Ok, let’s be blunt, that was terrible stuff from Arsenal.
The players didn’t show up. It is unlike them at this stage to not show up. We can’t blame maturity because they’ve been mature enough to be in pole position for top 4 with 10 games to go. We can’t blame skill level, because we know that the team is top 4 level when it comes to talent. We can’t blame desire, because I think it’s fair to say we had better chances than we did in the Villa game.
We didn’t show up in the first half. Key players made really poor errors that made things difficult to fight back. Arsenal didn’t take their chances.
It’s frustrating that when we’re bad, we’re really, really bad. But so goes football.
The big worry for most of us today is less about result, more about what the injuries mean for our season.
Thomas Partey was a 4 out of 10 then had the cheek to go off with the same thigh injury he had last season.
Kieran Tierney had a season-ending injury before the game.
To make matters worse, our deputy left-back had another shocking game, ending in his second halftime sub of the season.
Granit Xhaka was put into left-back. If that’s the solution until the end of the season, I’m not feeling very sexy about our chances of success in the top 4 race.
It’s also worth noting that the top journos are saying Tomiyasu won’t be back until after the Southampton game. So we can’t even rely on Cedric taking on full-back duties on the other side.
There’s a game like this every season when all hope seems to bleed out the system.
This was our moment. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong all within 90 minutes.
The team will either sink at the weekend and we’ll realise that this season was too far, or they’ll do what they’ve done all year… confound misconceptions about where they are as a squad.
Mikel Arteta used strong words after the game, but the tone wasn’t as bad as it was after the Everton game. I think he realises that an arm over the shoulder is going to be better than a spanking paddle. Our players are good enough because look where they are. We need to regroup, show up strong against Brighton, and make sure we cut the Mustafi like errors out the system nice and early.
So much of the Palace result was poor in-game management from the players.
Benny Blanco did not need to make a foul that far out. It was stupid.
Gabriel sliding in for that ball like a lunatic is just a bit dim, he needs to pick that up in the next game.
Odegaard, Bukayo, and ESR simply need to do better when presented with chances like that.
I’m struggling with the immediate snap back to WE SHOULD HAVE SPENT IN JANUARY. If the players were there, we’d have signed them… and they weren’t. Should we talk about Alex Isak and his 4 goals since November? Should we bring up ‘BIGGEST MISS OF THE CENTURY’ Bruno Guimarães who can’t displace Jonjo Shelvey in a midfield that let Spurs abuse them at the weekend? Bodies are only worthwhile if they can contribute. If skill didn’t matter, we’d have kept the players we let go in January. This squad has us where we are now, let’s put faith in them to deliver while we wait for the summer.
Back to the game:
Credit to Arteta for changing things up. I’ve seen chat about ‘no plan B’ and I can’t have it. The original plan would have centered around absorbing their energy, then hitting them in the second half. Our own mistakes that killed plan. Then we changed things up, chased the game by bringing on all our attackers, and we created the right amount of chances… had we taken them. There was a Plan B and a Plan C, it just didn’t work.
The reality is, Palace played well, but they scored 3 goals from 5 shots on target. Nothing rolled for Arsenal and we made their chances easy.
We have to do better.
Brighton at home simply has to be 3 points.
Remember, don’t go too hard at the sad pills, top 4 is still in our hands, we have games to rectify this, we can still do it.