Good afternoon Positives,
Two points less than I was hoping for but on the balance of play between the teams a fair result. I had been hoping for a sharp start from us but it was Palace who came at us in the opening stages and but for some good defending from Shkodran and wayward finishing by Tottie reject Townsend we might have been behind. I thought we resisted well but were far below the required standard once we got the ball over the half way line in the first 45. We could not string two passes together. I think Hector had one shot that was blocked, after which he was hobbling, but Hennessy had a v quiet half.
The first penalty ? We were almost at the half time whistle and our concentration dropped. Panic in the box from a corner for the first and only time all afternoon. Clumsy from Mustafi as he clattered into Coyote but not much he could do about it as the ball was bouncing free.
And then, dear reader, as happens game after game and week after week, we sprung into life after the break and hit then with the old 1-2. If I had any idea why we play football this way and the first and second halves don’t fit I would write it down. I expect Unai would say the same. For the only time n the afternoon we took control of the game for 10 minutes.
Lovely strike from Xhaka then our turn to cause panic in the Palace box before PEA slipped in the second goal from a loose, spinning ball. The Man from Gabon thought a split second faster than his marker and that difference meant his foot go to the ball first. Nine millimetres over the line ? Fine margins but top, top quality finishing.
I expected ghat, having got in front and being in control at the time, we would carry on and get a third but Palace refused to follow the script. The home side surged forward and while Bernd did not have a serious save to make the ball was pinging around the Arsenal penalty box erratically. It was not smooth from us at all. When we did break with the ball and cross the half way line our close control and choice of passes was wayward. At no time did we ever look like adding to our goal tally, which in the end did for us.
Fair play to Hodgson – Palace have one player capable of turning a game on his own and that is Zaha who had given first Hector then Stephan a difficult time, “Get the ball to Willfweed’s feet lads” Woy yelled and lo and behold he did the proverbial trick. Couple of stepovers, Granit backed into the box, slightest of touches and over he goes. Cheating, cheating, cheating bastard. But hey ho. They probably deserved a point. We have sustained a mild setback, nothing more. Re-group, learn, move on.
My Man of the Match is Granit. At times I could see him looking over at Emery during the first half and mouthing silently “OI – BOSS – I – AM – NOT- A – LEFT- BACK”. Despite the Swiss’s obvious discomfort he did a good job on Townsend and, even with Zaha’s theatrics, had a good afternoon in a position that he clearly is not comfortable in. Add to that a superb free kick for the equalizing goal and this week the laurel wreath is yours.
Blackpool midweek and a really attractive contest between Klopp’s men and our lads to kick off next Saturday late afternoon. We shall need all our energy and guile to earn the victory.
Enjoy what is left of Sunday.