Last night was a performance. It was good in parts and a little bit ropey in others. Whilst I do feel we undoubtedly controlled the game for the greater period of time, we still gave Palace too many chances to get back in to it. Even at 3-1 when all was comfortable, a silly defensive lapse meant we had to endure a nervy last 5 minutes. On the plus side, we didn’t capitulate under pressure once Palace levelled and picked them off on the counter attack extremely well.
It was what I would describe as a typical Arsenal game; we look formidable going forward and always likely to score, but you know we’ll give the opposition a chance at the other end. Even with a back 5 (of sorts) we are susceptible at times and rattled the minute Palace got the crowd on side and applied a bit of pressure. It’s a problem the better teams punish us for. Liverpool (twice), Man United and Man City have all put 3 or more goals past us so far this season.
I don’t think it’s a personnel issue, it’s a tactical issue. Now, I could get into lengthy post about how Arsenal over the last 10-15 years always seem to suffer with defensive problems, but I really can’t be bothered opening that interminable can of worms. It’s a on-going issue and one I’m pretty sure we can all agree on. For all our wonderful attacking verve, it would be nice to see us sh*thouse our way to a scrappy 1-0 win a bit more often.
Of the players, two in particular caught my beady eye with their performances last night. First was Alexis Sanchez, a maligned figure in recent weeks who reminded us that there’s a truly world class, game changing individual behind all the stroppy behaviour. When I posted yesterday, I was pretty happy at the thought of letting him go. That hasn’t changed especially today as I still think it’s the best thing to do if he’s unhappy here, but I certainly will miss the kind of performance he put in at Selhurst Park.
The cynical amongst you might assume he’s doing so to put himself into a shop window. There’s probably an element of truth to that. We have an important decision to make in January whether we attempt to recoup a little money or almost certainly see him leave in the summer of 2018 for nothing. If he plays like he did last night for the remainder of the season, then we stand a better chance of obtaining 4th or winning a trophy. However, if he wants to leave, he won’t be 100% invested in playing for Arsenal and we shouldn’t accept that of anyone who wears the shirt. It’s a tough call to make and one for which Arsene is totally at fault. It is poor management to allow both Alexis and Ozil to run their contracts down.
(On the subject of Mesut Ozil, I’m inclined to think he will actually stay)
The other player to catch my eye was Jack Wilshere. Jack is beginning to look like a man finding some form and a continued run in the team is only going to help. Talent and application have never been Jack’s failing; injuries have scuppered his career. There was a point last year in which I was sure we’d never see him in an Arsenal shirt again. Last night was his best performance in a while; intelligent on the ball, determined and showcased that he has an excellent range of passing. His assist for Alexis’ 2nd of the night was nothing short of glorious.
What will happen when Aaron Ramsey returns is any one’s guess. I would assume he’ll reclaim his place alongside Xhaka, Part of me still believes that the Wilshere/Ramsey axis is the way to go, but examples of that partnership working are too few and far between – due mainly to the lack of opportunity to play together. Above all else, I hope Wilshere and Arsenal reach an agreement to extend his contract as he is another of our players who is too good to allow to leave for peanuts. Jack is an excellent option to have.
That’s all from me today, folks. I shall return sooner rather than later. For now, drop me a comment below.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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