Good morning Positivistas,
I trust this Monday morning finds you bouncing happily into the new week, seven days of opportunity with Spring emerging all around us. I feel quite chipper myself, as you can probably tell.
I had a good day out yesterday. Good company, good weather, good food, good football, even the railway functioned for once to the specification set out in the schedule, so there was very little to lower my mood.
Of the game itself we dominated, scored once and should have scored more. Very nice goal by the way, clever from Danny and Alexis, a real ‘pick-the-lock’ strike. We did not however trouble the scorer again and a speculative shot from Bolassie in the 79th transformed a decent performance against a solid Palace side into the draw. As we know any Arsenal result, W, L or D, has the nutcases of both wings of the social media civil war reaching for their expletives and last night did not disappoint in that regard. Twitter hummed with indignation, the Scarfists howled with righteous fury. Was it ever thus ?
I thought we played well. I was particularly impressed with my current favourite player Mo Elneny who has slotted in beautifully in the box to box midfielder role. Even in the few weeks he has been in first team action his tackling is more crisper and his positional sense better. There is no evidence I have seen that Mo succumbs to the traditional complaint of players who join from Euro clubs that they struggle with the intensity of the EPL game or to last 90 minutes. Irrespective of which players return to fitness over the next few days I think Arsene will be reluctant to take our Egyptian out of the firing line.
Elsewhere on the pitch I would be hard pushed to pick out any outstanding performer for AFC, or to identify anyone who had a noticeably poor day. Everyone was 6 or 7/10. My impression on a few occasions yesterday was that our possession game worked well to the edge of the Palace box. We passed round the visitors, the players used their speed and guile to get us into the area in which their goal could be put under threat …………………………… But then we sort of “stopped”, took a breath, hesitated, checked our progress, I don’t quite know how to describe it, but in that half second the momentum of the move expired. The next ball was never quite the right one, the pass went astray, a defender got their head in the way etc. We seemed to lack confidence to press with no break in the fluidity of our movement. I would be interested if the ProZone monitoring and stats can pick that kind of subtle change (or whether it is just in my head) ?
I thought Hector looked tired and in need of a rest. He was not running with the ball as he has been, and his crossing radar was awry. I thought Olivier looked frustrated to not get on earlier and he certainly looked busy in the 20 minutes he had. I expect at least those two to change on Thursday. And will Aaron step in for Alex Iwobi against the Baggies ?
And last but not L’East even Roger, not one of the PL’s finest in my view, had a good game. I know, I know, it is an addiction on my part.
Palace celebrated at the end the point that I suspect makes it mathematically impossible for them to drop. In fact they did OK, “disciplined” is the best word. I was impressed with Zaha and his final 20 minute contribution. I would like to see that sort of contribution from Theo and/or Joel. I am not quite sure why Theo is first choice over the Costa Rican at the moment from the bench.
Onwards to West Bromwich Albion and a Thursday game – Thursday! – most odd. Another club with no real requirement to turn in a good performance at the Ems but Pulis is a professional and he will send a side out to compete.
Now get out there and give Monday hell.
* and thank you to Ian/Gf60 for the extraordinary picture today !