Arsenal produced a first half performance that we have seen so often this season. Predictably, we had a huge amount of possession against a dour Palace defence which has improved dramatically in recent weeks, so it was never going to be an easy game. A couple of chances fell to Monreal and Koscielny that were well saved by Speroni, and Pulis Palace offered next to nothing in attack. Ozil impressed me, he definitely was the orchestrator – always looking to probe what often amounted to a nine or ten men defence.
Even so the balance seemed wrong with Podolski particularly playing too deep. We did not have enough width to stretch their defence, and why oh why didn’t someone try the occasional shot? Instead we made countless triangular passes (which is Arsene’s way), but this doesn’t work against teams that park the bus. Palace’s sole intention was not to get beaten.
Within two minutes of the start of the second half, a beautifully dinked ball over the Palace defence by Santi set The Ox up to calmly and expertly chip the ball over the hapless Palace the keeper. However as so often is the case, we took our foot off the peddle and Jerome would have equalised but for an excellent save by the ever improving Szczesny. Subs were needed and the introduction of Rosicky paid dividends within minutes with an exquisite reverse pass touched on by Giroud for The Ox to drive a low shot past Speroni. Giroud had looked tired throughout the game and I would have preferred Bendtner to come on a little earlier, although he wasn’t involved that much, he showed a few good touches.
Podolski got another valuable 72 minutes and who better to bring on than Rosicky.
We have a tough series of games coming up so conserving strength was the key,so why go all out and try add to our tally. IMO those were the right tactics today. Three points in the bag – who could ask for more.
No question that The Ox was the Man of the Match not only for the breakthrough goal but his directness to take any opportunity to shoot as well as his overall contribution to play. He is only twenty and has a big future in this squad.
- Szczesny 8.5
- Sagna 7
- Monreal 6
- Arteta 6
- Mertesacker 8
- Koscielny 8
- Cazorla 8
- Oxlade-Chamberlain 8.5
- Giroud 6
- Özil 8
- Podolski 6.5
Written by kelsey