Arsenal 2 – 0 Crystal Palace. Wahey! Gunners hotdogs. Transfer turd sandwiches

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For some reason I told Pedro I’d write the match report which means my Sunday night/Monday morning has been considerably less relaxing than normal. Thanks a lot guys, no really thanks.

All the talk pre-game was of our exciting new signing Kim Kallstrom and we couldn’t wait to see him make his deb…. wait… what. Oh injured? Already? Oh so he’s gone back to Sweden. Right… #getwellsoonKim.

Anyway…

Tony Ballboy and his team of wonderous warlocks feloped (not a real word) into town for our late Sunday kick off. I’ve no idea why we got the late Sunday kick off; Arsenal v Palace is hardly a classic, but the footballing gods work in mysterious ways. The timing meant the crowd was especially tired/hungover and in fact was probably the quietest it has been for a long time. Contrast this with the Palace fans who were absolutely fantastic – rivalling Dortmund fans in terms of their noise and Fenerbache fans in terms of their doomed optimism. Seriously they were a noisy bunch, right to the end. They even had a catchy song for our old friend Maroune to the tune of ‘Hey Baby’ which is considerably better than the piss poor ‘Chamakh Chamakh Chamakh’ we mustered when he played for us.

The ground was unbelievably flat in the first half, partly because we were playing Crystal Palace but partly because barely anything of note happened. Chamakh cruyff turned Koscielny. Cazorla beautifully controlled a pass with the outside of his boot and um… well that was about it. It wasn’t until Ozil’s dinked free kick in the 35th minute forced a good save from their keeper that the screens inside the stadium even had a replay to show.

Desperately dull first halves are becoming such a regular occurrence these days that I’m wondering if it isn’t some brilliant tactical ploy from Arsene to lull teams into a dream like state in the first half, before we blitz them for 20 minutes in the second half. I’m not complaining because it seems to work but it seems to be happening more and more often.

In fact, the first half was so dull that I committed the cardinal sin of leaving my seat early to go and get some food and a drink. It gave me time to consider the catering options available to your average match going fan (ie not club level). There’s hot dogs and chicken burgers, pretty standard fare. But there is also a diabolical looking bratwurst which Pedro wonderfully described as looking like a hotdog with gout. There’s also the “Gunners hotdog” which is exactly the same as a normal hotdog expect more expensive and covered in bbq sauce and coleslaw. Coleslaw? On a hotdog? I saw a child eating one and wept for humankind. The other great thing about catering at the Emirates is the careful and painstaking way members of staff go about their business. Absolutely no rushing or sense of urgency means you’re almost certain to miss the start of the second half as they carefully count out your change in coppers. No disrespect to them I know it is a thankless job having thousands of football fans descending on you for 15 minutes for a pint, but the whole operation is pretty shabby and you have to think a world class stadium could get a better catering set up than the one we currently have. Why not sell Piebury Corner pies in there? Help out a local business and save people having to eat hotdogs with bbq and coleslaw on them. Why not use seasons tickets like Oyster cards, so people can buy food and drink on them and then don’t have to count out change? At least the Bovril is on the money.

The second half was much more exciting as Cazorla came into the game. It was the little Spaniard who carved an opening as he drifted in from the left kept his head up and perfectly picked out Oxlade-Chamberlain’s run into the box. The OX was able to control it with his first touch and dink it over the keeper with the second. Bang. While Santi’s pass was Fabregasesque in its brilliance, it was Chamberlain’s run that really impressed me. It’s those driving, perfectly-timed runs from midfield that made the Invincibles so deadly, and its those runs that have seen Aaron Ramsey be so effective this year. Let’s hope the OX can replicate some of that.

Palace nearly equalised immediately after when Monreal fell asleep and a Palace striker found himself unmarked at the back post. Thankfully SZCZ made a brilliant save, continuing his fine form in the goal hole.

Arsenal’s second came a few moments later, again with the OX at the heart of it. He cleverly backheeled Rosicky’s pass and ran into space as Giroud – who had been pretty anonymous until that point – held the ball up well then found his run perfectly. The OX took the ball in his stride, cut inside and blasted the ball past the Palace keeper. 2-0 and good night.

There was just time for Podolski to get subbed off on 70 mins and that, as they say, was that. So concluding thoughts:

Bad transfer window
I want to have my two pennies on this. Let me start by saying I have no inside info on anything at the club so I am talking from the point of view of a confused, rambling fan. I know even less about Kim Kallstrom, and have nothing against him and will support him in the same way I supported Andre Santos when he pulled on an Arsenal shirt. But are you telling me this is all that was available to a club with upward of £50 million to spend? We have an excellent first XI, but we need an excellent squad to win the league and challenge for the Champions League. 3 or 4 good additions (note good, not world class) would have given everyone – players and fans alike – belief. Instead we went for the cheapest possible option as Arsene reverted to his “too clever by half” transfer strategy. The fact that Kallstrom now has a long term injury is the party hat on top of the turd sandwich as far as I am concerned. And for all those crowing about Shalke blocking the Draxler move. If we were offering Shalke WHAT THEY WERE ASKING FOR then why would they not sell us the player? This feels a lot more like we were trying to knock a couple of million off the price, despite the fact Shalke are under no pressure to sell now and Draxler has plenty of other suitors. The thing that has disappointed me most about this is that the Ozil signing is feeling increasingly like a false dawn. Not the promise of new things to come, of a return on our investment in ever increasing ticket prices; but instead an aberration on our unending mission to win the league with a transfer surplus. I really hope this isn’t the case and that I am proved wrong but if we start to fade in February and March (like in 07/08 and 10/11) then Arsene’s decision not to properly strengthen the squad in this window will look reckless.

Good football news
But I have to caveat all my whingeing by saying, if there is one way to restore good faith its by putting in an accomplished, professional performance like the one we saw yesterday. We are top of the league for the time being and key players – Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain – are starting to step up now that others have been sidelined (Walcott, Ramsey). Results have been very kind to us this weekend. We now have a tough run of games coming up but if we can progress in the cups and put Liverpool and United to the sword then no one, including me, is going to give a stuff about what happened in January. It’s going to be tough but this team has defied expectations so far.

The OX
Well played young man, a great performance from him today. Good to see him get two goals and to add some verve and vigour in the middle of the park. His second goal especially was a lovely combination of trickery, movement, pace and finishing. Let’s hope he can step up in the big games and help make a difference this season.

So that’s it from me, have a good week and don’t forget to watch City Chelsea tonight safe in the knowledge that  almost any result will be good for us.

You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel

1,082 Responses to “Arsenal 2 – 0 Crystal Palace. Wahey! Gunners hotdogs. Transfer turd sandwiches”

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  1. Simon

    Exactly! This fear that things can only get worse is bullshit. Look at Pellegrini’s Man City – way better than under Mancini, as just one example.

    No they weren’t.

  2. samsensible

    I just don’t have enough room right now to cope with the plight of Oliver van Twist AND poor old Manchester City missing two players.

    It’s just too much. I can’t give anymore.

  3. samsensible

    If the club was going to die it would have died 4 or 5 years ago.

    ALL the evidence suggests that the patient is making a strong recovery.

    Killing the club? Ha!

  4. Simon

    Sensible

    Only on le-grove surely can we get a post first thing in the morning about how the club is being killed while we sit top of the league with a third of the season left…

  5. sylvain

    WOW, amazing how the “jackets are returned” so quickly here…

    Ok sorry guys: so hail to the SENILE ONE, we will be champs.

    Bunch of fools…

  6. samsensible

    sylvain, no we probably wont be champs.

    You seem to be suggesting that if you refute the notion that Wenger is killing the club you must therefore be an AKB fool?

    Wow. How very simple of you.

  7. Dark Hei

    Sigh, none of the scouts could manage to identify a short term signing. Even a Berbatov on loan would be great. Surely the priority is to get a signing in, in case OG and Bendter gets injured. (And Bendter does have injury and fitness issues). Finding the “right” striker is secondary, given that this is a short term signing.

    Rumoured asking price for Draxler is crazy. He might turn into a CR7. But it will take years of polishing in order to get him up there. I wouldn’t take it at 37M bucks up front. That is what you pay for a finished article. Maybe it is something for the oilers. In case people don’t know, 37M bucks is a lot of $$ and probably a big splash on the budget which can be put in better use. Yes, ambition comes with a budget dudes.

    Still, great performance from the gunners. I like this controlled football from the gunners at the moment. Good for the heart.

  8. samsensible

    Simon,

    We’re doomed. NO chance of top 4.

    Oh no, we;re not doomed…i’m going to change the meaning of doom to something less bad…like not being Champs.

    We’re doomed!

    I was right!

    Mate I guarantee we will see the above countless times.

  9. Nasri's Mouth

    Moray: Or else simply buy up his players until he has no team left and disillusion him. He will have to join us eventually.

    Well, it’ll probably be Bayern doing most of the buying, but I think the disillusionment may well happen in 2 – 3 years.

  10. Nasri's Mouth

    samsensible: Mancini stopped City winning the title last season IMO

    I think the same. Tactically he’s good, (at this stage 2 years ago, he had more points and a better goal difference than Pellegrini’s side) but man management he’s pretty shoddy.

    I don’t know much about Pellegrini other than what I’ve read since he came in the summer, but tactically he was very ‘head in the clouds’ yesterday.

    Mourinho got his tactics right, though I’m not sure it was the masterclass that some are talking about. Just as important is how fired up he got his players.

  11. Moray

    NM, not sure. It could even happen more quickly. Lewa is only on, what, 17k per week? Klopp has done amazingly with his budget, a bit like Wenger did ten+ years ago, before he went all youth crazy. Gundogan will want to move soon.

    good to see a manager of that esteem show some loyalty, though. Particularly noticeable if you stand him next to the odious Mourinho.

  12. Moray

    Didn’t see the game last night, but Mourinho does often get the calls right in the big games, both tactically and morale-wise. This is something Wenger really needs to get a grip on. He should be a wise, wily old manager by now. But his results in the big games and the head-to-heads with Mourinho suggest otherwise. Also, I sometimes think Wenger doesn’t appreciate enough the softer morale issues, such as an exciting signing would have given us this winter (didn’t have to be a 37m Draxler!). Let’s hope the next couple of months are the turning point!

  13. Salvage

    Rev Kevin,

    The reason why people are skeptical is because we have been in this position and situation many times before and faltered due to the decisions/indecision of Wenger. Thats why its hard to celebrate where we are just yet.

    The frustration is that this is the biggest chance of winning the league and a little more effort and resoluteness in the market would have surely given us the league. I dont buy all the “Wait for next summer” that some are peddling cause there is no guarantee Wenger would change his ways in the transfer market

  14. gooerboy

    The same Chelsea who could not beat West Ham at home played defensive break away football to beat City. John Terry looks a world beater again because he never gets exposed in Mourinho’s system.
    To be honest they both play at an intensity that we are a mile away from being able to match with the players we currently have available. But personally I don’t care how we win against a team like Chelsea or City.

    Whereas we could beat Liverpool away- on a not very good day for them- on a very good day they will rip a Flamini free half fit Arteta midfield apart.

  15. christine aserwa

    As we have been following the games day in day out we have to fill a bite relieved since we are on top of the league again with all expectation of foverates not making it its good to continue wining the matches as they come we know not all the games are easy but we have taken right track because all the team have injuries and we have to build from that I do expect that this year Arsenal are consistently doing right despite of not adding fresh legs in the scud .

  16. Musketeer

    Simon February 4, 2014 08:47:46
    Bring on the Death Run!

    Shouldn’t be to hard as some team are riding little ponies.