Ten man Arsenal came away from Selhurst Park with a point today, after a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Gunners took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but failed to make the most of their early dominance. An Ayew shot which deflected off David Luiz for the Palace equaliser, before Aubameyang was sent off for a foul on Max Meyer.

Pepe hit the post late on, and Lacazette failed to make the most of the rebound, but in the context of the game, Mikel Arteta will probably be happy enough with the point.

Read the Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal report and see the goal here

Here’s how the players rated this evening.

Ratings

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Sweet Lou
Sweet Lou

Disappointing that the control we had evaporated as soon as they started to press higher and more aggressively. I guess it’s promising that bar switching off on the free kick, they barely created anything. This will take time. It will get better.

Rich
Rich

I’m not convinced, I think this is our level right now, we’re 10th with a goal difference of minus 2 for a reason.

We might get more out of Pepe + Ceballos as the season progresses, but we lack a spark.

Lacazette worked hard, Niles was defensively switched on, some of Luiz’s passing was exceptional, Kolasinac took up some good positions in the first half, and Pepe strikes a pretty decent corner.

But for a club who’s got so much individual quality in the final third, we’re lacking a ruthless cutting edge, we don’t create anywhere near enough chances from open play, or have enough goals coming from midfield.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

The forwards are not really firing. Arteta doesn’t seem to have managed to turn that around yet.

TRoberts
TRoberts

This is so spot on. As a competitive youth coach of 22 years, this is what my teams look like when I tell them to play Keep Away in training. Literally a compete lack of attack. Down thumb his comments as much as you’d like, but you should read that action as you just don’t want to believe it, buts sadly at this point, it’s true – mid table club at the moment.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Laca and Auba was a lethal combination last season but the team overall wasn’t really effective. Now we seem to have the opposite.

Laca hasn’t been the same since he got injured. That seems to be part of the problem.

Fred Garvin
Fred Garvin

I don’t think that mid table is our level. We have easily enough talent to be in the top 4.

I think that we have had failures at the coaching/tactical level and above (looking at you, Raul, for dithering when Emery should have been shown the door), had to make do with an interim coach after that who didn’t have the requisite experience nor any support, and now Arteta is trying to work the players out of their Emery-induced funk and turn us back into an attacking, possession-based team with a well-drilled press.

VAR has been a nightmare for us this season, as the stats showing us to be the unluckiest team so far this year have been making the rounds on twitter.

We’re righting the ship, but before long we’ll find our way back up the table.

A Different George
A Different George

“we’re 10th with a goal difference of minus 2 for a reason.” Indeed, and that reason is Unai Emery.

I don’t expect us to make up the ground for the top four this season, but we have as good a squad as all but the champions and the champions-to-be, both of which are far above us.

Rich
Rich

What planet are you living on?

I suppose Ozil was 10/10 again today as well?

Is your real name Rebecca Wrong Daily? ?

Ace Boogie
Ace Boogie

Ugh.. so frustrating

BleedRed
BleedRed

Torreira is key for us!!! We’re so much better with him and I hope this injury isn’t serious.
I see on Twitter in Lacazette and I don’t understand it. Without him we don’t get the goal. I have faith he will get his confidence back next game at home and hope he can carry the load while Aubameyang is out and with Martinelli back I think they both can get us back on track.
Pepe almost got us the winner but I just don’t see it from him

Rich
Rich

Lacazette is brilliant, he never stops running for the team, I love him.

We’ll need to be patient with Pepe, he hits a really good set piece, and should be taking corners both sides, he looks like he has plenty of end product in his game, we just need to iron out a few creases, I think we’ll see more from him as the season progresses.

Guns Up
Guns Up

I think we all love Lacazette and applaud his effort levels, but he has been absolutely woeful in front of goal for some time now. I’m confident that will change, but as Blogs points out, it’s a problem right now.

Rich
Rich

The whole team is unbalanced.

The situation we currently find ourselves in, has been years in the making.

This squad needs so much surgery, I’m not sure where’s best to start.

I like Xhaka+Torreira,they work hard, but we definitely need more dynamic upgrades, I love the look of Willock, but he probably needs a loan.

I think Guendouzi has a high ceiling, but he’s 12-18 months away from where we need him to be, central midfielders generally start maturing between the ages of 22-24.

Aubameyang isn’t a wide player, he’s a No9 who can play wide, I understand why we’d want our two best players on the pitch, but it does unbalance us.

Pepe, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli are hugely exciting, but it’ll be next season before Pepe starts producing consistently, and the other 3 are just 18,18 and 20, so understandably a long way away from where we’d need them to be.

I won’t even mention Ozil and our problems there….. as all I get is personal abuse, but his wages, and his decline, are a big problem for us, hopefully Ceballos settles down and offers us something there, and Smith-Rowe plays regularly at Huddersfield, to offer us a more dynamic option next season.

Tierney looks good, but had giant red warning triangles all over him, Kolasinac tries, but lacks quality in possession.

Bellerin’s had no pre-season, we probably won’t see much of him, or Holding this season.

I love Niles, I think he’s got huge potential, will be interesting to see how he develops over the next 18 months, he’s not there yet, but he’s got everything needed to succeed, but if anything happens to him? We’ve got big problems at right back.

And our centre half’s are erratic.

I’m really not that surprised we’re 10th with a goal difference of minus 2.

Der32
Der32

This is a team in transition. That’s basically it.

A Different George
A Different George

“I won’t even mention Ozil and our problems there….. as all I get is personal abuse, but his wages, and his decline, are a big problem for us.”

I’m so glad you didn’t mention Ozil. And I will not mention that the abuse you receive is well-deserved. Pro-Emery and pro-Tory. No, they’re not connected–two separate problems.

Rich
Rich

A Different George

People who hold different viewpoints to your own, don’t deserve abuse.

When will you guys learn?

It’s the reason why Brexit and Trump won in 2016, why Boris just won a large majority, and Trump will likely smash the Democrats in November.

Being offended is not an argument, abusing people who have different beliefs is not an argument, why don’t you try putting a reasoned argument forward? Or you could just ignore me?

To quote our greatest post war Prime Minister, just for you ?

“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left”

Cheer up ?

goonshow
goonshow

Two ‘reasoned’ arguments – you can bring yourself to even mention Ozil and you ‘love’ AMN:
Ozil was instrumental in our one moment of incision yesterday. Palace’s packed last 1/3 denied him the space he’s had in recent games. SHould he have done better in the first 30-40 when we were so dominant? Yes. But the fact remains he was the only creative spark in rather ordinary attacking display.
AMN continues to look at sea at right back – yes, he dealt with Zaha but let’s also concede that Zaha had one of his most off-colour games in ages yesterday. AMN too often runs into dead-ends, stalls with the ball and then squares or (more often) reverses it putting our backs under more pressure. I think it’s because he does not ‘keep his head up’ and too often, receives the ball without knowing his next move/pass. Until he/the coach sorts that – these problems will continue to compromise what otherwise is a promising player.

goonshow
goonshow

Apols for typo line 1… ‘can’t bring yourself’

A Different George
A Different George

I was commenting on two things: (!) the dishonesty of your saying “I won’t mention Ozil” and then going ahead and saying exactly what you always say about Ozil.
(2) the arrogance with which you lecture people, despite what seems to me your lack of any genuine fellow-feeling.

I do think your political views shine through, in fact unconsciously motivate, your football views. To put it in capsule form: you are a Mourinho man, and I like Wenger and Klopp and, yes, Arteta.

PFo
PFo

Laca’s hold up play is also very hit and miss–great one moment, very sloppy the next–and he gives away too many stupid fouls that kill momentum and flow, when the player he’s pressing is going nowhere. Fix those things and I’d personally be more patient with his goal drought.

I’ve liked him since he arrived, but on average over the course of his Arsenal career (and currently), he’s pretty far from one of our two best players, Rich.

It Is What It Is
It Is What It Is

Since his injury?

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

He clearly has a lot of talent but maybe a bit too much of a headless chicken at the moment

Right Across Sunderland!
Right Across Sunderland!

That’s the best we’ve played with ten men for years. Arteta seemed pretty angry with the first 10-15 or so in the second half. His interview was interesting. He looked like a man who’d just had a big row. Good, because we took our foot off the accelerator until the red card.

I am happy though that our defence is actually looking quite good now. And VAR needs binning. It always seems to go against us. Check out Chelsea’s penalty later. Blatant dive by Willian. Penalty given. Is it right, that if the ref gives the pen VAR won’t overrule the award? I don’t even know anymore. If so that’s a joke too. Either way, it’s been a disaster for us, but great for the spuds, citeh, LiVARpool and Chelsea. Put it in the bin.

Atom
Atom

The issue with VAR is the PL is wildly inconsistent in how it applies it and the decision is never made by the actual ref as it is in other leagues. In reality that’s a microcosm of PL ref standards as refs are wildly inconsistent even inside games. I have no problem with Auba’s red – it was the right decision. However if that’s the standard then it’s mind boggling some of the scissor tackles on Pepe and Martinelli in games past weren’t reds

Vonnie
Vonnie

The issue with VAR is that the same cheats who are refereeing the games are running VAR. PGMOL want it to fail and are manipulating it to their advantage.

Gary Baldy
Gary Baldy

I’ve said that for a few months now and while I am not sure you or I are right, it can’t be entirely dismissed as a theory.
Of course, we will never really find out if we are/were onto something.

A Different George
A Different George

If you are in the mood for conspiracies, wouldn’t PGMOL support VAR, as it creates another full refereeing position in every match? Doubles the number of available slots. Job security.

Right Across Sunderland!
Right Across Sunderland!

Having seen it back a few times now at full speed, I too think we can’t complain about the red, agreed.

I’m just annoyed at VAR because we never seem to get much in our favour. I honestly think that if a Palace player had made the same foul that no red would’ve been given.

No wonder PL refs (in the VAR hut too, remember) get ignored when it comes to the big international comps.

They’re shite.

Gary Baldy
Gary Baldy

It’s not VAR that’s the problem, it is how it is applied.

For example, how was Zaha not looked at for his push on Pepe that ended up injuring Torreira ?
That action directly affected how we controlled the game in the 2nd half, when Torreira was unable to continue.
It might even mean LT11 is out for a couple of weeks or more, if Arteta’s comments and reaction, are anything to go by, which as we can safely say affects how we set up and the way play.

When we tried to replicate his work we looked ragged and is what led, in my opinion, to Aubamyang charging in to the red card challenge.
It could have been any player mistiming that tackle getting that red at that stage of the game.

Right Across Sunderland!
Right Across Sunderland!

Those sly pushes when a player jumps can be really dangerous.

goonshow
goonshow

And Ayew’s persistent and cynical niggling from the off – including an ankle stamp very early on. A half-decent ref would have warned him after the 2ns and carded him for the 3rd offence (still in the first half), which may have had him in real trouble for his foul(s) later in the match. I don’t buy the whole ‘refs-cheat-conspiracy’ thing but Palace most certainly had way more leniency yesterday, particularly first 45 when they were chopping us up at will.

PAR
PAR

We won against Everton after Koscielny got red carded in the first half so I guess that counts as better but yes we were good.

Martin
Martin

I never thought I would read such childish rubbish on Arseblog. To believe that VAR can be biased towards certain team teams is pure nonsense and you use VAR in the name of the best foot ball team in the country is utterly puerile. VAR works very successfully around the world where it’s been in use for several years and is making the game so much fairer. Even though it’s not being used properly in the Premier League such as not referring to the pitch side monitors it is still making sure that referees are getting most decisions correct. Why blame VAR when it’s the referees who make the decisions from what they see.

Der32
Der32

What a stupid comment.

Martin
Martin

So people believe that a piece of technology can be biased towards certain teams and calling the champions elect LiVARpool is very sensible. I give up. I really thought our supporters would have more class

George
George

VAR, referees, referees using/abusing VAR, you know what he meant. And he’s right, it’s garbage right now because those operating it are garbage.

Furthermore, Tierney is the kind of gormless, useless shitbag that makes the EPL refs the worst in all the top flights. How the fuck Ayew doesn’t the get the first yellow of the game is beyond bollocks. And that’s just the tip of that douchebag’s iceberg. If he touched/patted me like he does and had that stupid grin on his face, I’d clock him.

And, finally, I despise Palace and those feckless southside cave dwellers. Horrible place for horrible people.

TOGooner
TOGooner

Positive signs, especially from defence. I think it’s absurd to expect we can press hard for the entirety of the game, but what is a fair expectation is arsenal creating more chances. When you have four players up front who can play quick intelligent passes, they must show more or that beyond the one instance which lead to the goal.

GraeB
GraeB

I think we can expect more than 30 minutes though.

Seemed to sit back after scoring instead of keeping the pressure on for a second goal. This gave Palace hope and encouraged them forward . Guendouzi just could not replace Torreira.

Fekede
Fekede

I agree. Always only defending aftet one goal with Aub Laca and Pepe at the front.

goonshow
goonshow

Agree on Guen – he has sadly flattered to deceive in the last few months. Just seems to run around, waving his arms at the ref and doesn’t add anything on defence, compared to Torreira. He is decent enough going forward and can pick a good pass, but is useless at breaking up play in the midfield. No accident that Palace’s momentum upped so significantly once Tiger Torreira was off. Guen just doesn’t have the positional nous nor the commitment/speed to pounce on opposition passes.

PFo
PFo

“When you have four players up front who can play quick intelligent passes, they must show more of that beyond the one instance which lead to the goal.”

1. But we don’t really have four of those up top, at least not 4 that do quick passes consistently. Ozil’s the only one. Pepe was very poor today. Being a dangerous dribbler is a great asset, but he always feels he has to cut inside and out on his defender about six times before releasing the ball. I think he could be an absolute star eventually, but it looks to me like we’ve basically paid 72m for a very raw version of Riyad Mahrez (not just more raw than 2020 City Mahrez, more raw than Leicester Mahrez). And though both Auba and Laca can play quick one touch passes, they’re not nearly as consistent with it as say Alexis and Santi were, or even the likes of Iwobi, Wilshere, and Ramsey. Throwing lots of attacking players onto the pitch does not necessarily equal quick, skillful attacks in tight spaces. The balance is off in that front four, unless/until Pepe seriously simplifies his game and/or someone like Saka or Nelson seriously steps up and has an Iwobi-like breakout second half of the season (obviously Martinelli has huge potential, but he’s another individualist and risk-taker, rather than creative combiner, on the ball).

2. It always kills me how often days like today, in which we don’t create enough chances, are laid at the feet of the likes of Ozil and Pepe (receiving 6’s from Blogs) whereas players behind them who were poorer at their jobs, at least in building play (e.g. Xhaka and Sokratis both getting 6.5’s) escape the same criticism simply because they are inevitably involved in the play more. No one ever accuses them of being “invisible” simply by virtue of where they play on the pitch and the fact that we try to pass out from the back. But for a team who builds from the back, Ozil and Pepe only get the ball if our buildup is working. It was for the first 20-25 minutes, and low and behold in that time we scored a goal from a slick passing move that started with Luiz finding Mesut with a line breaking pass. After that, Palace started pressing (and getting rougher, falling over looking for fouls, etc), and our buildup totally broke down. You can say Ozil and Pepe needed to work harder and get open, and that might be true, but their supposed to stay up the pitch so they can be found in dangerous positions, and several times the through ball to Mesut was on but Sokratis (worst passer on the team), Xhaka, or Torreira failed to play it, recycling the ball again and inviting pressure. This in turn allowed Palace to push up the pitch, and start to hem us into our half, where they could then constrict the space we had to get out. From that point on, we had lost the momentum, and it all came about because our CM’s and CB’s weren’t confident/smart/skillful enough to try line breaking passes when we were on top of the game and those passes were on. Even then, there was one instance late in the 1st half when we had a chance to get out of our half and counterattack and the move broke down because Xhaka, rather than picking his head up and playing a quick pass, slowed down in order to buy a useless free kick from the Palace player barging into his back, thus giving CP a chance to get everyone behind the ball. It was the perfect example of how, despite his improvements under Arteta, his limitations hold our buildup back so much. Replace Xhaka and Sokratis with more skillful/quicker players on the ball (and maybe add another creative link player among the front four) and our attack will flourish.

Man
Man

What is everyone else’s line limit for reading a posting. Mine is about four. Any more and…
??‍♂️

PFo
PFo

that’s cool. no one’s holding a gun to your head. might be healthy to exercise your brain a little bit every once and a while though.

Upamecano but downalego
Upamecano but downalego

It’s not about the word count, it’s the quality that’s important. Pretty tired of people seeing a large block of text, deciding not to read it because they don’t have time/can’t be arsed – which is fair enough – but then taking the time to bring attention to the fact that they don’t like it. Which is it? If you aren’t interested, move on, if you are, read it and join in the discussion.
If people want to put the effort in then surely that’s something decent minded people can happily just respect or ignore?

Dastardlydick
Dastardlydick

Dunno. I enjoyed that analysis PFo. Agree that Pepe has work to do and Xhaka is too slow.

Der32
Der32

It takes more than 2 weeks to wash away Emery’s farcical tactics. I think the players will get better in time, especially in making braver decisions during build up.

Fred Garvin
Fred Garvin

Agreed.

Our buildup play often sees our DM’s and wingbacks oriented backward with frequent return passes to Luiz and Sokratis when we should be receiving the ball in midfield and turning, looking to advance it into dangerous areas. This is emblematic of Emeryball, as is our lack of ability to exploit the center of the pitch (like we have been doing for limited periods lately under Arteta) to send Auba, Pepe, or Laca through.

In attack, all four were making good runs up top, but we need to assert ourselves through the middle in the final third. Torreira’s hustle just needs to be rounded out with more clinical passing, and Xhaka – while we rely on him with good reason – just doesn’t have the speed and athleticism that we really need to help us cut through defenses.

Caligunner
Caligunner

PFo

I also enjoy reading thorough thoughts. Especially the ones I can agree with ?

There is one poster in particular who I will not mention that just copy and paste and it gets annoying lol

goonshow
goonshow

Good comment. Just imagine the result with Santi spraying the ball around yesterday… different game entirely.

Venga bus

Much more grit and we’re not being bullied anymore…….bravo players and Arteta for that.
As for the refereeing……..aha ha ha ahahaha ha ha haha ahah

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

I said this many times here and I still stand by my claim. Our biggest problem is the lack of the creativity. We don’t have players who can play in the final third. Because of that we can’t continuously press the opponent with the ball. Selling/loaning both Mkhitaryan and Iwobi was a big mistake. Most of the fans will not want to admit it but we miss them (or the type of players they are). As a counter argument many will say we replaced them with better Pepe, Martinelli and Nelson. Ok, to think that but they are not the players who can hide the ball in the final 3rd. Pepe has the quality but he is too direct. If we want dictate the games Xhaka and Ozil are not enough. We need more players who are comfortable with the ball in their feet. If I were Arteta I would want Mkhitaryan (if possible) back because it doesn’t look like we will buy someone in this area of the pitch.

Right Across Sunderland!
Right Across Sunderland!

I gave Luiz an extra point just for doing the ref’s job for him, and running 30 yards to move the ball to its rightful position for Palace’s late free kick.

Shithousery at its finest.

A Different George
A Different George

The funny part was that after all that pushing and grabbing the ball and milling about in a crowd–the ball was placed right where Luiz had wanted. Shithousery vindicated! Having lost Lichsteiner, we needed a new master of the art, and we certainly got him.

Mark
Mark

We are going to need Martinelli to step up in Auba’s absence especially since Lacazette has forgotten how to score.

Ferg
Ferg

And Saka as super sub. So long as Seads ankle doesn’t explode.
I do wonder what Ceballos can do at 10, now we’ve kind of established a semblance of organisation behind him.

PFo
PFo

Arteta said he doesn’t see him as a 10. I would be interested to see him alongside Torreira as a replacement for Xhaka, though. Don’t hate GX, but we need something different in there, someone who can get his head up quicker and receive the ball on the half turn at least some of the time. Clone Santi from about 2016 and the whole team would look a ton better, but in the absence of that technology, we could try coaching Ceballos to play in a similar role. Have no idea if it’d work or not, as I haven’t seen enough of him to know what to think, but it’s worth a shot, not as a replacement for Ozil but in order to help him out with the burden of progressing the ball into the final third. Arsenal’s best teams in the late Wenger era always had at least two players who could create and develop the play in the team at the same time In today’s lineup Mesut was all on his own with that skillset. (Iwobi currently a hugely underrated loss in that regard, but we also never properly replaced Santi, Rosicky, Wilshere, less-wasteful-Alexis, or good-version-of-Ramsey, to say nothing of Per and Kos’s skills passing out of the back).
Also, Torreira’s operating in tight spaces and progressive passing has been sneaky good under Arteta before today, but felt his passing wasn’t quite as sharp or adventurous enough in that first half and it cost us the momentum.

goonshow
goonshow

Absolutely – it’s that quick-footed/-headed ability to laser a pass instantly or alternatively, beat that first presser to create time/space. Santi could do both – and off either foot. Maybe he’d come back for a swansong season?

Huss
Huss

Personally, I’m giving Pepe a 0/10. Not for his overall performance – I thought he did well overall and he has all the makings of being a special player (the whip he puts on the ball is really something)

No, he gets a 0 for depriving us of all the GIFs and memes that would have resulted if he finished that move on Gary Cahill in the first half. He literally killed the mans soul. Alas, the touch was too heavy. Shame.

Jon
Jon

Cp were stomping on feet left and right with no cards and the Zaha push went uncalled yet any time we sniffed at cp we are . called for a foul or get a card.

Seemed like Arteta.didnt have plan B in this one. As soon as they.put us under pressure you knew a goal was coming

Santori
Santori

I can’t say there was a lack of commitment from the team but overall we did not keep up energy levels after the break enough to meet their obvious response coming.

Loss of Torreira also significant. Then of course game altered artificially thanks to Ref and VAR.

1) Leno – Caught out by deflection. OK otherwise.

2) AMN – Thought he has been diligent. potential banana skin day with the tricky Zaha. BUT for one moment he switched off and was robbed off the ball overall OKish. He’s responded well to a third bite of the cherry with Bellerin still nursing injury. This is now his NATURAL POSITION. He’s been at it for 3 seasons plus (Note to pundits)

3) Sokratis – Holding was poor last game. Good to see Sokratis restored back into where he should be. I would not muck about too much with Cbacks if I were Arteta. Its an area barring injury we should keep consistent selection. Like the way he reminded the dirty Ayew what it feels like to be in Greek Prison…

4) Luiz – In general OK. Unlucky for the deflection. Almost turned a corner in for a goal for us. Some good passes from deep some poor ones. one very poor free kick. Again we simply lack better resource so I’d keep consistent pairing if I were Arteta. We need as much understanding between the two backs as possible.

5) Kolasinac – Great going forward first half, real marauding performance we have missed for some time. Not sure what some people like to imagine as “Tierney masterclass” bc we were never that secure with him but Kolasinac will be hugely important for us. As will rotation for him bc he still seems to have a soft ankle. less adventurous second half particularly after Auba (his cover) left and we were down to 10.

6) Torreira- I thought it made a diff when he did not appear for second half. ref did nothing to punish the persistent fouling by Ayew on Torreira. NOTHING. Hope Torreira is OK. As mentioned many times, we do not have sufficient resources in deep midfield. Torreira-Granit pairing is our strongest. Without each other, both have deficiencies the other won’t be around to help cover. Which is why I feel we need to be seriously looking at bringing in one more midfielder to rotate and keep up /maintain energy levels. Experience is important and I’d be keeping tabs on Emre can if I were Sanlehi (but I’m not)

7) Granit – Battling first half. Some good strong moments and enough cunning to win us free kicks here and there. Even in second half was dynamic enough with us down to ten, had a good chance at goal late on but shot was blocked. Maybe could have covered their strike quicker for their goal but really it was more an issue of us as a collective dropping cohesiveness after the break. Some strong passing from range today releasing particularly Auba and Kolasinac on to them very quickly. This is a real weapon for us which is why he is and remains important.

8) Ozil – I thought he tried hard today. Lots of running (even if at times you feel he needs to be more efficient with his pressing) Great ball to release Laca quickly for the goal. Unfortunate we went down to 10 because he was still pulling strings when things were back to even.

9) Auba – Really unfortunate he was sent off. Poor striker’s challenge no malice. No need for VAR and first offense prob a strong yellow would have down. Lack of usual consistency latter cost us with Tomkins double footed sliding uncontrolled lunge only awarded a yellow. With Auba, you have to play to feet with him on the run and he took the goal well. We will now of course miss him for vital forthcoming clash with Chelsea. Thanks VAR.

10) Pepe – Good shot which unfortunately hit the post. But that’s him. He’s on for moments of brilliance but largely tends toward poor fetid performance otherwise. needs to be far more effective for us right now. Some take ons but poor touches here and there. A bit more defensive work today but really half hearted and too far off the player on the ball to stop them. not good enough IMO.

11) Laca – Again battling for us and acting as an important node to launch Ozil and Auba on either side tucked close by. Fantastic read and assist for the goal. A bit thankless once his strike partner went off. Will be doubly important in coming matches. The way he tries to squirrell though in tight confines in the box, his competitiveness is something unrivalled in his position at the moment for us.

12) Guendouzi – Did not think he did anything particularly wrong when coming on, just that Granit and Torreira somehow complement each other slightly better. Maybe its down to a bit more experience. Guendouzi is the player we lump on for added energy (prefer him over Willock) but as mentioned, would think it wise if he reinforced deep midfield with cebellos better suited to rotating higher up with Ozil IMO.

13) Martinelli – Came on to provide the legs. Always a handful. Will be important in coming games without Auba. One good chance but was closed down. Like to see more of him particularly in lieu of Pepe who can be mercurial.

14)Nelson – Also lumped in late on to sustain energy levels. not enough time to make a difference but works hard at the moment.

Ref – Zero consistency.

Gaffer – needs to find a way to put pressure on Sanlehi. This is the problem as he has less clout than Emery, Edu doesn’t carry much weight either in arrangement given both have relatively less track record. BUT unai was too diplomatic.

Sanlehi should be trying to secure us someone like Emre can on loan in midfield. A bit of added experience when/ if Granit or Torreira go out injured (or suspension). Plus the German can cover Cback as well. We need to sustain performances. We’ve been there before with wins against Chelsea late Wenger era followed by 10 game unbeaten runs but only to slump thereafter. Ditto with Unai and win against Spurs followed by drop in performance.

We need focus and determination from players but also enough boots on the ground with the experience and quality needed to maintain energy levels particularly in critical midfield engine room.

Arteta should push for one addition this January (if even on loan) We are still struggling to push upwards over Palace just ahead so far from sufficient room to be complacent at the moment and imagine we are any different from before.

Theoptimist
Theoptimist

Can anyone tell me what Xhaka actually adds to the team? He is reminding me more and more of Denilson. Does he have a killer through ball, quick passing, unstoppable dribbling, an eye for goal, or defensive ability?

No he does not! None of these. He is a poor shadow of Ramsey or Wilshere, who for all their faults at least had something special they could bring to the team, and didn’t bring the energy levels down with negativity.

I hope Arteta sees something I don’t.

Mintoes
Mintoes

Guendouzi 6.5??!! How about 2.5…fucking shite as usual.