Report: Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal (inc. goals)

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Result: Crystal Palace 2–2 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 28 October 2018
Venue: Selhurst Park

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Arsenal starting XI: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ozil, Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette

Subs: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Ramsey, Smith Rowe, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck

__

Luka Milivojevic converted two penalties to end Arsenal’s 11-game winning streak as Unai Emery’s men had to settle for a 2-2 draw away at Crystal Palace.

The Serb converted in the dying moments of the first half after Shkodran Mustafi had slid into the back of Cheikou Kouyate and then repeated the trick with seven minutes remaining after Wilfred Zaha was taken down by Granit Xhaka.

The Swiss had equalised with a pile-driver of a free-kick on 51 minutes and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed his ninth of the season five minutes later as we again improved after the break. A draw was probably a fair result, although it does see us slip to fourth in the Premier League table.

First half

Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira, starting alongside each other for the first time since arriving in the summer, were quick to snap into tackles and break up attempts to feed the pace of Zaha.

When the Palace attacker did get on the ball, the plan appeared to be to double-up on him. Bellerin thwarted one low cross and then cleared the resulting header as the home side probed in the opening 10 minutes. As has been the pattern this season, it was cagey.

Then the game came to life. On 14 minutes, Zaha found himself free at the back post, took a touch a fired low. It looked a certain goal, but grazed the studs of Mustafi, hit the post and went out. That was the first of two quick-fire chances, as Townsend then shot wide from three yards out after a slick move inside Bellerin’s right channel.

Jordan Ayew, booked early for taking out Lacazette from behind, might easily have picked up a second on 18 minutes when caught Torreira on the halfway line. Referee Martin Atkinson gave the foul. But nothing more.

Our first clear chance came on 21 minutes. Lacazette and Iwobi closed down Milivojevic on the edge of the Palace area, the ball rolled freed invitingly for the former who on the stretch tried to curl home. The ball whipped wide. Laca buried his head in the turf.

Two minutes later, Bellerin had an even better chance to break the deadlock. The Spaniard had started the move with a neat give and go that also involved Lacazette and Ozil but when the ball came back to him eight yards out, he wanted too much time. His shot was blocked at close quarters. Nothing came of the corner.

Xhaka, again playing at left-back in the absence of Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac, did well to cope with the barrelling runs of Cheikou Kouyate. The Swiss was a conservative presence, rarely venturing forward. Perhaps unsurprising given his unfamiliarity with the role and his lack of speed.

Ayew continued to test Atkinson’s nerve as he tried to make the most of accidental contact by Mustafi on the edge of the box. The home fans screamed for a penalty but Atkinson waved play on.

Palace didn’t have to wait much longer for the referee to point to the spot. An almighty scramble from a corner, which Leno made something of a hash of, ended with Mustafi scything down Kouyate. Milivojevic, who missed last week, sent Leno the wrong way. It was Palace’s first home goal of the season and it came in first half stoppage time. (0-1)

Second half

We’ve grown used to half-time substitutions from Unai Emery, but on this occasion he had to reshuffle his pack due to an injury to Hector Bellerin. Stephan Lichtsteiner came on. We needed have worried about the change affecting our rhythm, we’d not really had any up to that point. Quite the opposite in fact, we reacted brilliantly. Inside six minutes we were level. And what a cracker of a goal it was.

After Torreira was fouled on the corner edge of the box, Xhaka and Ozil weighed up their options from the set piece. The Swiss decided to go for it, lashing the ball with real whip just over the heads of teammates and opponents alike. Hennessey got a hand to the ball, but it clipped off the post and rippled the net. The Swiss ran to the dugout to give Emery a big hug. (1-1)

With momentum on our side we quickly found a second. Again a trend this season. A corner found Aubameyang at the back post and he got just enough on the ball to squeeze it past Hennessey. Goal-line technology gave the goal. It was 9 millimetres over. However, replays showed that Lacazette’s hand had flicked the ball the way of the Gabon international before he pounced. In the Frenchman’s defence, he was having his shirt pulled, but if that had gone against us, we’d be screaming blue murder. (2-1)

Initially stunned, Palace came back into things. Max Meyer, on as a sub, hit the upright from a tight angle and hit over from a similar position not long after. Emery took off captain Ozil and brought on Welbeck. The German didn’t want his coach’s high five and threw some strapping to the floor in a huff.

We wanted to try and kill things on the break but in so doing we left ourselves open at the back. A poor pass by Lacazette, who’d collected the ball in the Palace area, left us backtracking. Zaha was given the ball by Meyer and went one-on-one against Xhaka, trailed a leg and went down in the box. Atkinson pointed to the spot immediately. Our left-back couldn’t believe it. It was definitely clumsy. Again Milivojevic stepped up and found the net. (2-2)

Ramsey had a half chance to win the game with two minutes remaining but he couldn’t get his head on Xhaka’s tempting cross. Deep into stoppage time, the Swiss then tried his luck with a free-kick from 30-yards but it sailed over.

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Pedant
Pedant

Shame, they scored at home, twice. Was hoping for the win. Hope morale stays high.

GoonerJust
GoonerJust

To be brutally honest, I think we just got away with a point. The last 20 minutes was quite worrying, we just can’t get out from their pressure. Auba’s goal was fantastic although Lacazette touched the ball with his hand – but who cares. Can understand why Ozil had that tantrum, he didn’t played well and deserved to be subbed.

GoonerJust
GoonerJust

I mean cannot…

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Playing 3 games in 7 days was bound to take its toll. Palace seemed fitter and fresher and their running caused all kinds of problems. That being a said a win over Liverpool will very much help forget this draw.

That being said Arsenal need the proper defenders and a makeshift back four will get torn apart by Liverpool. So Monreal needs to be fit.

I can’t stop being in awe of Torriera whenever I see him play, he is phenomenal and a star in the making. Also Lichsteiner impressed me after he came on, which hadn’t been the case in his previous outings. Today he seemed solid.

I wasn’t impressed with Ramsay coming on, I felt he is going to give possession away 100 times before this game is over. Not the kind of sub you want to make when you are physically battered and tired and looking to hold onto a 1 goal lead.

I feel this result had much to do with playing 3 games in such a short span, and even then were within 10 mins of taking all 3 points.

A week’s rest will do wonders for the team. Beat Liverpool and everyone will start talking about the title. I feel confident that the team will secure atleast a return to the Champs League.

Martin
Martin

Ramsey

GunneRon

The winning streak ends but the unbeaten run is still on. Mustafi should be dropped if we want that run to continue. A walking liability and the main reason why our defence looks unconvincing and shaky away from home. Overall a disappointing performance but I’d take the point. Away games in the league are never easy and over the course of the season we will draw some of them. What is important is for us to not lose our focus and to maintain the momentum going into the big match against Liverpool. A win against them would more than compensate for this draw and inspire confidence and belief in the team. COYG !

Maniac

So disappointing to have our winning streak end in this manner. We looked completely off the pace and largely orchestrated our own demise. I have a feeling these dropped points might come back to bite us.

Daz
Daz

We were off the pace. I think those Monday and Thursday games finally came back to haunt us. Its obviously not an excuse but difficult for any team to play 3 games in 7 days and maintain the same level.

Comedian
Comedian

Think would have almoat got our win if mustafi had done what guendouzi did later for their second goal. At so late in the game he should have just fouled the palace player. But again thats Mustafi no idea what goes on in his head.

Comedian
Comedian

Then again even Xhaka is to be blamed for sticking a leg out he should be more aware of where he is. Him and mustafi definitely lack focus most of the times.

santori
santori

Don’t agree.

Mustafi stopped a goalward bound shot from (Townsend I believe) in similar position later.

He had to make the block.

The issue was more us not being able to get a grip in midfield (Iwobi, Torreira and Guendouzi all looked leggy) and Leno should have got to that cross better.

Jack
Jack

Subs were all wrong this week sadly.

TOGooner
TOGooner

Ozil should have stayed on, or at least not be replaced by Welbeck. Coach has gotten so much right recently. Not today.

Bendtnerschristmastree
Bendtnerschristmastree

Yeah, should have been Laca off, for Welbeck. Laca looked a bit sluggish today.

Maniac

Sacrificing a midfielder for an attacker left us outnumbered in the middle of the park and, considering we were already playing with a makeshift defence, it really didn’t make sense to me. We were a goal up when Ozil was subbed off so we didn’t need to chase the game – it should have been Sokratis coming on to shore up a pretty shaky defence. We had plenty of attacking threat left on the field to nick a goal on the counter if the chance arose. Definitely thought Emery got that change wrong today.

Kostas
Kostas

Welbeck is a defencive striker. Certainly cover more than Özil.

I would hesitate to blame Unai just yet.

Mikeytaryan
Mikeytaryan

Not to put the blame on one player, but Ramsey was really bad when he came on….I don’t think he made one successful pass, and he disrupted every attack from us

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

He was shit in the last game too

FanniboyWelbz
FanniboyWelbz

He’s not a super sub at the moment. That’s all hes been, just a substitution

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

Blogs said half chance when he completely missed the header 😂. I don’t think he made one pass.

Group captain mandrake
Group captain mandrake

So now we’re criticizing him for not being tall enough? I’m not his biggest fan, but come on.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

He should try harder, to be more tall

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Lazy git…

santori
santori

He wasn’t bad.

It’s just we do not have the right assets to come in to make the necessary impact. We are crying out for another winger to lessen burden on Iwobi who was leggy today.

We needed someone to come in and give us faster transition on the wing without the strikers having to come down for the ball quite as much.

Nick
Nick

Blogs unsurprisingly lets Ramsey off the hook with a footnote-like reference to a “half chance” and claims in the player ratings that he didn’t really have time to make an impact; however, he had more than enough time (12 minutes plus 4 minutes of stoppage time) to give the ball away several times, get in teammates’ way, and put himself in a wonderful position to get on the end of a brilliant cross from Xhaka. Based on form alone, this guy doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near the first team. If we’re putting him in the January shop window, his value is decreasing by the week.

Bertieme
Bertieme

Lacazette was poor most of the game.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

He didn’t even have to jump, what the hell are you talking about 😂😂

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Not what you are talking about.

afan
afan

why pick on laca,ozil and most of the team wasn,t very good

G G
G G

Ramsay one of few players that walked directly off without acknowledging us away fans.

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

🙁 wasn’t too surprised given we our fullbacks were injured. But not our worst performance. Laca’s worst game this season but we still love you. COYG!

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

Yes I was very surprised laca stayed on ahead of Ozil. Strange call from the coach.

catbiscuits
catbiscuits

Leno doesn’t look great dealing with crosses…

utk
utk

He punched most of them out a decent distance even when challenged by Palace’s big men. Not sure what game you saw

catbiscuits
catbiscuits

He flapped at a few, including just prior to the penalty incident:

http://arsenalist.com/f/2018-19/crystal-palace-goal-1-0-pen-+-foul-2018-10-28.html

Similar issues against Leicester. I’m not sure that being more comfortable with the ball at his feet makes him a better option on Cech, but I suppose De Gea had similar issues adjusting to the English game back in 2011, and we all know how that turned out.

utk
utk

Hmm that was a bit sketchy, but if only mustafi had stayed on his feet instead of lunging in. Saying that I still prefer Leno. He’s the likely long term option for us so makes sense if he gets through these mistakes as we are winning/drawing :L and he looks like he can come good so fingers crossed

catbiscuits
catbiscuits

He flapped at a few, including just prior to the penalty incident (clip linked in the report). Similar issues against Leicester.

I’m not sure who the best GK option is. Sure, Leno is comfortable with the ball at his feat, but he doesn’t command his penalty area in the same way that Cech does. Of course De Gea had similar issues when adjusting to the English league back in 2011, so maybe he just needs time.

(apologies if this is a double post)

duno
duno

Mustafi has to be benched ASAP! Gave away a needles penalty and failed to take one for the team by stopping that counter by any means necessary.

Cronux
Cronux

Mustafi was shit… I was screaming bring him down.. Bring him down… That guy has no sense of awareness… Damn..he deserves a punch in the face

duno
duno

I know I wasn’t the only one that was screaming. It was that bloody obvious! So damn frustrating!

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

He has been decent in recent games but if we have aspirations for success we need someone who doesn’t do something that daft every now and then. Surely time for Holding and Sokratis.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair

Needles to say, Palace had the last laugh

PeteyB
PeteyB

I think some are ready to give the needles penalty to Mustafi…

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Needless comment

santori
santori

Don’t agree.

Sokratis when he was in last match could have also easily been sent off.

Mustafi had to make the block.

He did a similar block later on to deny Townsend I believe.

It was a soft penalty.

Dorothy
Dorothy

It be like that sometimes when you have a makeshift leftback.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Surely Zaha dived blatantly for that second one

utk
utk

Worse was that prick Ayew, holy fuck he deserves a jab

Ilari
Ilari

It was 100% a dive. And before the corner that lead to the first penalty, Holding’s shirt was ripped to pieces

Tony Adams Nose
Tony Adams Nose

If that prick of a ref would have given Holding the foul he clearly deserved, there would have been no corner and no penalty from that attack.
So again, poor refereeing determines the out come of a game.

GunneRon

It was clear as daylight how Zaha was already going down before Xhaka had stuck out his leg. Our winning streak would have perhaps continued if it weren’t for the old and gullible Atkinson.

Stephen
Stephen

Need to learn how to play against fast teams. Auba should be CF against quicker teams. Iwobi way too sluggish don’t know how he stayed on. Ozil has nobody to pass to because Lacazette wouldn’t run against their defenders and Auba was stuck too far wide.

Good for Emery to see who can’t perform against a fast paced team. Lot to think about before Liverpool.

cygan'sbaldspot
cygan'sbaldspot

Bad day for us, I question Emerys subs today especially when lacazette was so bad. Danny was the right choice but you need ozil on to supply him and auba. Torreira is ridiculous and Guendouzi never seems to have a bad game but maybe a back 3 is the way to go if we don’t have a LB

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

I love the fact that this season it’s a bad day for us when we draw an away game. 🙂 COYG.

cygan'sbaldspot
cygan'sbaldspot

Yes, me too. I have a feeling we will right this against the scousers..

Bobbyp
Bobbyp

Their second goal was completely Lacazette’s fault. All he had to do was take it into the corner and shied it, maybe get a foul or wait until he had more players to pass it to. That kind of sloppy pass really pisses me off. I would dock him wages if I were the manager.

Martin
Martin

The Lacazette bad pass let to the Palace attack but that was a blatant dive by Zaha and amazed Atkinson was conned.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

You want Lacca gone then Bob?

Bobbyp
Bobbyp

No, not at all Paul. He’s one of my favourite players since he joined. I love how much he fights for us and always tracks back. It was just that today one sloppy pass caused a goal.

ach
ach

Classic ozil, produced a masterclass only to went missing in the next game.

FanniboyWelbz
FanniboyWelbz

Classic scapegoat

bukut
bukut

Don’t you get the note? Blaming everything on ramsey even though he is only like 10 minutes on the pitch is the cool thing to do here.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

In a tough game he was keeping ball with simple pass. Once we were ahead he could have been lethal with them pushing and taking risks. Wrong subs today I’m afraid

Cronux
Cronux

Mustafi dererves a punch in the face.. Should have brought that player down… Stuck a leg out or held his shirt.. Holding or Papa would have Done that. Just so pissed at the dropped points…

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Would you punch him Cronux?

Irrational Gunner

Scrappy game. I think our trip to Portugal showed today. Disappointed we had a tie based on two penalties. Maybe things evened out officiating wise, but Crystal Palace sure has a lot of diving bitches.

XYZ
XYZ

A draw is not a bad result. But would have been better if iwobe and belleine could have passed to wide open strikers inside the box instead of taking feeble shots.

Henrik
Henrik

Putting on welbeck for Ozil is like trading your ferrarri for a rusty bike. Hes shit and should have left with wenger who foolishly signed him.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Thumb down.

Martin
Martin

Palace not scored at home all season? Arsenal: “Hold my beer” We were really poor all over the pitch today. So slow in everything we did and panic seem to set in when ever Palace got into the final 3rd. Almost a Wengeresque performance. You can’t win them all but this year the top teams will rarely drop points, especially against clubs as poor as these.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

A fair result.

Yes, I know: that second penalty was a joke, but Aubameyang’s goal should have been disallowed for Laca’s handball. We dropped two points today because we didn’t show enough ambition at 2-1. For once Emery got his substitutions wrong: why take off Aubameyang when we had just a one-goal lead? A third goal would have won us the match. Instead, we tried to hang on and paid the price. I was pleased with the way we competed in a typically tough Premier League away game: we looked solid and competitive. A year ago we might have caved in at 1-0.

Personally, I never cared too much about the winning record. I remember 87/88 well: after setting that record we went on to win precisely nothing. The only records that matter are the silver ones. This was a tough away game to play after a huge away European game on Thursday, so a point is not a bad result.

I’m licking my lips already at the Liverpool game: let’s make a massive statement by beating them.

Henrik
Henrik

Yeah right. Liverpool are times better than Palace. Good luck with that one.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

In case you haven’t noticed Henric, football doesn’t work like that.

duno
duno

I agree with Fats on this one. The record is not nearly as important as continuing the process of making us all round better. If Emery is the man I suspect him to be then I won’t be surprised to see Mustafi sold in the summer, the likes of the Lich and Kolasinac leaving etc.
Mustafi is so so frustrating, his likes don’t win you the league. He’s always have a brain fart or something. For the first penalty, why go into a challenge like that in the penalty box without being sure of touching the ball. For the second, he either disobeyed Emery’s instruction to stop a counter like that or he forgot. Fucking annoying.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Who are you and what have you done with the real Fatgooner?

myrtle
myrtle

This guy is clearly a fraud. The old fatgooner had a different avatar of a fat baby, a lower-case f, and would never say anything so positive.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

How dare you!!!!

I’m just enjoying the new Wenger-free Arsenal.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Fats don’t forget that we should have had a pen for the Lacca pulled shirt before the handball. But agree with you…omg! 🙂

MeSoHornsey
MeSoHornsey

Poor performance and lacklustre. Particularly poor from Laca and nothing seemed to come off for Iwobi today either. Disappointing but only positive is that Palace were the better side but couldn’t beat us.

Trez
Trez

Emery bottled this game. Should have never subbed Ozil. Could’ve brought on Mkhitaryan too and subbed Laca for Welbeck instead.
Mustafi is brainless. He will never be a world class CB. Every defender makes mistakes but Mustafi is just dumb.
Laca was poor. Torreira was average. Guendouzi was invisible.
Xhaka after scoring a great goal goes and acts brainless too. Fell for Zaha’s tricks.
Disappointing result. Hopefully we win next week

Henrik
Henrik

Spot on!

Thierry bergkamp
Thierry bergkamp

I don’t ever remember seeing an experienced centre back diving into a player in the box, while his back was turned to him. Fucking muppet.

Irrational Gunner

Exactly. It’s the thought process that is really scary. A sliding tackle in the box, 2 yards from the goal line, and away from home? Instead of the corner, why don’t we just put the ball on the spot for them!

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

I forgive Xhaka as he’s not a LB. But, Mustafi…
That was such a dumb dumb tackle by a defender

Martin
Martin

Forgive Xhaka for what? It was a blatant dive by Zaha.

Matty Cakes
Matty Cakes

No problems with Emery making substitutions the way he does. Ozil was poor today and deserved to be replaced, hopefully we get a big performance next week in a big game. That’s what his critics want.
Other subs didn’t work out either, the manager clearly wanted more pace on the break.
Draw was a fair result. Onwards and upwards, COYG.

Gervinho
Gervinho

Guendouzi showing great awareness to take a yellow card in 2nd half stoppage time. Wish someone was smart enough to do that on the break leading to their 2nd goal. Dreadful pass from Lacazette to start he break.

Hope it was precautionary with Bellerin – we could really use him next week. Also quite relieved Atkinson didn’t book Xhaka on the penalty. We also need him next week and he was one yellow away from suspension. Let’s start another winning run on Wednesday.

COYG

santori
santori

Guendouzi also made a number of errand passes.

watch the game again.

The midfield lost its energy and control after we scored.

santori
santori

Plus we were lucky Laca was not penalised for hand ball for the Auba goal. VERY lucky.

Atkinson is not inherently bias just erratic.

Junichi B
Junichi B

It’s a complicated one for the coach, but the structure, the balance is not good with both Aubameyang and Lacazette, and just considering the way he wants his team to play (not their striking abilities) , for me the former should not be starting. We are better with Mikhy qualities even if most of the time he’s poor… Anyway, that winning streak would have ended somewhere. Still, it’s not a loss.

Cino
Cino

first of all..lets talk about the good things..12 games unbeaten, Auba scored again..hmm seems like thats it. I think both goals where Mustafis fault, i mean the first one…i cant even find words for it. But for the 2. i had to check the app on my phone again to see if he was on a yellow card, he wasnt and from this point on there was no excuse why he didnt stoped the counter with a foul…we all know what Sokratis would have done in that moment.

KongoKim
KongoKim

Well, fuck.
All of us not sharp enough today. Couple of good interceptions from Guendouzi. Lichtsteiner out of pace. Xhakas pulls out a goal and kinda like an assist with the corner and then he can’t beat the first defender twice or even three times at corners. Laca looked so tired in the last 15 minutes. No clue why Auba got substituted and not him. Hope Bellerin just got a knock because clearly that was not a tactially sub. Mustafi…36th minute, lost aerial duel, waving with his hands. Why he can’t stop doing this? And it felt somehow that today we got punished for mistakes, we already made the last couple of games. They had 16-18 attempts?! Obv too much gainst teams like Palace in all due respect.

I think we are still in a progress, need to find our balance and things and wins will come naturally. Even if our streak ended i think we will only get better, not saying we gonna win every game from now on. Keep the flags high. COYG!

santori
santori

You are nit picking.

Mustafi was solid through the game. The penalty was contentious at best.

Other players like Guendouzi and Torreira misplaced or lost a number of passes and duels.

GoonerN16

@santori, oh the irony, you accusing KongoKim of ‘nit picking’, hilarious…

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

Replace Mustafi with the Greek bloke and get Mon back on the pitch and all is good for now… 🙂 COYG!

santori
santori

Not necessarily so… Greek was poor last game and could have been sent off.

What we need is for the midfield to work better but evidently, we were suffering from impact of 3 very closely spaced games.

Still we had no one to swap out for similar function Iwobi gives us and he was poor today (likely tired)

Whole team was a step behind today which correspondingly meant pressure to our makeshift back line with subsequent risk.

afan
afan

well well, where to start, for a start I think that lichsteiner should not be allowed within a hundred miles of the first team, we should sell him in January ( if anyone will have him ), now for ozil, even the most ardent ozil lovers must realize just how bad he is, the game he had at Leicester was an average game for him, iwobi was man of the match by a country mile, but just because ozil had a good second half everyone was raving about him ( I think emery gave him the hairdryer treatment at half time ), and I think that the way he through his gloves down when he got hauled off was just for the cameras ( he don’t give a shit ) I think the pundits in the studio had some interesting and honest views about his performance, as souness said if you are the captain you must lead by example, but he never, he deserved to get taken off, and hats off to emery for taking him off.

Walleye
Walleye

CP was much better than I expected. Very well organized.

In the first half the sun and the shadows made the game almost unwatchable. What is it about that stadium that the sun causes such problems?

santori
santori

They were worth the result.

BUT if we had better assets to rotate through for Emery, we could have sustained the run.

MustardSoup
MustardSoup

Oof what a tough game with end to end stuff. I think we barely got away with a draw which is both disappointing and okay at the same time. Both teams were equally matched with a very determined Palace side and an Arsenal side that wasn’t able to hit the heights that it normally can. I think our team lacked its usually sharpness with Lacazette being rather poor with some bad touches and misplaced passes though I cannot fault him for his attitude. Iwobi seemed knackered at the end and lacked his usually fluidity and directness. Ozil of course was probably the most disappointing of our attacking players. A time when we were looking for some creativity and world class play he was quiet and subdued. We can’t blame him entirely because I think the entire team was having an off day. It was a shame that both our most error-prone players ended up committing some high profile mistakes that led to two penalties. This may seem unpopular, but I think Mustafi had a good overall game but it will be overshadowed by his momentary lapse of composure and going in for that rash tackle. In the end, it’s mistakes like this that determine outcomes of the game so I’m not saying we should let him off the hook. You can be fantastic for the whole 90 but errors like that costs points and my verdict that we need to look for a different CB remains unchanged. Xhaka I feel did okay thanks to Torreria and Guendouzi doing a good job shutting down any dangerous attacks heading down that channel. But just like Emery said in the pre-match, Xhaka is just there to cover for our unfortunate injuries affecting both Monreal and Kolasinac. His inexperience was definitely on full display when he stuck out a leg trying to win the ball from Zaha. I’ll have to look at the replay again but a specialized fullback most likely wouldn’t have gone for the ball there. Even if Zaha won the dribble, I think the space was really narrow and if Xhaka just jockeyed him the angle to shoot or cross would be extremely tight. If Zaha was still able to get a shot or a cross off and Xhaka wasn’t able to block – Leno most likely would have been in a great position to hand that away. As for positives, I am out of words to explain how amazing Torreria has been. I don’t think he put a foot wrong the entire game and he was incredibly press resistant. His passing, control, and dribbling out of tight situations was a pleasure to watch. He definitely is going to be a critical part of our midfield and it scares me to think what would happen if he gets injured. Overall, I think Arsenal fought well despite having a poor team performance. Still a lot of questions remain about our defense and our ability to break down tough defensive teams who apply a lot of pressure. Other things to consider is that a lot of our players were definitely tired and credit to Xhaka for his ability to play so many games in a demanding position. I’m very concerned about the Liverpool game.. It will be a huge test and whatever the result ends up being should be very indicative of how far this team has developed and what else needs to work on. Win, draw, or lose, the improvements are there but some clever recruitment is certainly needed because some of the players are starting to become liabilities.

Baz00r
Baz00r

Paragraphs are your friend.

santori
santori

Dissapointing but somewhat expected.

We looked a bit jaded today likely with impact from last Monday and then the midweek game in Portugal.

Again points to a shortage in assets needed to fully sustain through 3 or 4 fronts.

I thought we dug in commendably even when obviously not playing at our best and under the cosh.

Lack of output further forward (and sharpness) meant they had opportunity to pressure us.

Defensively we were prey to the ref not entirely bc he may be inherently bias against us (We did get away with the Laca handball) but more with the erratic nature of his decision making.

In terms of the penalty against Granit, that was always a risk for the Swiss played in unfamiliar role against speedy players. Bearing that in mind, he put in a commendable performance defensively and came up with the goods from the free kick. So slightly unfortunate he committed to the tackle when Mustafi and others were behind covering. This even if Zaha did make a meal out of it as to be expected if it were us.

In terms of the Mustafi penalty, that was more contentious. The contact was minimal and it was a 50-50 with both players going for the ball. Mustafi played well for the rest of the game. He had to make the block against the player so difficult to say he should have held back.

This particularly as later on, there was a similar instance when he performed a similar block to deny I believe Townsend’s goalward bound ball from very close range.

I think the issue was more our inability to control the game in midfield or have sufficient impact higher up that caused the defense to buckle.

Players like Guendouzi, Iwobi and Torreira looked leggy and not quite as snappy.

Inviting teams to come at us and attempting to soak pressure up with the make shift defensive unit that we have (never mind when it is at full component) was always going to be a risk.

Chris Evripidou
Chris Evripidou

Wow!! Barely anybody touched up on the main issue and that was Xhaka playing left back – not his fault, very bad decision by the coach. Xhaka can not defend, Xhaka is very slow, Xhaka could not be a thread attacking from the wing, Xhaka took our left side of the field out of the atacking game, but also Xhaka was missed from the midfield becuase as he has our best player Torreira taking care of the dirty work he is dishing out forward passes to keep defenses honest.
And because of Xhaka been there, we needed our most reliable defender named Sokratis to be back there bringing some calmness in front of the keeper.

Chris Evripidou
Chris Evripidou

Guendouzi, Iwobi, Sokratis, Not ready Niles, Elneny, yes Ramsey, Lichtsteiner and the U23 left back would have been better choices at left back than Xhaka.

Fabregasm
Fabregasm

Once again, 2nd goal brought on by Mustafi not being a defender. He clearly needed to take the yellow card and bring the player down at the halfway line. 1/10 Sell.