Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Arsenal
After a sucker-punch loss at home to Borrussia Dortmund, Arsenal looked to get back to winning ways as they travelled to Crystal Palace, to face a side who were struggling to cope with life in the Premier League.[quote_right]”[Despite Arsenal’s possession] Palace were knocking at the door, creating a feeling that this could well be, “One of Those Days” for The Gunners…”[/quote_right]
The Gunners started the game in charge, but were keeping it relaxed at the same time.
It typical fashion, Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey and Ozil all did their part to keep the ball moving, safeguarding it from the Palace midfield. Unfortunately, Arsenal’s flow was disrupted after Matieu Flamini suffered an injury yet again, forcing Wenger to replace him with Gnabry in the ninth minute.
As the game went on, The Eagles began to make some noise. Arsenal’s possession had come to nothing, and so Palace took their opportunity to come forward with the ball, causing issues for The Gunners’ defence and goalkeeper.
Arsenal continued to keep the ball well, yet Palace were still to knocking at the door, creating a feeling that this could well be, “One of Those Days” for The Gunners.
To top it all off, Serge Gnabry was fouled just inside the penalty area minutes from half time. The referee however, believed that the foul had been committed outside the box, contrary to video replays.
The first half eventually came to an end, with Arsenal on top in terms of possession, but not without some genuine issues to worry about.
It took Gnabry just two minutes to cause Palace problems once again, this time drawing a rash tackle inside the area, resulting in a penalty. Mikel Arteta stepped up, and smashed it hard into the side of the net. It was a great penalty.
Unfortunately, it was all down hill from there. Following an Arsenal corner in the sixty-fifth minute, the game took a ghastly turn.[quote_left]”Perhaps the most alarming thing about the scenario, was that the entire Arsenal team – bar Szczesney, had been in Palace’s half for a corner. Truly ridiculous.”[/quote_left]
Crystal Palace played an easy ball through to Chamakh, who was only trailed by Arteta in the Arsenal half. The two players came together as Arteta challenged, and the whistle blew. Arteta was, rather unbelievably, the last man. It was a straight red card.
Perhaps the most alarming thing about the scenario, was that the entire Arsenal team – bar Szczesney, had been in Palace’s half for a corner. Truly ridiculous.
The rest of the game was a battle. Palace had an array of chances, but Szczesney pulled off some fantastic saves, whilst Koscielny was keeping Arsenal’s defence in tact.
As the clock wound down, a Palace equalizer seemed likely. Arsenal needed to dig deep, and that’s exactly what they did.
In the eighty-seventh minute, Aaron Ramsey made a good run into the box, delayed his pass, and flicked the ball beautifully into the path of Giroud’s run. The big Frenchman headed with ease, putting Arsenal two up.
The whistle soon blew, and in all fairness – Palace had been robbed. How excellent.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Made two wonderful saves in under ten seconds to deny Palace few minutes before Giroud made it 2-0. Looked confident and solid throughout the game.
Bacary was up and down the wings all game, trying his best to create and aid Gnabry as much as he could. Put in one or two good crosses, and battled well in defence. No idea where he was when Arteta was covering the defence for the sending off though.
Per had a bit of a mixed game. He made some good tackles, but was also beaten a few times throughout the match. He looked tired, and I was surprised that he wasn’t rested, especially as Vermaelen waits on the bench.
Galvanised the defence with his confidence and aggression when Arteta was sent off, and tackled back brilliantly at times. He kept Chamakh at bay whenever the Moroccan tried to create trouble too.
Kieran defended excellently all game, and got himself forward with purpose, helping Arsenal to get in behind the back four. He really gave us an outlet in the later stages of the game, as the pressure mounted. However, Gibbs also went missing in the build up to Arteta’s sending off.
The game had hardly began when Flamini went off injured in the eighth minute. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
Mikel’s first half was typical of him, keeping the ball moving, and putting in challenges where necessary especially after Flamini was subbed off. His penalty was also fantastic. But, the red card will of course tarnish his performance, perhaps unfairly so. As I previously mentioned, Arsenal’s defensive set up for their corner was atrocious. Not one defender had remained back, leaving Arteta to single-handedly track Palace’s counter-attack.
Once again, Ozil looked tired, and I’m surprised he didn’t start this game from the bench. Although, he still showed some beautiful touches and passes, and held on to the ball with ease under pressure. A class act, despite his energy levels being visibly low.
Ramsey: [8.5/10] -MOTM
Showed some spectacular touches, and was full of energy from start to finish. He misplaced a pass or two in the second half, but capped his steady performance with a truly delightful flicked pass for Giroud’s header.
Santi was energetic, helping Arsenal to keep the ball in tight situations. His passing was measured, and he looked to be back to full fitness. Let’s hope we can see some more flair from him in coming weeks.
Olivier was pretty poor all game. Much like Mertesacker and Ozil, he too clearly needed a rest. His first touch was off, his passing was lacking accuracy, and his off the ball movement was almost non-existent. Not like Giroud at all. Yet, he made a great run for his goal, and finished confidently.
Serge was up for it. He made intelligent runs off the ball, ad got himself into dangerous positions. Twice he drew fouls inside the box, with the second one resulting in the penalty. Great to have such a lively winger in the squad.
Came on to provide some defensive stability, but ended up almost scoring instead. A mazy run and close range shot almost resulted in Arsenal’s second goal.
Jack was not at full fitness, but he did his job. He held on to the ball well,and shielded the Arsenal defence with his positioning and space-making touches.
[title]Robbing The Palace[/title]
To be fair, Arsenal didn’t really deserve to win that game. But that should be something to celebrate.
Trophy winners win trophies because they win games, even when they are playing badly. And today, Arsenal proved that they too can do that, even with ten men. Palace put up a stern fight, but good goalkeeping, followed by confidence going forward, sealed the win.
We robbed them. Not via poor refereeing or dirty tactics, but through sheer determination and grit, despite their very good performance. More of the same please, Arsenal.
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