Arsenal 2 Palace 3 – Player Ratings

April 22, 2019

It seemed a strange team selection which smacked of gross underestimation of the opposition. Jenkinson, Elneny and Guendouzi in tandem through the centre  plus twin strikers for a must win game at home. Hmmmm.

On the positive side, pre-match drinks with the boys and Peaches were excellent listening to updates from Goodison, just a shame they proved to be the high point of a day that slipped thereafter.

First Half

Mesut should have scored early on but for someone whose passing is so good, his shooting is abysmal.

Palace scored from a free kick which looked miles offside in the ground but probably wasn’t. (just looked at the goal and Jenko played Benteke onside – as you all would have known already)

The team seemed unbalanced and toothless, changes were required.

Second Half

Team selection mistakes were half rectified at the interval. Iwobi for Jenks excellent. Taking Mavropanos off when he had been one of our best players in the first half seemed weird. I suppose hindsight is a wonderful thing – if only one of our other centre backs had got the hook!

Superb start with Mesut scoring straight away.Iwobi on the left and Ainsley on the right were suddenly causing Palace problems on the flanks. It was surely only a matter of time before we scored a second.

Then things took a plunge. Mustafi gave the freedom of Islington to the Palace striker, Zaha and then seemed aggrieved at what? – Who knows? 2-1 down to a poor team but with lots of time to rectify the situation.

Getty Images

More shocking defending from a corner and we were 3-1 with little hope of a positive result all of a sudden. Auba played a one two off a defender and gave us some false hope. Alex Iwobi fluffed a great chance at an equaliser from a cut back but virtually passed to the keeper.


Bang goes fortress Emirates. A combination of poor team selection, dreadful defending and the lack of any real plan up front contributed to our own downfall.

Such a great opportunity to strengthen our claim for a top four place squandered. We’re still in 4th spot – well, until the chavs play Burnley tonight, that is.

Wolves at Molineux next up.


Leno – kept us in with a shout with a great save just before half time … 6

Jenkinson – not much to say … 3

Mavropanos – no idea why he was subbed off – yellow card? … 6

Koscielny – struggled to make up for the deficiencies of those around him … 6

Mustafi – some around me in the ground were booing him touching the ball in the second half – inexplicable defending at times – thick as pig excrement unfortunately – the nadir of his performance was getting booked for diving … 1

Kolasinac – drove me bananas in the first half just passing the ball back from where it came – we could have kept Theo Walcott if we needed someone who could only do that … 3

Elneny – nah … 3

Guendouzi – yet again given too much to do with the lack of decent senior partner … 5

Ozil – a game tailor-made for him to dominate and he wasn’t up to it – a fine goal though… 5

Aubameyang – out of position and it showed … 5

Lacazette – huffed a puffed with little service … 5


Iwobi – had an immediate impact – should have been playing from the start … 6

Maitland-Niles – added much on the right flank but just couldn’t make that crucial difference at the end of the day … 6

Torreira – another who should have started if he was fit enough to be on the bench … 6


Emery – bound to have an off day every now and again – just a shame I had to witness it in person … 3

Wagnerson – must be so pleased we put up such a poor fight … 6


Moss – as dreadful a performance as Arsenal’s – just appalling … 2



Palace at home – In Brief

April 21, 2019

A must win game especially with the spuds just losing the hardest of their remaining five fixtures. It’s given us the chance to go two points ahead if we can win and give them some cause for concern, while also giving us extra hope of seeing out these tricky aways we face on Wednesday and Sunday. After such a fine performance against Napoli, the lads should be feeling full of confidence – let’s forget the Watford match!

Laca wonders where the intimidating atmosphere of the San Paolo stadium has gone

Team news

Big Sok is serving the second game of his 2 match ban for being Greek. So, let’s put our hands together for squad player Shkodran. Three or four at the back? Three plus wingbacks would seem the best chance of providing the width necessary to get round the bus.

Granit is being assessed but maybe might not be risked if Matteo and the Terrier are both ready to go. So the midfield is sorted, with Guendouzi playing more in a deep Ramsey role with licence to roam forward a little, allowing the Terrier to excel at what he’s best at.     (Update: it would appear from Jeorge Bird on twitter that both Granit and the Terrier were in full training yesterday 🙂 )

Rambo is definitely out for an unspecified period. Home against Palace is, perhaps, the perfect scenario for Mesut, so he’ll probably start. Back at home we need the variety that the left and right side wing forwards Iwobi and Mkhitaryan bring, so maybe that’s the way to go. However, with Mesut to definitely start, means him playing central midfielder which is unlikely (assuming a centre forward is chosen to play).

Perhaps Auba or Laca will be given some pine time – Auba would be the popular choice. If he is, he’ll be itching to come on for a cameo 30 minutes and score a couple.

Our home record against Palace is pretty good but nothing can be taken for granted at this stage of the season. Townsend always plays better against us and Zaha, Benteke, Wickham and Batshitcrazy are all useful on their day.

Roy Wagnerson usually likes his teams to play some football so Palace may not be the most adept at parking the bus which might produce a game of decent football at the Emirates today.

Getty Images

Ant and me will be suitably enthusiastic about the match by the time our train gets into St Pancras (bang on time, hopefully) soon after 12.30pm.

Heaven knows how we’ll entertain ourselves at Finsbury Park in the intervening period before setting off for the ground!



p.s. Let’s hope Everton are up for the game against the red mancs

What does April hold in store for Emery’s Arsenal?

March 31, 2019

Three Monday night games. Two home games, four aways in the Prem and a Europa quarter final against Napoli. Pretty exciting maybe?

Of the three Monday night games only one is at home, which just so happens to be tomorrow night against Newcastle. On April Fools’ night the UK parliament is going to, yet again, attempt to extract its head from its back passage.  Don’t hold out much hope for that, but at least we have a fighting chance of turning Newcastle over!

Next Sunday, March 7th, sees us at Goodison with a 2.05pm kick off. The Toffees are on the up and we’ll need to be better than the chavs were on their recent visit to the wild wastelands of the North West if we want to come away with something.

Mesut scores in a 5-2 win at Goodison in October 2017

We’re back at the Emirates on the 11th for the home tie of the Napoli QF. It’ll be interesting to see Unai’s priorities for each game in this really busy month. At present the League appears our best route to a CL place since we sit in a top 4 place (well we did before the mancs luckily sneaked past Watford yesterday). Juggling both Prem and Europa balls is going to be tricky. One game at a time, I suppose. 🙂

The subsequent EPL game is away to Watford on Monday the 15th April, which does gives us an extra day after the Napoli game to regroup if you were trying to look for the positives of Monday night footie. Watford are a bit up and down but can be a stern proposition at Vicarage Road if it gets buzzing and Deeney puts that hideous mask on again.

Three days later we head to Naples, hopefully to finish off the job we begun in London. This is Arsenal, though, so don’t expect 3-0 at home and a clean sheet away in Italy. We don’t do easy.

The distance to the pitch in Naples will help but it’ll still be a hostile atmosphere

Yet another three day break follows and on the 21st we entertain Crystal Palace at THOF for the 4pm kick off. I’m particularly excited about this one as it’s my next trip to see the boys in the flesh.

Wolves in midweek on the 24th of April will be a tall order after such an intensive series of games, but if we can’t match them under the Molineux floodlights ….. we shall see. For some reason, this fixture seems one of the trickiest of the month, so expect us to cruise it.

April is topped off on the 29th with the third Monday Night Football we’ll have to endure over the next month. Away at Leicester is never easy but it just so happens to be the venue for my favourite away trip fixture of recent years when we beat them 5-3 and the beer was just delicious.

All in all a very busy, very exciting and potentially rewarding month is in store for Unai’s Arsenal. After the arid, uninspiring desert that was the second half of March, it’s going to be a headlong, bumpy sprint riding on the back of a camel desperate to dip its head into the oasis.

Before you go, what do you think the dippers v spuds score might be this afternoon? Take a punt


Arsenal’s winning run ended by Atkinson – Palace ratings

October 29, 2018

If you had to run 100 metres it would take you a certain amount of time, yes? With a bit of training you might improve slightly but it wouldn’t take long before you reached maximum capability. This is what yesterday’s game felt like to me; there was no more to give, the team that Emery fielded reached the peak of their collective talent and it wasn’t enough to beat Palace.

The defence didn’t play badly but I don’t think they could have played better. Naturally, we desperately missed the attacking qualities that Monreal brings to bear down the left flank but, with him missing, it was easy for Palace to work out that all our threat would come down the right and so they simply increased the number of bodies in that part of the field, pretty much nullifying our ability to dominate the opposition within our usual game plan. When Bellerin went off we became even more pedestrian; we were forced to play solely through the middle and that made us even easier to control. This was not helped by the link-up play from Torreira and Guendouzi; again neither played badly, in fact, I would have made Torreira my man of the match but neither one of them played a single pass that put an attacker into a goal scoring opportunity. To repeat myself, they had reached the peak of their talents.

And so we get to Ozil and, of course, this is where my little theory falls flat on its face. Ozil did not have his best day at the office and certainly did not play to the peak of his ability but I thought we saw the first chink in Emery’s armour today; it was a bad decision to take him off. Ozil is the only player who is capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat; that’s to say, no matter how ineffective he is looking, he is always the one most likely to create the little bit of magic needed to win a game like that.

This frustration is compounded in my mind by leaving Iwobi on; this is the equivalent of saying that Iwobi is likely to be more effective than Ozil in the closing stages. Wenger tried taking Ozil off early and it always went wrong, you bring Ozil off when you are three up with ten minutes to go in order for him to get a standing ovation, apart from that, you leave him damn well out there.

Do I need to cover how poor Atkinson was? I think that one has been done; do I need to say that Zaha dived? I think that one has also been done but what I would say is that I thought Zaha was the best player on the park and I wish we had him at THOF.

All in all, a frustrating day. I thought we were going to get away with it again after the team had taken Emery’s half time magic potion as we came out and dominated, scoring two quick goals in succession but alas, no. It was irritating to lose our winning run but I suppose the reason for my sombre tone is a sign of just how high Emery has lifted us in the recent past. I suppose the only way we are going to get that euphoric feeling back is to beat Liverpool next week but if we are to, we are going to need Bellerin and Monreal fighting fit and raring to go.

Quick player ratings

Leno: clean sheet from open play, top keeper. 8

Bellerin: too much asked of him today. 7

Mustafi: someone must be coaching him as he is getting better every week. 7

Holding: I am not sure we can ask any more of him. 8

Xhaka: playing out of position and unsurprisingly got suckered into giving a penalty away. Excellent goal. 6

Torreira: held the fort, if it wasn’t for him it could have been worse. 9

Guendouzi: I really want to say that from here on it was pedestrian, it is all very well looking busy but you have got to be effective as well. 7

Ozil: ineffective but should have stayed on. 6

Iwobi: is he really going to be Emery’s pet project, heaven help us if it is. Ran around a lot and very fast at that but was totally ineffective. 5

Lacazette: not his best day, poor service. 5

Aubameyang: another game another goal. Mah. 7


Lichtsteiner: it made me laugh watching how he dealt with Zaha, the Palace forward had the run of that flank in the first half but that all stopped in the second. Lichtsteiner gave him such a hard time that he was forced onto the other flank, maybe that wasn’t such a good thing as, of course, that is where he was able to con Atkinson.

Welbeck and Ramsey: not enough time for them to influence the game.


Another London Derby. Another Scorpion?

October 28, 2018

Yet another London Derby. Games at Palace are usually exciting events, let’s hope for a winter cracker this lunchtime.


I am always grateful to Crystal Palace for developing the talents of Ian (God 8) Wright. I fondly recall his brace for Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final against MU. That little chap brought me so much pleasure – thank you GG for signing him.

Thinking of GG, he scored a couple of stunners against Palace (as LBG wrote) but none as good as Giroud’s from 2017.

Which brings us to today. Arsenal are in wonderful form, can it continue? I see no reason why not not. The chaps will be rested (apart from those who played in Lisbon).

So far this season we have seen a constant change of formation and it is almost impossible to predict what is UE’s choice of tactic. How can it be that we play so poorly in the first halves and then improve so radically in the second? Is it really rope-a-dope?

We have to be excited by the quality of the new signings and also the development of our young players. The future looks very bright.

Palace are struggling but have the ability to upset any team at Selhurst Park. In Zaha they have a much-in-demand winger, one we have been linked with over many years. I am not convinced by him, we need consistency and Zaha is a bit too mercurial for me. We have the better rounded and younger Iwobi.

My Team:


Catwalk  Mustafi   TGB    Swiss Chap

Another Swiss Chap      Terrier     Nigerian

Genius German

Laca   PEA

Will Emery play two upfront? He doesn’t usually. SO, given PEA started in Lisbon, it is likely he will be benched for Mhiki and get another brace in his 30 minutes.

Left back remains a problem. AMN (Cons) got a few minutes in the U-23s but to play him against CP’s biggest threat (Zaha) would be risky. Nacho and Wardrobe are still not ready, so we have to play Lichtsteiner or Xhaka. Xhaka is no LB, he looks lost, so another run out for our ageing Swiss full back, a master of the Dark Arts, I love to watch his opponents infuriated by his “Italian “skillset” but hope Nacho is fit enough to play.

Enough of this rambling …

This is not an easy fixture and should we rack up No.12, I will be very, very happy.



Arsenal FC – Our away record against the Eagles

October 27, 2018

In 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. Some years later the owners, who were reliant on tourist activity for their income, sought fresh attractions for the venue, and decided to form their own football team to play at the Palace stadium. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, but they had disappeared from historical records around 1876. The owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Although the Football Association disliked the idea of the owners of the Cup Final venue also possessing their own football team and initially rejected their proposal, a separate company was established to form and own the club. Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed “The Glaziers”, was formed on 10 September 1905.

Our first game against Crystal Palace was in the FA Cup and took place at Highbury on January 27th 1934 in front of 56,701, Arsenal won 7-0 . The goals were scored by Ralph Birkett (1), Jimmy Dunne (2), Pat Beasley(2) and the legendary Cliff Bastin (2).

Here’s a little timelapse Pathe footage of the Clock End filling up for that game in 1934 (well, it appears to be the Clock End as the old East Stand is on the left?)

This was also the year that we lost our inspirational manager Herbert Chapman.

Our away record against Crystal Palace is superb we have only lost twice at Selhurst Park our overall record is – W10, D6, L2, GF34, GA19, GD, 15.

Photo by Chris Turvey/EMPICS via Getty Images

It would be very difficult to predict anything other than a resounding victory for Arsenal.

However our only loss in the Premier League came as recently as April 10, 2017  when we lost 0-3 so we cannot afford to take a victory for granted.


Arsenal v Palace. 3pm KO. It matters.

January 20, 2018

First up, a word on the opposition, Crystal Palace.

Here is another club I don’t think should even exist. So someone knocks up a glass shed in Hyde Park to show off some knick-knacks from around the world, then moves it South London when everyone’s seen enough, and somehow, this becomes good enough reason to name a football club after it. Ok, whatever, I guess.

Having said all that, there are a few notable highlights in their history. One, the development of Ian Wright as a superstar of world football, and the other being their famous triumph during the 1913-14 season, when they won the London Challenge Cup by beating Tottenham Hotspurs 2-1 at Highbury.

Now, down to business. Does today’s fixture even matter?

Yes it bloody well does because we WILL all be watching, so quite apart from anything else, we might as well score a hat full and enjoy ourselves.

I have no idea how Palace play,  but that wouldn’t alter the way Arsenal line up anyway. Also no idea who’s fit or what’s going on regarding transfers. I’ll hazard a guess and say that Sanchez won’t start, and despite whatever it is you think about the slippery dog fancier, we will be short on goalscorers. Because you lot appear to like that line up thing, here’s a stab at it:


Iwobi Mesut

M-N Jack Granit Bell

Kos Must Cham


Options: Danny, Rambo, Beast, Nelson


Hope we score four. Enjoy your day if going. Up The Gunners.

Written by MickyDidIt89

A Festive Season Treat or Too Much Mead Hangover?

December 28, 2017

Last season we got hammered by Palace at Selhurst Park by a CP team in trouble. Today  we go there in questionable form and Palace are once again in trouble. Recipe for an embarrassing defeat? Let’s hope not.

Any club that employs Roy Hodgson has my respect, he seems like a top bloke and it takes courage to employ a manager committed to football to take a team out of the relegation zone. Most clubs go for the Hoofball merchants like Moyes, Allardyce etc. I hope they stay up and go on an extended run of good form in the New Year.

Palace spent big money and have some excellent players, players whom the press were linking Arsenal with  – Zaha, Townshend, Benteke and Cabaye. Defence is their problem and one we must exploit.

It is time Sanchez returned to the form we know and love. I do not believe it is lack of desire which is his problem, probably the opposite.

Monreal may be crocked, so is Ramsey. and OG.

My Team:


Mustafi      Koscielny     Kolasinac

Bellerin    Xhaka   Wilshere    Maitland- Niles


Lacazette    Sanchez

Perhaps Iwobi will get a start in place of M-N or Holding could replace Monreal. Who knows except Mr Wenger?

Our form has been strange, consistency conspicuously lacking. One week we are very good in defeat and the next poor in victory.

We need a win and an improvement upon our terrible away form….

Let it start this afternoon.