Arsenal drop points. Fans get depressed. Everything is shit.
Not at Le Grove, where it’s sunshine and praise for our Dear Leader.
Just kidding, but not.
It’s amazing how quickly some fans fall back into misery and rant about their high expectations not being met.
This season was tanked by Unai Emery, 18 months in the making, the worst start in 38 years. 4 weeks ago, we were bemoaning uncoachable players, now people are angry we’re not destroying teams in every game.
Arteta was hired into a mess, that mess is not going to be solved by this current squad of players right now, but the manager is making solid inroads and we have to take the small positives that will come game to game. This is what happened with Liverpool when Klopp took over, huge highs, some miserable lows, but all levelled out because the scousers had a path that was clear.
Arsenal didn’t put on a great show against Crystal Palace, but there were positives none the less.
Defensive resilience is something we’ve been absolutely begging for, we’re already making inroads there. I’ve read numerous fans state that we folded yesterday, which is simply not the case. Our level dropped for sure, Palace came back into the game, no doubt. But we didn’t fold. In fact, we created far more in the second half than we did in the first half when we dominated (6 attempts to 1).
Also, it’s important to remember the state of their goal. A ricochet over the top of Bernd Leno. It was very lucky. That’s reflected in the xG for yesterday. Arsenal were 1.08, which is not bad for an away game against a tough team, Palace were 0.31. They came back into the game but had nothing to show for it.
If you want to go back to last season when we played them away and drew, Palace had an xG of 2.38. In the home leg, when we were still in the hunt for top 4, they beasted us and recorded an xG of 2.54.
Point here, xG is working in our favour, the goal was unlucky and the numbers point out that the bad luck was the narrative of the game. We didn’t give them much to work with yesterday, we were harder to attack, and we kept their best player quiet using a right-back that hates the position so much he forced a red card under Emery so he didn’t have to play there. We also dealt with a very average referee.
Factor in the side played a brutal game against Leeds in the week with a full stack of seniors, on top of the reality of our new far more intense training regime, and well, you get the picture, it wasn’t that bad a day in the office.
Things aren’t looking very exciting in the transfer window.
“At the moment there is nothing coming up. The club is working on a few things but you know how difficult this window is and I’m not expecting many things.”
Poor Mikel, used to double our normal transfer budget for squad filler in January, he’s now being faced down with real-world economics… if you don’t sell players, you can’t buy them.
It’s a tough scenario here because most of us would have had a few players in mind to shift on, but Mikel has other plans. My guess is the market isn’t flush with talent and he’s likely weighing the bother of bringing in names that either aren’t playing right now, or will have to spend 3 months adapting to a league that is way faster than any of the others. I also wonder if part of the ‘coach them out of mediocrity’ is a sales pitch for summer signings. I’d go to a club that could make Xhaka a functioning player in the Premier League, that’s miracles right there.
Arsenal are not really chasing anything, so working with what we have isn’t the worst idea. I’m not sure there are many instances where panic buys in January work out. I’d be quite happy to see what a fully fit squad can do from now until the end of the season, then make aggressive moves in the summer, very, very early on. A Euros year isn’t exactly ideal, but hopefully, Edu and Cagigao can formulate ideas with Mikel early so we don’t end up going on a mad one with Don Raul taking reccos from the football mafia on who might or might not be a worldy.
I forgot to talk about the players leaving on loan. We have John-Jules heading out to Lincoln City, they sit 16th in the table in League One, so a huge job for him there, and hopefully some minutes. ESR has joined Huddersfield, who dropped from the Premier League, and now sit 20th in the Championship. Quite the fall from grace, you have to say, but again, far more chance ESR will land minutes. Eddie still hasn’t found a club, but there are rumours Villa and Norwich might be interested. I’d be fine with either, as long as he actually lands playing time. No point in warming someone else’s bench.
Right, that’s my lot for today, if you want the match report, it’s here.
Have a good one, see you in the comments!