Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Ozil Identifies Keys To the Palace


Of all the stories I’d thought there’d be of Arsenal’s season in mid January, facing a Crystal Palace side which is above us in the table is a surprise. What a crazy season it’s been. Crystal Palace initially found themselves parked near the relegation zone, but have now found somewhere near their true level. Maybe they’re even overperforming. In that, we can find some hope as well. A few wins and we could find ourselves rapidly climbing up the table too. As things stand, we are in 10th with 27 points, 9 behind Chelsea in 4th. With 17 games to go, it will be a huge task to catch them. Instead, we must concentrate on finding our form, and re-establishing our identity.

Mesut Ozil remains key to that. Arteta has come out backing Ozil in the face of continuous questions from the media about his role and future. This time around, it was Ozil coming out backing Arteta. If it’s been interpreted as a dig at Emery, it’s only the former ‘wallahi not a’ coach to blame. Ozil said the players are enjoying their jobs at the moment. That there is a clear structure which takes us back to the old Arsenal way of keeping possession and control on the game. He did all but call him Arsene Wenger’s true successor.

State of Palace

Mesut also pointed out how difficult a game Palace can be. Which is only sort of true. They are an awful attacking side on paper. They don’t pass the ball very much, have created the lowest amount of shots, and are 19th in the league in goals scored. But only 3 teams have conceded less goals than they have. Liverpool, Leicester, and Sheffield Utd. Which points to them being a well organised side. Expect us to dominate possession, but we’ll need to be wary on the counter.

As Arsenal are only too aware, Wilfried Zaha can cause problems. Even though he’s had a poor season after his Arsenal move didn’t happen, he still retains the ability to run at us, and likely, win a penalty. I kid, but the fact is Zaha has only scored 3 goals and notched up 2 assists this season. Which of course will mean he raises his game immensely just to show us what we missed out on when we opted to sign his international teammate instead.

Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with 5 and he suits the counter attacking game too. They even have a big man to throw on late on with Christian Benteke. The player many thought was better than Giroud.

I only bring Giroud up because there seems to be some hatred towards him from Arsenal fans. As rumor broke that he was on the verge of a move to Inter Milan, many started abusing him. Fans feel how they feel, there’s no arguing with them. But I just wanted to voice my appreciation for him, and I feel we’ve really missed having someone with his talents in the squad.

Some advice to the Gunners

Prevent the fast break. It’s a basketball terminology. Football commentators tend to label it ‘an end to end game’ instead. Even though it can be entertaining to watch, especially as a neutral, it probably drives coaches wild. It was a problem under Wenger, became much worse under Emery. Freddie pointed to it, and so has Arteta.

Transition defense. If we can retain some shape when we lose the ball, we should be able to nullify what is not a very good attack. It will also allow us to keep pressure on their defense, where I’m confident we have the talent to break them down. The referee, as usual, will be the joker in the pack.

Team News: Chambers is out long term. Tierney is still out with his shoulder injury, while Bellerin is listed as a doubt. Emile Smith-Rowe meanwhile has gone on loan to Herbert Chapman’s other club, Huddersfield.

Starting XI: Leno, AMN, Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Auba, Laca

Subs: Martinez, Holding, Bellerin, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Nelson, Martinelli

We’re still a little shorthanded in defense, so we need to hope there are no more injuries in this game. Everywhere else, we seem to have some options again now that players are coming back from injury and finding match fitness.

Prediction: A tough, sometimes nervy, 2-0 away win for Arsenal.


  1. First XI picked itself despite some attempts by fake football sites to suggest some dramatic changes were imminent. Good to know we now have a defined starting XI after the chopping and changing by Emery but as I have highlighted in my last blog the bench is not deep and the top XI-XIII players, physically, cannot sustain three competitions over the next 5-months. It will be interesting to see how Arteta prioritizes; top-4/6 or going for a cup. Meanwhile the madhatters are demanding all kind of expensive signings over the January window as if this is really feasible or such signings can immediately turnaround our season. Watch for them to soon spit out their dummies because their irrational expectations can’t be met.

  2. Oh yes.

    Passing the ball through the centre of the pitch straight down the D. Like some kind of Football team!

    We’ve seen passing in and around the D since that appalling man was given his p45, but this move was the next step up in the rehab of this squad.


    Ozil a small but crucial role in the goal after a slightly sluggish start from our ten but that’s the danger with these awesome players, you think they’re not quite there on the day yet one moment is all they need.

    Papa and Luiz inverted today?
    To contain Zaha IMO.

  3. Lets hope Guendouzi can do a job but he is no Torreira highlighting my concern that once we go to the bench we lack quality.

  4. Torreira off with a knock.
    He was inspiring in that the first half.

    Big half for Matteo.

    As you highlight for your readers Shotts if we lose more then one of the starting eleven (Bellerin, Torreira and perhaps Chambers if you rate him all off the pitch) it’s a blow.

    and now it becomes a different Football game.

    One goal is never enough of a lead with these cheats and frauds at the pgMOB.


    • We lost Auba to an over enthusiastic tackle; the type loved by the passion merchants. Tells you how easily we can be fucked away from home. Our backs are now against the wall. Hope this cools the inflated expectations I warned against.

  5. Typical poor PL game in the end. Crystal Palace made sure it was a physical battle, hacking and fouling from the 28th minute onwards, without any yellows from the ref. No way could Arsenal get their passing game going. We have seen it year-in, year-out, especially away from home.

  6. The Arsenal goal was worthy of the Invincibles. The movement, the pass, the emphatic and obvious finish. Wonderful. Literally from kickoff, for half an hour we were untouchable in that game. Then the referee gave a Dowdian performance and allowed them to get away with any and all fouls. The momentum actually changed with Zaha pushing Pepe into Torreira. Something which could be really dangerous. Might even have cost us Torreira for the second half.

    Auba’s tackle was a red card. But he wouldn’t have made it if the ref was enforcing the rules properly when it came to Palace tackles. The league is a joke because the refs are the jokers in the pack, swinging results the way in ways big and small.

    Maybe we became too ‘proper’ in how we played instead of just going with the flow of the game. We ought to be more instinctive when the speed of the game quickens. But our reaction to the red card was good. We were quite unlucky not to win this. From the refereeing, to the manner of their goal, to Pepe’s shot hitting the bar and deflecting back towards the keeper. Laca should have lobbed him but I won’t judge that too harshly. He’s working his way back to form. A really good assist today. We’re going to need him now because Auba will be serving a 3 game ban.

    • Yep very good summary.

      Arteta knows what a bunch of cheats the pgMOB are, for the impact on his own career and as a coach at City. As he has said so. So has Pep. So has Benitez.

      The match fixing in the Away fixtures since that first Stoke Away fixture has been Dowdian. Every. Single. Game! So blatant. It can’t be defended.

      You wonder how many world class coaches will have to directly call this a bent league before the brave podcasters muster the necessary footballs to call it like most football fans know it is.
      Then again am I asking for too much from people who wrote as their epitaph in Football that “Ramsey & Ozil can’t play together”. Hehe.

  7. First Stoke Away fixture in AW’s last season


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