Good day one and all.
Arsenal is hosting Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon for their Premier League clash. This followed having avoided a Europa defeat against Vitória Guimarães after a shock loss to Sheffield on Monday night. Yes, it’s been quite a week.
The tale of Arsenal under Unai Emery has been consistent; flawed ‘build from the back’ style, lack of cutting edge and creativity despite the quality in our squad, with individual brilliance too often having to save the day. For a while the Cup games have offered fans an escape, but from the midweek game it seems that thrifty approach may have crept in there too. If we are honest, this week has been particularly damaging for Emery because it was expected of the Gunners to win both games at a canter. And one can’t help but feel if things continue this way the Spaniard may get called in for an inquisition.
Bit of good news now is that we got our first-choice front three all back. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had to carry the bulk of the attacking burden as Nicolas Pépé, who had no pre-season, still got to grips with the league and Alexandre Lacazette absent due to an ankle injury. With Pépé now having his shot of confidence with those two cracking free-kicks and Lacazette rid of most of the rust, it will be expected of Emery to coax better performances out of a very talented crop of players, especially with us now chasing down a top-four spot.
Roy Hodgson’s Eagles have ruffled some feathers at their nest this campaign with just one defeat in five, however, on the road they’ve been a bit patchy; two wins and two losses from four outings. With one of those wins at Old Trafford. I know, not all that surprising. And they’re 6th on the league table.
Nobody can deny that Crystal Palace has come a long way, at least no Gooner. The last five meetings between these sides the Gunners have only beaten them twice. Last season they took five points off of us and surely the Hodge must fancy their chances again, especially looking at our current form, or lack thereof, and defensive uncertainties.
Where are the days when this used to be a straight forward fixture?
We got Liverpool coming up on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup so Emery is expected to play his ‘league team’ to keep most of those that started vs Vitória fresh for that one.
Despite losing only twice all season the Gunners has been far from convincing. So this could be one of those tight ‘both teams to score’ matches, with Arsenal just doing enough for all three points. COYG!