I’ve just this minute finished watching the game. Sweet Lord almighty, Michael Owen is a terrible pundit. With a personality about as engaging as sullied tissue paper and opinions as accurate as a one-legged drunken man wearing a blindfold is competing in a darts event, enduring his constant babble on the commentary was a painful experience.
The game in it’s entirety was similar. Far rom vintage Arsenal, we dug out a result against a determined and well organised Palace side. A team that finds that ‘extra yard’ after the dismissal of their manager is one of football’s oldest clichés. It’s also one of the more accurate, and I did have those unmistakable pangs of terror before kick-off. Buoyed buy a vociferous home support, after initially surviving Arsenal’s opening bout of comfortable possession, Palace grew into the game and looked threatening from dead-ball situations.
Yet, as the best teams do when under the weather, we dealt with it, and even when we went down to 10 men I thought there was plenty of desire and ability on the pitch to close the game out. The decision that lead to our reduction in numbers was an odd one. Arteta tumbled Chamakh over a good 50-60 yards from goal with our ex-striker still having plenty to do if he got free. Was it a foul? Maybe, it certainly looked more like a coming together than a intentional action on Arteta’s part. Was it a clear goal scoring opportunity? Not in my book. Chamakh’s touch had him heading toward the corner flag, and I’m pretty certain those rushing back from the previous attack would have been able to put a challenge in before he got to goal.
Arteta, having converted the penalty to put us in front, got his marching orders and Arsenal had to dig in and soak up some pressure. Our hosts only really threatened twice in the space of a minute and both chances brought world-class saves from Szczsney – the second to turn the ball over the bar was a magnificent example of his reflexes and agility.
We stuck to the task in defence and Sagna especially stood out in an organised and resolute performance from our back 5. Ramsey and Giroud combined nicely to put the game to bed a few minutes from time. All in all, the quality of the performance certainly wasn’t the heights of which the team are capable, but it was good in the respect we obtained 3 points, and you can’t really ask for more than that. Greater tests head our way in the next few weeks, and winning today, regardless of how, was a good way to prepare.
Losing The Flame so early in the match didn’t help. A great deal has been made of his influence on the team recently. I don’t need to tell you how much I love The Flame, and we did miss him when he left. The extent of his groin problem is as-yet unknown, but I hope it isn’t serious. He probably won’t feature against Chelsea on Tuesday, so he has a week to recover. Hopefully, his withdrawal was merely precautionary.
Elsewhere in the team, both Giroud and Ozil looked a little below par by the high standards they’ve set for themselves. I’m certainly not sniping at them, but perhaps it’s not unfair to expect a little more. No player can perform at his peak in every game, so I shall hope they are both saving themselves for future matches.
Of course, that’s mainly just my observational nit-picking, and far from a damning denunciation of either player. I’m a huge fan of both.
Sitting (at the time of writing) 5 points clear at the summit of the Premiership is a lovely place to be. We can’t really ask for more, and overly petulant criticisms of the team now would be hugely unwarranted, but I’m sure will appear anyway. Twitter folks love to ccomplain. I’m happy with the result today, and looking to the future. We are plodding along nicely, and can play much better. Good stuff.
That’s all for today, folks. Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on the game. Happy with the win? Did you feel the score could have been more comprehensive had we performed better? who was your MOTM? Let me know.
As always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.