#Arsenal take on Crystal Palace: Sink or swim time

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Cracking onto the game tomorrow. Nothing like reading this on the .COM.

‘For all the introspection and navel-gazing that followed last weekend’s shock home defeat to West Ham, one man has remained calm amid the storm.’

Fu*king hell. Thank the lord. Arsene Wenger to the rescue. Don’t worry yourself children, Wenger has been here before it went on to say.

So glad we have a manager who has lost opening games before. It’s much nicer when it’s a habit.

Anyway, Palace is going to be tough. They have a very powerful team and they’ve added some class in the form of Yohann Cabaye. Arguably a player we should have been signing when you consider how bleak our cover for Coquelin is.

I really don’t mean to panic anyone, but here’s the thing with the way we’re excusing ourselves.

‘We only sign world class players, and, well, there aren’t a lot of world class players available’

Ok, I get that. To a certain degree. But workforce deficiencies aren’t tackled like this. As with anything in life, you find the best there is available. In business, if you need a finance person to process the wages, and the one you want isn’t there. You don’t just say, ‘well, let’s wait until Christmas and we’ll make do with the intern looking after it’. It’d be carnage.

No. You go out and you get the next best thing, so you can cover yourself. And here’s the thing. We’re not replacing Coquelin. Who, for the record, isn’t world class. We’re actually trying to replace Arteta and Flamini. Are you honestly telling me, that in the world of football, with the money we have, there’s no one available who can do a better job than those two?

If that’s the case. Then you need to be firing the scouts. Same with the striker. Is there literally no one in the world who can do what Giroud is doing… but at pace. Because that would be an upgrade. A major upgrade.

Here’s the other point.

‘But there’s still time to go. Wenger has an ace up his sleeve’

Look, we’ve been here before. Remember the ace he had up his sleeve when he signed Ozil? The player took 18 months to settle. He had a very poor first season because he wasn’t prepped into the squad. Why do we backload our transfers? Why not get them in early so you avoid the mad scramble that usually ends up with a bunch of bad choices… or nothing at all?

My positivity around what we can do this season is still up there, but I am really nervous we don’t have enough players and that we’re relying on fitness miracles again. Why not just make sure?

Anyway, it’s a big test away at Palace. They have one of the loudest stadiums in the country and they are capable of bullying and creating chances. We looked meek against West Ham. The manager cited overconfidence based on title winning chatter. I hate that. That we have a team that can fall into complacency one game into the year. What is the manager going to do to stop that? Was there one person who personified that? Like Ramsey who went all “roy of the rovers” again?

How is Wenger going to slap this team back into shape? How does he get a response? What’s the line up going to look like?

Petr Cech needs a big game. He was awful on his home debut. Not what we expect of a man we know is one of the best. I’ve no doubt he’ll be furious at himself and I’m sure we’ll get a good response.

Coquelin took a lot of flack for an average game. Lots of fans seem keen for him not to be the answer. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Let’s look at him after ten games, not one where it was impossible to pick out anyone who flew the flag to Arsenal levels.

Up top will be interesting. Palace will look to press us tomorrow. They have big players packed with pace. Now they have a classy midfielder capable of picking out runs. Arsenal need to counter some of that pressing game with pace. Or we need to press them. The conundrum the manager has is that Giroud has no pace so you can press up against him, but he has power to rattle centre backs. Theo has the pace, but he doesn’t have any power and if he’s off his game, he’s next to useless. He does open space though.

Tactically, it’s going to be an interesting one. The game, for me, will be decided on an intangible… how much do we want it? Are we going to feel sorry for ourselves and play victim? Or will we grab the bull by the horns and press ‘destroy’ on the pitch.

I’m hoping it’s the latter. I really don’t want August to feel like the time we went to play United in the Champions League and we all had flags then Ronaldo scored after 7 minutes and we put our flags away and played with our phones.

Those were bad times.

Enjoy the game, wherever you are! x

308 Responses to “#Arsenal take on Crystal Palace: Sink or swim time”

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  1. Champagne Charlie


    There it is. Arsenal play possession football reliant on movement/passing and you’ve displayed the ‘acceptable’ standards you hold of our deepest midfielder by being absolutely content his passing is merely “sound”. Quality stuff. That’s either footballing ignorance, or complete disregard for the influence a DM has on a teams fluidity. Need I go much further than citing Carricks importance to United.

    As a caveat you tried to defend your point by basically saying Cazorla and Ramsey can pass, somehow meaning Coquelin doesn’t need to. Well while you may be ok with a player in the very middle of our team being sub-par at passing, I think I’ll reserve the right to point to it as a significant flaw moving forward. Arsenal won’t win major trophies with Coquelin as a cornerstone of midfield, there’s my two cents on the matter.

  2. tunnygriffboy

    So if Arsenal don’t win trophies it’s because of Coquelin ? There’s a lot of issues to be sorted first before we get around to Coquelin.

    His defensive stats are as good as anyone’s. I think it’s unfair that people say he can’t pass. I think he can. Either he’s taken it on himself to be conservative or he’s playing to orders. He undoubtedly needs to broaden his role in terms of distribution and aiding transition. I think he’s capable of this.

    Should we have signed another DM. Absolutely.

  3. useroz

    We lost to West ham due to defensive issues. West ham did not play well but grabbed the few chances they had.

    We did not manage to win for different reasons. Let’s not muddy the causes and generalise. Coq could have. Played better but he didn’t lose the game.

    One thing was clear, the Manager did not even remotely wanting to being accountable despite willing to taking world class a pay packet (avg 200k+ per game). Talking ‘nervous’ players was worse than cohesion Or did wenger think he was asked about oxford?

    We need a WC manager. But of course, we’d talk even longer term vision and demand a WC board…and so on.

  4. peanuts&monkeys

    Strangely Arsenal doesn’t have a Belgian and not even a Brazilian in their side. There’s not enough Africans also.

    Belgium is the new Spain in world football. How can Belgium be ignored?