It was tense wasn’t it? Even when we scored the second there was a nagging feeling that if Palace scored we would be under pressure and so it proved. How can it be that at two up the team doesn’t relax?
Let’s start with the pitch. It was awful and clearly designed to upset our ball-players and assist the long-ball game. It was uneven and the grass hadn’t been cut since Wright and Bright were banging them in at Selhurst. Perhaps Pardew recognised our difficulties playing on the ploughed field at Stoke and instructed his groundsmen. It is often said that it is the same for both teams but have you ever heard anyone complain about on the magnificent Emirates pitch? Is it unfair to long-ball teams and Man Utd that we have a billiard table to play on?
I was surprised how clean a game it was. I expected Pardew to send out his men to kick our chaps but that didn’t happen, what happened was that CP pressed us from the first, not allowing any player time on the ball. The pundits say this is the best way to play Arsenal and perhaps it is but this should result in Arsenal having more space in the final minutes as an exhausted opponent slows down – it didn’t happen yesterday, in fact the opposite happened – we hung on for the win. Why?
Tactics? Substitutions? CP wanting it more? Fear? You tell me
Pardew identified the wings as the place to attack us. Monreal grew into the game, Chambers didn’t. I like Chambers and am fully aware he is a very young man but is he really a Full Back? A modern FB needs speed, lots of it and this is not an asset Chambers has. In time he is sure to be a fine CB but against the very speedy Gayle and Bolasie he struggled.
So far I have looked at the negative but we won the game, picked up the points, and sit in 3rd place. This is a Happy Gooner.
In midfield Santi surprised me at how well he linked with Coquelin; Palace were unable to play through the middle. Ozil floated through the game finding space and played a wonderful pass to Alexis at the beginning of the second half to Alexis – who should have looked for Giroud for the tap-in.
Ultimately, the result is all that matters.
Ospina: Made some decent saves, distribution good but could have cost us the game with a touch of the Flapianski’s in the last minute 7
Chambers: A difficult afternoon and a yellow card. 5
BFG: CP poured crosses into the box and BFG did well until the final 5 minutes 7
Koscielny: Our best defender …. again 8
Monreal: Thank goodness Zaha has no final ball. Nacho struggled. 6
Coquelin: Good game for him to show his battling qualities. High energy and focus. 7
Cazorla: Worked so hard on a pitch which was designed to stifle his skills. Lovely pass to Welbz to set up OG. Scored the pen. 8
Ozil: Quietly sets up the team but this wasn’t his sort of game or pitch 6
Alexis: Not his day. Some lovely runs but no end product 6
Welbeck: I am yet to be convinced of his partnership with OG. Drew the penalty. Assisted for the OG goal 7
Giroud: Scored. Led the line. Did his job 7
written by Big Raddy