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Never a truer word Mikel!

This week the recently resurgent Reds will host Crystal Palace in a game that provides an opportunity for us to win four premier matches in a row for the first time since October 2018. Not a great statistic that and it actually quite shocked me when I read it, though I don’t know why as our infuriating inconsistency seems to have been our one constant. However, regardless of all the guff about every team in the Premier League being competitive etc. etc., this is The Arsenal we are talking about and not to have won four in a row in the league for more than two years is a stat that I would very much like consigned to the dustbin.

As we are on statistics I would also say we haven’t won in our last four league games against Palace either, nor have we won after any of the three Goonerholics Forever previews I have written in the PL this season. How the players can heartlessly heap humiliation on a lifelong supporter such as myself is beyond me, though that being said the actual point of these cautionary tales is to remind us of the need for feet to be kept firmly on the ground. Recent history is not on our side for this game. We may even need those mugs, masks and memorabilia that several of you have been claiming (without credible evidence I might topically add at this point) are responsible for the welcome upturn in our fortunes. For upturn they have, and as we reach mid January we have returned to mid-table, and still have two cups to chase. Mikel has already put the next steps very clearly, 

“We need to get our home form established, we’ve had some issues there and now it’s time to get some wins. We’ve got two at home right now (Palace and Newcastle) that are going to be key for the future of our season in the Premier League……”  

I can but agree, win these to take us to the halfway point in the league season in good heart and then think about challenging for a top four place. If, and it is still a big if, we can mount a credible challenge in the second half of this season it would certainly represent an impressive turnaround led by a manager still in the early days of what we all hope will be a long and distinguished career as manger of The Arsenal. It is often in adversity that we learn the most about who we are and what is important. From that perspective October and November were certainly generous in providing lessons. Let’s just hope they’ve been learned. 

Other cheering news this week has come in the form of Rob Holding signing a new contract – a demonstration to any player at the club that through effort and performance you can change Mikel’s mind – and the news that young Gabi’s injury is not as bad as feared. Martinelli will not I believe be available for selection for the Palace game but it is a far better outcome than initially expected and it is a welcome change to see one of our players get a break of the right sort. The best of luck to him of course, but it is time now to turn our thoughts to those who are available. 

The Men Who Matter

Selecting the side is I think, barring late injuries, a far easier task than the last FA Cup game against Newcastle. So, without further ado I present to you………..


Bellerin Holding Gabriel Tierney

Xhaka Ceballos

Saka Smith-Rowe Aubameyang


With the exception of Gabriel for Mari it is the same side that demolished West Brom. Mari has done nothing wrong but Gabriel was one of our few successes before his recent enforced absence, plus of course it won’t cost us 900k to play him. I jest of course because regardless of that contract situation with Flamenco* (we pay an additional 900K each time he completes 10 games up to a maximum of 80 games and so actually I assume we will have to pay next time he plays unless there is a time limit aspect to the contract), I would still play Gabriel as I think his slightly better mobility will be more useful against this Palace attack. 

*I should add I have no idea whether this press report is accurate, seems a bit pricey to me for an unknown defender but what do I know

The last time we beat Palace was a 4-1 thrashing in January 2018. Three long years, three draws and a defeat later it is past time to do it again. Only three of the starting XI from that day are likely to start – Hector, Xhaka and Laca who scored our fourth in the 22nd minute from an Ozil assist after goals from Nacho and Kos had given us a three goal lead. As well as the much-missed (by me) Nacho, Kos, Ozil and the inimitable Jack, our side that day featured a central midfield duo of Xhaka and Elneny. Make of that what you will. Three years later it is quite possible they may play again – and to be fair may suit this game against a scrappy Palace midfield. Oh sorry everyone. Typo! A crappy Palace midfield I meant to say! Anyway, rather than dwell on our already exhaustively discussed problems in CM let’s move swiftly to one of the solutions – I believe we will welcome Thomas back to the squad for this game if not the starting XI. Will he start though? MA took the risk against the marshdwellers and it backfired. Once bitten, Mikel? To be honest I would start him though I know many would think that reckless. As you will see from my XI above I don’t think Mikel will. Either way, I certainly look forward to his return, whether it’s tomorrow or in the next couple of games. 

I look forward even more to seeing our front four continue their recent good form and hope that we are about to see Auba return to his normal self.  Fingers crossed that smile is back and we will be team that has got 10 in the last 4 games and not the one that got 7 in 12 in the dark days of late autumn and early winter. 

The Opposition

Crystal Palace, known to their fans as The Eagles due to Zaha’s spectacular swoops to the ground in each and every bloody game, are currently 13th. It has been a standard season for them so far, a couple of good wins and a couple of whackings, leavened with several draws to see them looking unlikely to go down. Palace are managed by Roy Hodgson, who has done well enough for them, though I would add in all seriousness that when you consider Roy is in his seventies, I really wonder if it is good idea for him to continue attending games given the rising numbers of positive tests. Perhaps I am overthinking it but anyway I hope he will be fine. As for their players, well, Ayew has scored in each of our last two games against Palace, which is just annoying really as he isn’t very good. They also have a skillful young player called Eze who, if he is not banned for a recent quarantine breach, will bear watching but other than that they will feed everything through to Zaha as usual. It is not a mystery and hopefully our defence will be on our toes and not his. Although I have nothing against Palace their essential ‘meh’-ness defeats further analysis I’m afraid, so we will have to leave it there. In summary, I don’t much care which starting XI they put out as they are mediocre and the only question is whether we can rise above it. 

The Holic Pound

The last time we kept a clean sheet against Palace was January 2017, a fairly routine 2-0 win that in truth I have already forgotten (though a quick check tells me that, to my amusement, Xhaka and Elneny started that day too). The same 2-0 would suit me fine this time round though the odds are only a fraction over a skinny 7/1. A more adventurous bet on a repeat of the 4-1 win from January 2018 is available at 30/1 and looks fair value to me. 

That about wraps it up folks, thanks for having me as always and I hope we can all enjoy a free-flowing display resulting in the following brief post match TV interview……….

Sky Drone: well Roy, your team didn’t play badly but in the end that was quite a beating. Your thoughts on the game?

Roy Hodgson: Yes, drone, it was that but hardly surprising as after all they are the Arsenal and they are the Best.

119 Drinks to ““Time to get some wins””

  1. 1
    scruzgooner says:

    nicely put, matt. any idea if the meh’s who drew and beat us had to do so past the gra’neny duo?

    i still don’t think mari has lost a match he has started, ned’s monks would have to run their algorithms to see. i’d keep that partnership with ¢apitola rob going for at least this game.

  2. 2
    BtM says:

    Entertaining preview, Matt. Gabriel by a poofteenth over Mari but Partey by a country mile over Xhaka or Ceballos for me. Enjoy the game.

  3. 3
    Uplympian says:

    Very enjoyable and informative preview Matt. I think your team is pretty close – we await to see if Thomas is deemed fit to start or even come off the bench. There’s no need to risk him unless he is 100% ready. Same applies to Gabigoal. Unless there are any setbacks in training they will both be ready soon enough.
    As you quite rightly point out we have a poor track record v Palace of late, with all due respect that’s both surprising and just not good enough. We are due to put a stop to that and tomorrow the timing is right – 3-1 to the good guys.

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    That’s a terrific preview which sets the game up very nicely . I’ve put Mari into Kentish Magicians tomorrow and there will be no cost if he appears. I think Arteta will pick Partey to start and put both Gabriels on the bench. Lacazette who heads the Magicians attack tomorrow and Auba must start and Saka will play wide with ESR at 10 .
    The 2-0 win you referenced was distinguished by the Giroud ‘ Scorpion ‘ kick . I think we might see a similar score tomorrow.
    Mrs TTG has vetoed the wearing of my Christmas bruised banana jumper but we got through on Saturday without it. I am apparently ‘ a silly sod’ for believing it has magic powers . I now realise it is a mug in Cambridgeshire which has magic powers although that is no way to refer to the venerable C100 😃

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    We lost 3-0 at Man City when Mari started but he left the pitch injured before we conceded .

  6. 6
    bt8 says:

    Fine beers on the bar to Matt’s highly entertaining preview, TTG’s bruised banana jumper, and an imminent three points if the Osaka oracle’s predicted resulted comes through. COYG

  7. 7
    bt8 says:

    Remiss of me not to roundly recognise Scruzgooner’s cheeky run to the century in the last drinks. Moooooo indeed. 😉

  8. 8
    scruzgooner says:

    ttg, that’s right, but i think that one wouldn’t count. otherwise he has been pretty flawless.

    cheers, bt8, and all. it was a fun run to the ton, i do wish cba were there to tussle it. or even lurky, or oskar the dog…

    i believe in the unseen power of the mug and the rug. and the jumper.

  9. 9
    Goonersince54 says:

    Goals have been in very short supply in this split round of league games.
    Burnley 0 Utd 1
    Sheff Utd 1 Newcastle 0
    Wolves 1 Everton 2
    City 1 Brighton 0
    Spurs 1 Fulham 1
    So i won’t be surprised if our game against Palace doesn’t turn out the same .
    They won’t be coming for anything other than a point, so plenty of patience will be required if we don’t get the early goal.
    Play the same side that won the past 3 league games, they have earned the right to start the game.

  10. 10
    bathgooner says:

    Fine preview, Matt.

    I would keep Marí at LCB rather than replace him with Gabriel on the basis that he is the man in possession and hasn’t put a foot wrong. I’d also play Elneny rather than Ceballos on the basis that while any combo of Xhaka, Cebalos and Elneny lacks dynamism and verticality, Elneny is slightly more fleet of foot than Ceballos which might be useful in helping to deal with the pace of the Palace attack.

    More critically, we must play with the drive and invention that KT3, ESR and Saka have brought to the table in the last four games and the clinical execution that Laca and more recently Auba have rediscovered.

    Just win, Gunners. Another clean sheet would be delightful but any win will do for me.

  11. 11
    North Bank Ned says:

    Great going, OM. Much enjoyed that preview. I think Elneny, not Dani will partner Xhaka from the off but otherwise, I think you have the team nailed. And I agree with Uply@3 that there is no need to risk Partey unless he is 100% ready to play.

    Scruz@1. As TTG mentions, the only blemish on Mari’s winning record is the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Man City on the restart last season when we lost both him and Xhaka to injury in the first half (and the score was still 0-0 when he had to go off after 24 minutes). Otherwise, it is played eight, won eight.

  12. 12
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks all, a pleasure as always.

    no sign of the Elhaka duo since
    the 4-1 win no, course Mo was
    on loan for a season.

    didn’t know about Mari’s lucky
    properties! might be worth the
    money in that case🤔😄

  13. 13
    Osakamatt says:

    I went with Dani at CM simply
    because he was rested completely
    for the Newcastle game. To be
    honest I have no real preferences
    amongst the Xhaka/Dani/Mo
    midfield trifecta.

  14. 14
    Trev says:

    Cheers, Matt – good job !

    I was surprised at the stick Marí took from some fans after his first one or two performances for us. I like his calmness and positionally he has done well. Before Flamenco he had been out on loan to Girona, NAC Breda in the Dutch League and Deportivo la Coruna while actually the “ property” of Manchester City. It’s true he never actually played for City but the moneybags club did recruit him and hung in for three years to see if he would make it. He didn’t, but it should be remembered that he was trying to oust captain Vincent Kompany for a starting berth. Flamenco is probably the biggest club in Brazil and they signed him too……

    So he has amassed a fair bit of experience, even if it was gained out on loan. That reminds me of a goalkeeper we sold recently who, in times of need, stepped up and produced a string of brilliant performances, despite having spent no less than nine years out on loan. Sometimes all you need is a chance.

    As for poor previous results against Palace, one of them at home was suffered by a team selected by Unai Emery designed to save some of our best players for a doomed Europa League mission. At Selhurst Park we should not have lost games but, if memory serves, we had a dodgy Zaha penalty given against Calum Chambers and while it is their job to do so, the crowd there has an amazing effect on their team. Well, they won’t be playing there tomorrow and there will be no fans at all to lift them at the Emirates. In the subdued atmosphere of an empty stadium I quite fancy us for that 4-1 repeat of January 2018.

    Come on you Reds !

  15. 15
    bt8 says:

    Seeing as the newsworthy number of the moment seems to be two, as in doses and impeachments, 2-0 to The Arsenal should just about do it for me.

  16. 16
    Esso says:

    Cheers Matt!

  17. 17
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks OM.
    Any win will do nicely.

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    Great preview Matt. Some intriguing team selection issues. Let’s keep this run going.

  19. 19
    Countryman100 says:

  20. 20
    Trev says:

    Richard Garlick at Arsenal ……

    Is he a descendant of George Allicin…?

  21. 21
    Uplympian says:

    Richard Garlick – Let’s hope he can cook up some tasty contracts.

  22. 22
    Countryman100 says:

    Personally I think it stinks.

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    Can a couple of onions be far behind?

    On another front, the 18 training pictures on the Arsenal website feature prominently Partey and Gabigol, both whose health seems to be on the upswing. The pick of the pics for me though has to be Auba at #13 slipping like a comics superhero through the narrowest of gated spaces. A new training technique destined to bring goals against Palace no doubt. COYG 🙌🏻🙌🏻

  24. 24
    bt8 says:

    Marinara sauce is reffing the game. Not sure that’s what we needed but hopefully Palace won’t have had a pre-match pasta dinner with him. Unless it was lasagna of course.

  25. 25
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Top preview as always Matt. I didn’t realise we haven’t beaten Palace for over two years now. Just illustrates the fact that it is these kind of games we have struggled to win consistently when we have been expected to. The unpredictable nature of the league this season and our terrible recent slump makes it even more imperative to win these games and string together consecutive wins. We are just nine points off third place – just a three game swing which is astounding when one considers what a terrible run we had recently. United have shown that a good run can really make for a quick climb up the league table.

    For the game tonight, I would definitely like to see Mari continue alongside Holding. The pair has worked well and should only be dislodged if the results/performances demand so. Gabriel will definitely get a look in pretty soon because of the closely packed schedule and also the Cup games. On current form and depending on Partey’s fitness, I would like to see a deep midfield combo of Xhaka & Partey. Tierney can continue to bomb down the left flank with Xhaka covering for him and it would also allow Auba to drift in-field from the left wing.

  26. 26
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Classy preview OM. Very well done.

    I hope this one gets the win it deserves.


  27. 27
    North Bank Ned says:

    If we are to put out an allium team (and a tip of the hat to Trev for already naming George Allicum as manager) we’d have to dig up some players from retirement such as Scott Garlick and Ken Leek.

    I’ll get my coat…

  28. 28
    Esso says:

    Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ceballos, Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Lacazette

    Subs: Runarsson, Gabriel, Cedric, Chambers, Willock, Partey, Willian, Pepe, Nketiah

  29. 29
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Why no KT3?

    Any clues?

  30. 30
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Mari very unlucky not to be even on the bench. Unless he is hurt.

  31. 31
    Esso says:

    Not mad about that team. Really hope I’m wrong.

  32. 32
    Esso says:

    KT rested for ‘muscle tiredness’ – no word about Mari

  33. 33
    Cynic says:

    Achey legs for Tierney so rested.

  34. 34
    bathgooner says:

    Uninspiring selection. At least Willian isn’t a starter.

  35. 35
    Cynic says:

    Not mad about that team.

    Sorry about that 80s shite, I’ll make it up to you later on.

  36. 36
    bathgooner says:

    No surprise that KT3’s legs are aching.

  37. 37
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I can’t see anything wrong with that team. What else can the manager play?

    I’d have kept Mari in but Luiz played well against Newcastle and has better passing.

    The midfield looks dodgy but I’m glad Partey is on the bench and it ain’t like Elneny inatead of Xhaka or Ceballos would have made much difference. Without Thomas our midfield always looks dodgy.

    KT3 for AMN is not ideal but if the kid can’t play then he can’t play and AMN is our backup left back. And a good player.

    And he has got the rest, including the front four, spot on.

  38. 38
    TTG says:

    I think Mari’s omission may be because we would have had to fork out £1million to Flamengo if he played . KSE economics .
    It makes sense to rest KT3 after his recent exertions including extra time on Saturday. Palace are tricky and Benteke seems to reserve his best performances for us . I’m much more of a Ceballos fan than most but the lads who will make the game for us are Saka, ESR and Laca .

  39. 39
    bathgooner says:

    True that, GSD. We have a solitary inspiring central midfielder who is clearly not ready for 90 minutes but is at least on the bench for a late run out and a LB who needs a rest who has been our most creative attacking force in recent weeks. MA8 has few options for an inspirational selection. At least he’s sticking with ESR and Saka as starters and not reverting to Willian and Pépé!

  40. 40
    Esso says:

    Maybe over reacting somewhat, we’ll see. Just dont like the way Mari’s been treated. Would like some word why he goes from starter to not even in the squad. Whilst playing pretty well. Hope Luiz passes well tonight, cos if he fucks up defensively …

  41. 41
    scruzgooner says:

    so we are never going to play marí again to avoid paying flamengo?

    good team, i like amn vs zaha potential. and our front four with ceballos carrying water.


  42. 42
    ecg says:

    According to blogs Mari has a slight calf problem.

  43. 43
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:


  44. 44
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Ceballos looks up for it

  45. 45
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    ESR makes a huge difference

  46. 46
    Countryman100 says:

    Ainsley having a bit of a dodgy first fifteen

  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    We started well and with a bit of drive but we’ve settled into a somewhat more Willian-esque style in the last few minutes. AMN needs to sort his passing out pronto.

  48. 48
    TTG says:

    AMN has made more mistakes tonight than Tierney has all season!

  49. 49
    bathgooner says:

    We are suffering an acute syndrome of KT3-penia.

  50. 50
    Osakamatt says:

    aaargh Hector

    took it Laca’s foot
    but then defended well against

  51. 51
    scruzgooner says:

    xhaka having generally a good game. silly foul there, though.

  52. 52
    Osakamatt says:

    rode our luck there

  53. 53
    ATG says:

    Got away with it there, we need to move the ball quicler

  54. 54
    Cynic says:

    Got to wake up here, especially AMN

    I also don’t like seeing Xhaka drop so deep to collect the ball and frequently be ten or twenty yards behind our full backs.

    This is not good so far.

  55. 55
    Countryman100 says:

    Brilliant goal keeping from Leno there

  56. 56
    TTG says:

    Stunning save by Leno .
    We need a Partey to provide more drive in midfield

  57. 57
    bathgooner says:

    The momentum is going the wrong way here after that bright start. Serious improvement required. Why is it always like this against Palace?

  58. 58
    ATG says:

    Great save from Leno

  59. 59
    Countryman100 says:

    Be a good week for Tierney to put in for a pay rise

  60. 60
    Osakamatt says:

    well done Leno
    a decent Palace move but a
    good save.
    we are not creating much at
    the moment though our set
    piece delivery has been better
    I thought

  61. 61
    scruzgooner says:

    mediocre half. xhaka did good and not so good. amn off the pace. esr not in the game. holding/luiz looks good, though i would hope they win more headers. leno excellent.

  62. 62
    TTG says:

    With no Tierney I’d switch Saka and Aubameyang . We are cutting back too much every time we get down each wing . Laca is getting very little service and ESR is being well watched by Palace .Ceballos and Xhaka have done well but we lack drive in midfield to commit them . They are just dropping off

  63. 63
    bathgooner says:

    For whatever reason, ESR’s influence through the middle is negligible tonight leaving Lacazette totally isolated. The service to Auba looked OK early on but has evaporated. I can’t see any improvement except to replace Ceballos with Partey if he’s fit enough. The addition of Pépé late on might possibly add a moment of unpredictable magic but I can’t see what Willian or Eddie would add.

  64. 64
    Steve T says:

    Not a bad first half but we need a bit more cutting edge. We miss KT3 and AMN is not at his best. We have no real threat down the left. Makes it tough.

    Just need to do a lot more and step it up a gear.

  65. 65
    Osakamatt says:

    yes, need to get ESR in the game

  66. 66
    bathgooner says:

    If we haven’t made the breakthrough by 60 mins, I’d throw Partey on for Ceballos to give a bit more pace, directness and power to MF (and help to ESR) and Pépé on for AMN, with Saka moving to LB to link better with Auba on the left and provide better crosses from that side.

  67. 67
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Decent first half.

    ESR quite unlucky with a couple of moments that nearly came off. If they go better in the second half we will be fine.

  68. 68
    bathgooner says:

    Good point, C100 @59.

  69. 69
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Bright start

  70. 70
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Baff @57 is right. We aren’t very cohesive against Palace.

  71. 71
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Much better opening 10 mins

  72. 72
    scruzgooner says:

    we are playing much more sideways and backwards today than recently.

  73. 73
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Partey warming up…

  74. 74
    bathgooner says:

    The absence of KT3 as an outlet on the left and an attacking threat is such an unbalancing deficiency tonight.

  75. 75
    Countryman100 says:

    Pepe on. AMN off. Saka to left back

  76. 76
    TTG says:

    Xhaka is revering to type in giving the ball away dangerously

  77. 77
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I like that sub

  78. 78
    Countryman100 says:

    Partey on for Ceballos

  79. 79
    ATG says:

    We need Partey in the middle asap great defending from Xhaka again

  80. 80
    scruzgooner says:

    hope partey’s leg holds up 🙏

  81. 81
    ksn says:

    A good save by Xhaka. We have to overcome our obsession with backpassing.
    Partey on for Ceballos.

  82. 82
    Steve T says:

    It’s all just a bit slow snd a bit Laboured. Palace defending in numbers and we are too slow trying to break them down. Need to sharpen up massively

    Partey time. Let’s hope this can add a spark.

  83. 83
    ksn says:

    We just don’t know how to get round massed defences.

  84. 84
    Steve T says:

    Our movement off the ball is not good enough. We are making it easy for Palace at times.

  85. 85
    ksn says:

    Holding heads it just out.
    Ayes coming on for them, he scored against us last season.

  86. 86
    ksn says:

    Ten minutes to get a goal.
    Nketiah replaces Laca.

  87. 87
    Countryman100 says:

    Laca off. Eddie on.

  88. 88
    scruzgooner says:

    fucking diver zaha.

  89. 89
    ksn says:

    Zaha dives trying to buy a penalty. Should be a yellow card.

  90. 90
    ksn says:

    Pepe just can’t beat his man on the outside.

  91. 91
    ksn says:

    We need Tierney and we need an equivalent on the other flank.

  92. 92
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    Pepe is useless.

  93. 93
    scruzgooner says:

    sigh. could have been worse.

  94. 94
    ksn says:

    Dropped two points tonight. Don’t know why we struggle against Palace.

  95. 95
    Countryman100 says:

    I would just like to point out that although the mug has lost its 100% record, it is still unbeaten.

  96. 96
    scruzgooner says:

    clearly kt3 and gabigol were needed. and truly, luiz didn’t convince.

  97. 97
    North Bank Ned says:

    Walked to two points dropped. Pedestrian performance.

  98. 98
    Cynic says:

    There was a lot to dislike about that game but my top three would be (in order)

    1. David Luiz playing walking football at the back
    2. AMN failing to take the chance he was given and show he can play a part in this team, albeit in an unfamiliar role. He was sloppy from the first whistle but didn’t seem to be awake. Almost as if he resented playing left back and played accordingly.
    3. Pepe, who added the square root of fuck all after coming on.

  99. 99
    Steve T says:

    Poor performance. No invention and very little threat. I’ve said it before but our work when we don’t have the ball needs to improve. We also need to work out how to break sides down when they come to pack a defence.

    As Smudger said. If you play poorly, don’t lose. The only real positive was Partey getting some game time.

    Onwards and upwards.

  100. 100
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    A very decent point tonight.

    Compared to games earlier in the season where we could not score this was chalk and cheese. We aren’t yet good enough to win all the time but we put in a hard working performance that just needed a bit of luck to fall for us. We created chances and shots but Palace were good, so fair play.

  101. 101
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    Auba was pretty average.

  102. 102
    Steve T says:

    Sod it

  103. 103
    North Bank Ned says:

    KT3 noticeable by his absence.

  104. 104
    bathgooner says:

    Well, that was very frustrating. If anyone could have won this it was Palace who came close on two occasions in the first half.

    -We didn’t lose.
    -Another clean sheet.
    -We learnt that we have better balance and more threat if KT3 is replaced by Saka rather than AMN.
    -Partey got a run out.
    -We learnt that we need more creativity in MF than just adding ESR to a couple of plodders.
    -We learnt that if you don’t get the ball to your strikers in the box you’re not likely to threaten the opposition goal.
    We learnt that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  105. 105
    TTG says:

    Second successive 0-0 after 90 minutes against a pretty limited team.
    We are so slow and predictable going forward . Artetaball involves far too many passes back . Pace of our attacking play is too laboured

  106. 106
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, GSD, and for filling the glass half full.

  107. 107
    Cynic says:

    And to make up for Hall and Oates

    Enjoy your post-match, I’m off to watch Chow Yun Fat shoot people.

  108. 108
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Two points dropped when we should not be dropping them. Whisper it quietly but if Martinelli is fit then Auba doesn’t make it to the starting eleven as far as I am concerned. He brings very little to the team especially when Tierney is not playing. And speaking of Tierney, boy did we miss him tonight. I hope he gets fit for the Newcastle game cause we are going to need him. A good left back as back up for Tierney is a must for the summer. Should have bought a left back when we bought Cedric!

    The intensity with which we started the second half is what is needed against packed defences for a sustained period of time. The first half was painfully laboured from us and has cost us the two points tonight. Thankfully we didn’t have a sucker punch at the other end despite Zaha’s theatrics. Newcastle frustrated us in the cup game with similar tactics, and we should be completely prepared for that on Monday.

  109. 109
    Countryman100 says:

    Well in for the ton GSD. Deserved for your positivity.

  110. 110
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Bath@104, absolutely agree with all of those points especially the Rome one…

  111. 111
    North Bank Ned says:

    This is a depressing statistic:

    the last five players to have 6+ shots in a Premier League game at the Emirates have all been visiting players

    That includes Benteke today.

  112. 112
    'desi'gner gooner says:

    Arteta mentioned in his post match comments that Tierney is injured and due a MRI scan tomorrow!! Fingers crossed on this one 🤞

  113. 113
    Cynic says:

    The thing that concerns me is that I reckon this is more like the way Arteta wants to play. Slow and cautious. Square and back. Walking it out.

    I may be miles off the mark, but if he hadn’t been forced to pick certain players by Covid/illness, do you think he’d have changed much in those Xmas games, or would it have been more of the same?

    Just a couple of last thoughts as Chow loads up.

    PS – How can a team be drained of all drive and creativity by losing its left back?

  114. 114
    Countryman100 says:

    So Pravda reports before the game that Tierney has some muscle tightness and then Arteta says after the game that Tierney is injured and needs an MRI scan. This sort of thing drives me nuts. Why are these bastards lying to us?

  115. 115
    bathgooner says:

    C100 @114, in my experience such inconsistencies are generally due to cock-up rather than conspiracy. In this case it’s probably not even an inconsistency! KT’s muscle tightness almost certainly indicates a muscle strain, most probably in a hamstring or calf. That’s a minor injury and its extent, the concomitant risk of a major strain (pull) and projected need for rest (and therefore time out) should be clarified by an MRI.

  116. 116
    TTG says:

    Luiz was not remotely the problem tonight . He and Holding were reasonably solid . The problem is the speed and creativity of our approach player. Inverted wingers don’t help if they cut back every time you get remotely behind the opposition . Ceballos looked likely early on but faded , Xhaka was ok but added little creativity. Auba has definitely lost confidence . ESR worked very hard but we lost the dynamism down our flanks and Bellerin is very average going both ways . If we are looking to raise money without damaging the squad too much we might look at selling Bellerin , AMN and getting a younger right back with greater mobility and crossing ability . I’m not sure Arteta is good against a low block at home. We are much more effective away from home using the space we are given Only decent home performance recently was against Chelsea where we were indebted to Martinelli, Tierney and Saka, All quick and with good delivery out wide .Depressing evening .

  117. 117
    Osakamatt says:

    Disappointing result after 3 wins,
    we couldn’t find a moment to
    rise above their mediocrity.
    Never mind, on we go.

  118. 118
    TTG says:

    Awful news about Tierney .
    He has been completely overplayed. I share C100’s frustration with our communication .
    Interestingly we have had five players injured in the last season and a bit in pre-match warm-ups. That doesn’t fill me with confidence about our conditioning coach

  119. 119
    scruzgooner says: