart from some one who is a Football coach!

    And to get rid of Raul. Obviously. He’s on the way, walking down the plank I hope, fingers crossed.

    Reply
  5. pedantic George @arseblaggerJanuary 15, 2020 at 12:00 am

    The big damage was done last summer.

    Reply
  6. Now Ornstein is feeding us club propaganda that the squad will be strengthened by loans over this January window. Apparently as loyal, supportive fans of a big club we must hang our hopes on players who are surplus to the requirements of bigger clubs.

    Reply
    • that’s nothing new Shotts.

      Don Raul rolled out his method of high fees for agents on useless loans a year ago now with the D. Suarez boondoggle.

      And the Arsenal holes lapped that one up.
      Like a lost crack head licking a lonely grubby crystal from the sewer floor. if I may quote these clowns:

      ‘“Ramsey and Ozil can’t play together” so let’s drop them both for a Barca B player’

      That’s what they said.

      jeezus what a bunch of twats some of these experts out there truly are. You and George are right. They’ll turn on Mikel sooner then later.

      But there is an awareness in the wider fan base and at the club of what and who needs to go. That’s why the Uber blaggers were all, as in all, were caught on the hop when the wider fan base turned in Raul and Emery in that order. They’re all no different to aftv and their record proves that, no arguments there. Unfortunately.

      Reply

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