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Arsenal Versus Palace: Much Ado About Nothing

fireworks

Firstly allow me to apologise for the late post this morning. You can thank my neighbours who felt it appropriate to detonate explosives at midnight to celebrate one day turning into another. Maybe on June 18th I’ll go smash all the windows in their cars at 3 am. It is after all a special day for me and I like the sound of car alarms. Anyone who complains will get a sarcastic ‘Happy June 18th’ and be accused of being a miserable party pooper.

Anyway I finally calmed the hysterical pets and got back to some sort of fitful sleep many hours later, but then the alarm summoned me to my duty and so here I am. A glance at the Arsenal club website tells me we host Crystal Palace at four o’clock this afternoon. I can only hope our players got a better night’s sleep than I did and that the ‘few flu’ cases Arsène mentioned en passent in his press briefing are not in fact anything quite so serious.

Brushed over in the discussion of injuries this was in fact the most worrying of all. Flu is very different from a nasty cold despite the two often being conflated. I know, I’ve had it and you can barely lift your head from the pillow. A friend once described being so drained of motivation and energy that if you’d told him there was a million pounds outside his bedroom door he would not have bothered crossing the room to check.

I well remember the team being utterly debilitated by a bug prior to a visit to Old Trafford and can only pray we don’t see a recurrence today. Apart from anything else it is the relentless nature of this team, the famous spirit Arsène always praises, which wins so many games. Despite the sneering after the Man City defeat, the ludicrous suggestion that the players didn’t try, or want it enough, the facts are that Arsenal wins more matches in the final five minutes of a contest than any other side.

It is possible that the tactical blanket employed by many of our opponents contributes to this statistic. When prising open two lines of five and an unusually inspired keeper, you have to tease, and press, and cajole them out of shape. You can’t move the ball more quickly forward because you are playing most of the game in an attacking position already. Instead you need to move it sideways, dart forward, step back, try to winkle an opening. This is a game of long, drawn out siege football and usually pays dividends but often takes time. The defenders are sharper, fresher and less likely to lose discipline early in the match.

If we contrive an early goal there is often a flurry of activity, a passage of stormy play to navigate as the opposition strive to get back into the game and we shift gears into control mode. Sometimes we don’t do this as well as we might hope, other times we get a second and the players relax and have fun. It’s not an exact science, it can go either way. Without that breakthrough we end up with an attritional war and for fans that isn’t easy to take.

I watched my nephew wilt as we slowly picked West Brom’s lock last week. I heard his optimism and enthusiasm erode to the point where he would have been happy for me to turn off the match and play some Minesweeper videos on Youtube instead. It made me realise that those awful tweets and forum comments you read when watching this kind of match are actually quite understandable.

For very young children and those with limited cognitive powers it isn’t easy to mask  disappointment. After all we all watch for entertainment don’t we? If we aren’t being entertained then we feel let down. If the careful, patient application of pressure doesn’t thrill supporters then it’s inevitable that some will vent their frustration. The only reason we don’t do that here isn’t because we’re necessarily any more intelligent or insightful than other people it’s because we try harder.

We want this to be a haven of positive encouragement and mutual support not just another place where people can show off their waspish, sniping skills. We could also gain something by understanding those who feel less of an urge to mask their exasperation. In fact at this time of resolutions I am going to try to do just that. I resolve not to get angry with those who give voice to their anguish when life doesn’t go their way. I may wish for a world where all fans become more rather than less supportive when the team is struggling but that isn’t the world I live in and so I need to adjust.

I don’t expect it to be easy but I’m going to try. All supporters who want the best for the team regardless of how they express it are effectively on the same side. Those who wish ill on the manager and players are not included. Oh, and neither are people who set off fireworks in the middle of the night in response to the whims of Pope Gregory XIII. They can go shove their heads up a dead bear’s bum.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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99 comments on “Arsenal Versus Palace: Much Ado About Nothing

  1. Alex Iwobi with the 2nd.
    Deserved.

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  2. iwobiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii with a header after some ping pong around the area

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  3. IWOBIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

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  4. All began with Giroud’s pressing

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  5. if iwobi is not awarded that goal, then the record books need to be rewritten and half of frank lampard’s goals taken from him.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. palace have gone close a couple of times now

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  7. Great from Cech to get back from his punch and make that save.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. need to step it up again, since we got the second goal we have let palace take the upper hand.

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  9. iwobi has been awarded the goal, sense prevails

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  10. Coquelin on for Elneny and Ramsey on for Lucas, about 20 minutes to go.

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  11. Oxlade-chamberlain on for iwobi, about 15 minutes left

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  12. Some pass from Xhaka.

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  13. Hector’s covered some grass today hasn’t he?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Palace’s goal has a spell on it.

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  15. As comprehensive a 2 – 0 as you could hope to see.

    Liked by 6 people

  16. FT: Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace

    dominated the game, Giroud with a wonder goal set us on our way, iwobi with a rare headed goal for our second.
    top performers all round, cech with a couple of good saves, bellerin and monreal played more like wingers than full backs, gabriel and kos in full control. Xhaka showed his passing range, and elneny worked hard. Lucas, alexis, iwobi and giroud caused palace all sorts of problems, and our subs all slotted in very well too.

    comprehensive display.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. already seeing arsenal fans complaining that it was a disappointing performance, that we should have scored way more, lacked killer instinct.

    ah we don’t even play good football anymore.

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  18. half way point in the season, arsenal are 3rd, pts off top.

    Tom Gordon ‏@GoonerGordo 3m3 minutes ago
    The two teams that spent the most in the summer and who apparently have the two best managers, are 5th and 6th in the table.

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  19. Comfortable. Would have liked more goals. I am a greedy bastard. At least two more were deserved.

    My refrain: Giroud only scores world class goals.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Excellent performance, stunning goal, a healthy position for this time of year, only three points behind one of the greatest EPL teams of all time if some of the media analysis is correct. Strange, no Mancs in the top 4 at half way.
    Annoyingly, most of the other rivals keep winning, but IF we can defeat Bournemouth, and a big capital version of IF with silly scheduling, will be good to watch at least one team drop points in the WOB derby on wed.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. 40 points at half way stage is good work, bad decisions at Everton and City mean we could have had a point or two more.
    Our rivals will soon have to begin to cancel each other out.

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  22. Chelsea have Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal coming up, the 9 point gap to us might be pulled back.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m still speechless about that goal! What a way to start 2017. C’est manifique

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Giroud is clearly the leading ‘target man’ about at the moment IMO and has been for a little while (Ibrah is past his peak)

    All round sensational performance from the big lump.

    Great saves from the Welsh keeper especially in the second half.
    Twice the crossbar helped to beat the ‘keeper! Could have been more but you won’t see many better goals then the first. Amazing.


    And yes a hoof performance from the official. Better, confident, body language, competent calls without any aggressive bias against anyone, I guess he was hungover!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Wishing Tim & family, and everyone else, a very happy new year.
    Best wishes to you all.

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  26. Xhaka finding his range. Lovely passing through and over the lines.
    A good combination with Elneny today.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. I don’t know how to describe the subtle differences between how West Brom and Palace set up because I don’t really know what they were. Perhaps the only difference was the early goal?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. switches on bbc 606, hears the obnoxious chris sutton, turns off bbc 606

    Liked by 2 people

  29. so its bye bye eleney, for maybe our next 7 or 8 games, he joins up with the Egypt squad tomorrow for the ACN

    Liked by 1 person

  30. gunnerblog ‏@gunnerblog 48m48 minutes ago
    AW: “What is maybe not acknowledged enough is that Olivier scores important goals.”

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  31. gunnerblog ‏@gunnerblog 51m51 minutes ago
    AW: “Iwobi is always available, he is quick. His quality of pass is exceptional for a boy his age. In training he starts to score goals.”

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  32. now this might just be a mad thought, but could Iwobi be the man to eventually take on the Cazorla role in our team, he is good at taking the ball under pressure, he has good passing range, he has good vision,

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  33. Big Fat Sam’s impressive record v Wenger

    Played 29

    Won 4

    Drew 7

    Lost 18

    now which part of that record makes it impressive, is it that those 18 losses for fat sam has come with six different clubs, or maybe its just another one of those media myths, and the record is actually shit.

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  34. Premier League ‏@premierleague 1h1 hour ago
    “It’s the best Arsenal goal I’ve ever seen, the most beautiful goal an Arsenal player has ever scored” – @IanWright0 on Giroud’s goal

    Liked by 3 people

  35. WHY IWOBI WILL SCORE MORE GOALS NOW

    Arsène Wenger has a happy man on Sunday after his side kicked off 2017 in style with a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace.
    The boss faced the press afterwards, and much of the conversation understandably centred on Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick goal.

    However, Wenger was also keen to single out Alex Iwobi for praise after his goal and also discussed the side’s overall performance:

    on a happy start to 2017…
    I felt we had a dynamic game where we had a good balance between possession and movement of the ball. Overall it was an interesting game to watch because we played football, and that’s what we try to do. I said on Friday that it’s important to deliver good quality in games, and that we at least try to [do that]. Overall, I think today was an interesting game to watch because two teams tried to play and overall I felt that we always looked dangerous. The only frustration I have is that we didn’t kill the game off quickly enough. Even when it gets to 1-0 or 2-0 against a team like Palace, you are always under threat and we had a bit of a dodgy moment on corners, where Benteke was dangerous.

    on Iwobi’s performance…
    I believe he is always available, quick in his movement, wants the ball, can hold people off. People forget he’s 20 years old. I think he had a very good game – on top of that, now he starts to score goals. His quality of pass, of availability, is exceptional for a young boy. He lacked a bit of quality of [receptiveness] in dangerous areas and I hope that these goals he scores now will give him the taste as well to go where he can finish it off. There are always signs when a guy starts to score goals in training that they’ll come in games, and he has that. Now in training he starts to score goals. I’m sure he will score as well in the games.

    on team being creative even without Mesut Ozil…
    I agree, I felt we had a good balance today between possession and movement off the ball and our movement behind their defenders. And I must say as well, Granit Xhaka had an exceptional distribution on long balls, short balls and he is looking more confident as well and has more weight in our game.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170101/why-iwobi-will-score-more-goals-now#g0Rrb00eQIJHgM4i.99

    Liked by 1 person

  36. WENGER – MY TOP-FIVE ARSENAL GOALS

    Arsène Wenger was as amazed as anyone by the “exceptional’ scorpion kick Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.
    But where does it rank in terms of the very best Arsenal goals he has witnessed in his 20 years at the club?

    The boss revealed all in his post-match press conference and this is what he said:

    on how highly Giroud’s goal ranks…
    I don’t know – I’ve been spoilt in my career, because I’ve had many great players and many great strikers. That is certainly in the top five.

    on his top-five Arsenal goals…
    I remember Bergkamp, Henry… these special goals, you know. Bergkamp at Leicester, at Newcastle. Thierry Henry against Real Madrid, against Liverpool – these kind of goals. Kanu at Chelsea! It’s difficult for me not to forget goals in 20 years, when you score about 70/80 per year. By 20 [years] makes 1,600 goals – it’s difficult in a second to get the best five.

    on whether the importance of the game elevates a great goal…
    Of course. When it’s 0-0 you want to start. What is maybe not enough acknowledged by people, maybe even by me, is that Olivier scores important goals. He scores at Man United with a special header this season to make it 1-1, he scores against West Brom in the 87th minute. He scores goals that have a weight in the result of the team.

    on Giroud’s goal…
    You cannot work on that in training. It’s just a reflex. I think it was an exceptional goal because it was at the end of a fantastic collective moment, which is what our game is about. After that, it was a reflex that any goalscorer is able to take any part of his body, even if it is a little toe, to score a goal. I think Olivier had that kind of reflex. He transformed that goal into art – because of the surprise, because of the beauty of the movement and because of the efficiency. That will be remembered as the Giroud goal that nobody will forget. Every striker is certainly remembered for one, two or three special goals – and that will certainly be with him forever.

    on how special the goal was…
    He brings the unexpected, and we all come to football to get the unexpected. People come to the games to see these kind of goals, yes.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170101/wenger-my-top-five-arsenal-goals#Wxl6otGr6tMTrbUg.99

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Some of Iwobi’s breakthrough performances came at no.10 most notably at the Nou Camp.

    I guess that like Cazorla and others that he’ll make a switch to play more in CM later in his career? A little bit of height, helpful today, he’s an interesting prospect to say the least!

    AW said the pass and move was better today then against West Brum. Also, watching the first goal again (& again) they were caught on the counter. to me in the opening exchanges it seemed that Palace were more slightly ambitious then the previous visitors had been though later in the half they had adopted or been pushed back into what some call a defensive block (?).

    Xhaka starting to find his groove? Haven’t checked any stats, lots of attempts to find Alexis with a variety of long range efforts but excitingly not just the No.7 or to the left side areas.

    Gabriel perhaps better suited to pocketing Benteke then Mustafi? An impressive game for him I thought, the skipper as useful terrifyingly good. Both FBs understandly a little fatigued towards the end after running the flanks for most of the match, a shame that Gibbs is out probably out for the next match.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I’m sure the boss is planning squad rotation for the trip to Bournmouth.
    Not sure anyone who played today deserves to be dropped however.
    Elneny is of to AFrian nations cup for a month now, which is a buggery.
    Expect Aaron and Coq to come in, maybe Ox f or Alexis, Ozil if he’s recovered for Iwobi. Plenty more rotation next weekend too.

    Liked by 5 people

  39. Monday bank holiday games:
    I can’t see beyond a big win for Liverpool at Sunderland
    West Ham might test Manu ‘s lucky streak, and Burnley going to the Ethihad might be tricky for City to break down.

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  40. Axel Witsel the latest big name player to move to china

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  41. How far did Giroud sprint, cross and not just upfield following his spinning flick to get ahead of the cross from Alexis and nearly in line with the last defender?

    He was pumping so hard he had to send up the periscope for extra oxygen mid-sprint! The length and speed (he doesn’t have the acceleration but once he gets into his berserker charge…) of his run makes the finish even more incredible.

    Liked by 5 people

  42. Squawka FootballVerified account
    ‏@Squawka
    Alex Iwobi’s game by numbers vs. Crystal Palace:

    89% pass accuracy
    3 chances created
    3 shots
    1 tackle won
    1 goal

    Mature performance.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. Calum ‏@CalArsenal 4h4 hours ago
    2013: Wilshere v Norwich ⚽️
    2014: Ramsey v Galatasaray ⚽️
    2015: Alexis V Villa ⚽️
    2016: Özil v Ludogorets ⚽️
    2017: Giroud v Palace ⚽️
    #afc

    Liked by 2 people

  44. The Arsenal CBs handled Benteke & Rondon with some skill, loosing Benteke for that headed chance the one stand out error from both matches?

    Happy that Pulis predictably chose to start Rondon over Kanu (if fitness was not an issue). West Brom stronger in defence then Palace as shown in their matches away to Arsenal and Chelsea (ignoring the time wasting and injury feigning!), I also thought that Palace were slightly more ambitious then West Brom.

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  45. AW on Jan: “We have a big squad – look at the players not involved today. But if you give me an address of something special, I’ll listen.”

    Liked by 1 person

  46. New post up

    Like

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