Anyone who is thinking of watching this game from behind the sofa should not – in my mind – be branded a scaredycat. I think it’s fair to say that stats and predictions go out the window in these early days of Arsenal’s New Dawn under Mikel Arteta.
With the win against Man U we saw Arteta’s plan in action. We were pressing all over the pitch, lots of energy, quick passing and an early goal. Arteta has talked about getting the energy levels up but this takes time. To score a couple of early goals must be high on his wish list but not having to ‘shout a lot’ at his players at half time must also be.
There was a complacency about the first half against Leeds that’s going to take a while to shake off. So, is the short trip to Crystal Palace, who sit above us in the table going to get their collective juices flowing? I hope so, although traditionally, we really don’t like early kick offs.
Roy Hodgson is doing great things with this Palace team and Wilfrid Saha will have a point to prove, as, if things had gone better for him he would have been lining up for us today. His stats versus Pepe make interesting reading.
Zaha is getting the opportunity to make more dribbling runs but has had more pitch time than Pepe. This is where we need to be able to release Pepe and let him work his magic. Our goalscoring has been pretty pants so far this season but I’m hopeful that with hard work Arteta can rectify this.
So, how will we line up today? Sokratis has been a monster lately and I’m loving how he plays like a warrior. Luiz has discovered that he loves playing for us and he quite likes being a defender too. Our problems are that our injuries to Bellerin and Tierney that have forced other players into those positions. Arteta’s plan to allow the left-backs Kolasinac or Saka to be part of the attack have been fruitful and for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to move into the midfield have hopefully kept him happy too.
Xhaka has been persuaded to stay and Torreira is finally being allowed to do a great job in front of the defence. What’s not to like?
Up front we can look forward to the mouthwatering proposition of Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Exciting huh? Maybe Lacazette has left his goal scoring boots somewhere in South London and he’s picking them up on the way.
AMN Sokratis Luiz Kolasinac
Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang
Enjoy the game all …………..