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This will be the last time in the author’s chair for me this season as we consider that on Wednesday 19th May the team heads to Crystal Palace for the penultimate league game of this campaign.  

Breaking News: before going any further, this late addition to wish Roy Hodgson all the very best in his possible retirement. He has only said so far that he is stepping down at Palace and stepping away from football for a while – he would never say never, but the tone of the interview was very much that he will be retiring. A very decent man who surely everyone will congratulate on an extremely long and varied career.

Following the easing of government COVID-19 restrictions, Crystal Palace will be allowed 6,500 fans back in the stadium for our visit. To be fair to them, they do get behind their team, and their raw vocal support and Wilfried Zaha’s inner ear problems have made life more uncomfortable for us in the past than perhaps it should have been. No matter. Football has to be the winner to get fans back in the grounds and this is a start.

Trophies and titles are a long gone possibility for us this season, but a trip to the Palace normally involves awards – so what sort of awards could we possibly be looking to pick up after our footballing knights have had their swash well and truly buckled during one of our most disappointing seasons for many years.

An OBE perhaps, Ordinary, Boring and Enfeebled as we have been, or maybe a CBE, Confused, Blunted and Exhausted by the never ending changes to team selections, tactics and fight backs from a succession of early conceded goals. Our owners might pick up a KBE for the Kroenkes Banjaxing English football.

I have advanced notice that our midfielders and defenders have shared a Lifetime Achievement Award for the highest number of backwards and square passes ever recorded in one season, while Willian has won a special mention for his Services To The Environment, as he has conserved more energy this season than the remainder of the entire squad put together. In addition to his energy conservation efforts, he has also managed to reduce his emissions to zero, and not produced one single drop of polluting sweat over the 36 games to date. The awarding panel, fortunately for him, decided not to consider unnecessary polluting air travel to Dubai, as it was not officially sanctioned by the club. Ahem! 

So what can we hope for from this end of season, local dust up? We come into the game as the slightly better form side, having won our last three, while Palace have won two of their last three with a loss sandwiched between. Our last victory was as welcome as it was unexpected, away to Chelsea, with a very good, committed, defensive performance resulting in an old fashioned one – nil to the Arsenal. Palace’s last outing, played four days later than ours, resulted in a 3-2 home win against Aston Villa.

We currently sit in 9th place in the league, with Palace a mere four places below us in 13th. We have 11 points but only 10 goals more than they do. The big difference is in the goals against column – we have a third best in the league record of 38 against, while Palace have conceded 61. Those stats would encourage me, were I the manager, to throw the kitchen sink at them, and make those VAR boys really earn their ill gotten gains by having to pore over a proper hatful. However, I am not the manager and Mikel is not prone to throwing kitchen sinks. Better that though, than passing endlessly round the U-bend of doom and leaving us all with that kitchen sinking feeling.

We can also apparently expect to see the team all decked out in next season’s away colours – pretty much plain yellow (good), resplendent with the old cannon on the chest (also good), albeit with black Adidas detailing (not so good) rather than blue. They all have to, don’t they? Overall it’s quite nice but I struggle to see our old 1971 kits being bettered – home or away.

What colours Palace will be wearing is anyone’s guess. Red, blue, black, white, grey … they all form a part of the present whole…? Palace played in claret and light blue until 1973 when they underwent a Barcelona inspired change to dark blue and red. Their crest was also changed from a plain shield featuring the crystal palace, to a vaguely Spurs influenced eagle on a football on top of the crystal palace. The eagle was reportedly inspired by Benfica’s version of the same bird and ball. What a hopeless lot of old copycats. Has it worked out well for them ? On balance they might say so, I guess.

The Arsenal 

David Luiz and Granit Xhaka appear to comprise our injury list, with Mikel Arteta saying that both are working hard on their rehabilitation and continue to be assessed ahead of the final two games of the season. Despite the hopes, there is no clarity on whether either will play any part as yet. Physioroom dot com have Hector Bellerin also listed as injured with a “knock”, no set return date but a 50% chance of being fit.

I would expect Arteta to play the strongest possible eleven, given that there is still some remote possibility of making it into the Europa League. The team I would like to see given injuries, illness, end of season experimentation, rumours of players leaving etc., is: 


Chambers, Holding, Mari/Gabriel, Tierney

Elneny, Partey

Saka, Smith-Rowe, Pepe


Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson has a longer list of crocks to cope with. Nathaniel Clyne, Patrick van Aanholt and Luke Milivojevic are all rated 50% likely to be available after illness and family issues, while James McArthur, Connor Wickham, Nathan Ferguson and Mamadou Sakho are all ruled out.

The Holic Pound

Odds seem to have settled around 6/11 on an Arsenal away win, 18/5 on the draw, and 29/5 on a home win for Palace. So the bookies have decided we are going to win and you never see a bookie on a bike. If you don’t fancy a win at around 1/2 on, Paddy Power – other betting firms are available – will give you 10/1 against either a 3-0 or a 3-1 win to the Arsenal.

Kick off for this one is an unusual 19.00 UK time. TV is on BT Sport. Referee is Anthony Taylor. 

Enjoy the game, Holics.

If you haven’t yet read ‘Fan Memories of the ’71 Double’ Part 1 or Part 2, Clive’s ‘Personal Memories of the Road to the ’71 Cup Final‘, or Ray’s ‘Personal Overview of the 1970-71 Season‘, click on the links to catch up with these wonderful reminiscences. And be sure to watch both Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the video conversations with Bob Wilson and Pat Rice; Episode 2 is also linked below. Our auction of signed memorabilia is still open and about to enter its final week – check out the items below.


And again…the second part of the conversation, and the second part of our Double Celebration!

GHF.com are pleased to release this, especially considering the Arsenal events of these past few weeks. Lift your spirits by watching the second episode of two video conversations with Bob Wilson and Pat Rice about Arsenal’s 1970-71 Double year, on the 50th Anniversary of our FA Cup win over Liverpool at Wembley. Remember to donate to Willow, or bid on the GHF.com Auction!

Click on the image below (or on the Youtube link below that) to watch

“Episode Two: Double Glory — The 1971 FA Cup Run”

Or, watch here: Episode Two: Double Glory — The 1971 FA Cup Run (on Youtube). This is especially helpful if you’re having any loading issues with the link to the one the site is serving above.

Let us know what you think in the “drinks” section below!


We are also pleased to remind you that our auction of signed 1970-71 Double memorabilia is open for bids through 23 May! For full information, please visit The Double/Willow Auction tab above.

Just a taste…the lots offered are as follows:

Lot 1: A 1971 Cup Final replica shirt signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 2: A 1971 Cup Final programme signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 3: A second 1971 Cup Final programme signed by Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Frank McLintock, George Graham & Charlie George.

Lot 4: Bob Wilson’s autobiography, ‘Behind the Network’ signed by Bob Wilson & Arsène Wenger.

All proceeds from the auction go to the Willow Foundation.

115 Drinks to “Time to Storm the Palace, Gunners!”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    Last Trev preview this season, and an excellent one at that. But what of the puns in the off-season?

  2. 2
    ksn says:

    That was a fun read, Trev, thanks. Though the odds may make us slight favourites, we have found Palace a difficult team to play. In the nine games between the teams starting Jan 2017, we have won three, lost two and drawn four. The last three have been draws. So, a tough, even game in prospect. They have plenty of pace in Zaha, Eze and Mitchell and the three combine very well on the left side and our slow defenders Holding, Chambers etc., will have their work cut out protecting our goal. 2-1 to the good guys.

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    Leeds’ win at Saints means we must at least draw with Palace to go back above Leeds in the table. Oh, the dramatic tension.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    Not sure exactly what it says about Manchester United’s attack that the only goal they are able to muster against relegated Fulham is scored on a 50 yard lob by a 35-year old striker but I suspect it is not good, or drawn up exactly to plan either.

  5. 5
    bt8 says:

    A draw at Palace would also assure us of a top half finish with one match still to play. A loss to Palace and another on the last day would mean Villa could still beat us out for 10th.

  6. 6
    North Bank Ned says:

    Puntastic, as ever, Trev.

  7. 7
    TTG says:

    This was a fixture that carried a lot of significance to me when I lived within walking distance of Selhurst Park. I had lots of Palace- supporting friends and one who is still a close friend had part of his eye removed last week following a cricket injury over forty years ago . I know there are long waiting lists but…. He messaged me today to say he will have a one-eyed view of the game ! His sense of humour is still intact.
    Palace have been diabolical at home this season and we have been pretty good away from home but we often struggle against Benteke and he is belatedly coming into form . I think this might be quite high-scoring maybe 4-2 to us

  8. 8
    bt8 says:

    Re: the Willian conservation of energy award, check out his flatfooted posture in #8 of this week’s 25 training photos on the dot con. Perfect form documented as such: https://www.arsenal.com/news/arsenal-train-ahead-crystal-palace-trip

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    Looks like Laca took Auba’s hat at #13

  10. 10
    scruzgooner says:

    nice, trev, though the “u-bend of doom” has me shaking my head.

    if luiz doesn’t play tomorrow, he has our ultimate to appear in or his arsenal race has already been run.

  11. 11
    Osakamatt says:

    Thanks Trev, an enjoyable preview
    I wouldn’t play Ryan as he is on loan
    and happily it seems Leno will be staying.
    Auba can start too but apart from that
    I like the starting XI. 3-1 would suit me
    fine too at 10s COYGS!!

  12. 12
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Trev for an entertaining preview of our penultimate match of the season. Palace have given us some tough games of late with results rarely going our way. The retiring Roy certainly manages to get results from a team that on paper should be second best.
    I hope MA8 decides to play a team with next season in mind – let’s not play those who will not be with us for much longer. In theory we should be good enough to come away with a pleasing result – 2-0 to the good guys if they decide to turn up!

  13. 13
    Bathgooner says:

    Great preview, Trev.

    Like Matt, I like your team but I would play Leno and Aubameyang in the hope that we can still secure the St Totteringham’s Day trophy. I would play Pépé on the right, Martinelli on the left and allow young Saka to put his feet up for at least an hour until he is required to rescue his elders again.

    4-2, TTG? You’ve been making Airfix models again haven’t you? This team hasn’t scored 4 in far too long. Another good ol’ 1-0 to th Arsenal will do me though it’ll shred my nerves again.

  14. 14
    Osakamatt says:

    “this team hasn’t scored 4 in far too
    It’s only been a month Bath 😄

    Still, I suppose a month is a long
    time in football

  15. 15
    Sancho Panza says:

    With nowt to play for for either team I think we’ll run out 3 nil victors.

  16. 16
    Bathgooner says:

    Matt @14, you are indeed correct. I had ignored our games in the second rate UEFA knock out trophy. It’s over three months since we scored four in the league, against Leeds. I have to confess I hadn’t checked and it does feel longer than that.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Well, take out that Leeds game and it’s more than a year.
    Must be due another (he said optimistically)

  18. 18
    Esso says:

    Cheers Trev!

  19. 19
    TTG says:

    We got three goals at Leicester, West Ham and Southampton, as well as Benfica, Olympiakos and Slavia Prague ( four) . They are all better than Palace . It’s at home we can’t score !

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    Interesting stats Re our home and away form . We have scored 55% of our goals away from home. That sounds grander than it might because we’ve only scored 50 ! But it will be 54 tonight!

  21. 21
    Esso says:

    Leno, Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Elneny, Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Aubameyang

    Subs: Ryan, Cedric, Mari, Xhaka, Ceballos, Odegaard, Willian, Lacazette, Martinelli

  22. 22
    scruzgooner says:

    well done on choosing the team, trev. let’s hope the yellow shirt and the spirit of ’70-71 win the day.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    There is a chance that almost half that bench won’t be with the club next season.

  24. 24
    Esso says:

    Willock scores for Toon!

  25. 25
    ksn says:

    The atmosphere is charged and so different with the fans in the stadium.

  26. 26
    Trev says:

    Cheers fellas,

    Come On you Rreedddssss / Yeellooowwwwwssss. 3-1 to the mighty Arsenal !

  27. 27
    ksn says:

    Terrible challenge on Chambers and just a yellow given, could easily have been red.

  28. 28
    Bosnian Gooner says:

    Straight red!!! That was outrageous

  29. 29
    ksn says:

    Ward kicks KT but no card, but an Arsenal player would have been given red for that.

  30. 30
    Countryman100 says:

    KT3 hacked to the ground with the ball dead. Nothing. Not a card, nothing.

  31. 31
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    What is Anthony Taylor up to?

    He is such a bad referee.

  32. 32
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Excellent preview Trev. Cheers!

  33. 33
    ksn says:

    Their plan is clear and simple. Get the ball in the box and Benteke will head it in and it working as it is putting a lot of pressure on us.

  34. 34
    ksn says:


  35. 35
    Trev says:

    One-nil !

  36. 36
    Countryman100 says:

    Superb goal!

  37. 37
    ATG says:

    Get in Pepe

  38. 38
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Great goal!

  39. 39
    ksn says:

    Great backheel by Saka and pin point pass by KT and Pepe taps in.

  40. 40
    ATG says:

    Straight red elbow to the face ffs

  41. 41
    Countryman100 says:

    Now Benteke hits Elneny in the face. But no red card. Of course. Taylor is having a mare

  42. 42
    Trev says:

    Any Arsenal player hits out at the chin with a forearm, it’s a definite red.
    Benteke does it, it’s yellow.

    And Peter Walton is a complete joke – his explanations… pffftttt

  43. 43
    ATG says:

    He missed his face but the intent was there

  44. 44
    Trev says:

    The constant justifications given against us are plain ridiculous

  45. 45
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I loved the Palace fans booing KT and Saka… as they combined to setup a peach of a goal.

  46. 46
    Trev says:

    Hit his chin Artur

  47. 47
    ksn says:

    Benteke’s elbow on Elneny should have been another red. Anthony is bent on not giving one to a Palace player and spoiling Hodgson’s day.

  48. 48
    Trev says:

    Nice flying spreadeagle from Townsend.

    Once a Spud I guess

  49. 49
    ksn says:

    Arsenal edge it by a goal at half time. Palace extremely lucky to not get a red or two.

  50. 50
    Countryman100 says:

    Another glorious goal. While Palace were booing them Tierney and Saka combined beautifully. Good finish by Pepe as well.

  51. 51
    scruzgooner says:

    one-nil to the arsenal! on a super goal, the one-two, the backheel, the cross, and the volley all excellent. i do hope we open the second half with an early goal, just to demoralize them, then a couple more as we go through the half.

    in theory they could be playing with 9 men. certainly should be playing with 10. taylor is a prat.

    but villa are ahead against tottenham, st. totteringham’s may still be on!

  52. 52
    scruzgooner says:

    and villa wins. excellent.

  53. 53
    ksn says:

    Spuds lose to Villa at home 1-2. But fucking Wolves lost to Everton by a goal. They were lucky to beat us but lost to everyone else around us in the table.

  54. 54
    ksn says:

    Kane going around the stadium alone to acknowledge the fans. Looks like he will leave next season.
    Willock sets an EPL record by becoming the youngest player to score in six consecutive league games.

  55. 55
    Trev says:

    Townsend is a spud – other four letter words are available

  56. 56
    Trev says:

    Well done, Joe Willock 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  57. 57
    Trev says:

    Aubameyang doesn’t look fit to me

  58. 58
    Countryman100 says:

    Incredible how Kieran can beat almost anyone over five yards.

  59. 59
    ksn says:

    Benteke scores after Partey gives away an unnecessary free kick near our penalty area.

  60. 60
    ksn says:

    They are not showing the side on view while checking for Benteke’s off side. Bloody VAR.

  61. 61
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Our set piece coach strikes again

  62. 62
    Countryman100 says:

    Those Palace fans are making a difference.

  63. 63
    ATG says:

    We concede then we go to self destruct mode

  64. 64
    ksn says:

    Auba is not very effective in a central role. Laca getting ready to come on for KT.

  65. 65
    ATG says:

    Partey has been partying too much

  66. 66
    ksn says:

    Xhaka on for KT and Gabi on for Partey. Difficult to understand Arteta.

  67. 67
    Countryman100 says:

    Wierd subs, again.

  68. 68
    ksn says:

    Palace haven’t lost the last home game of the EPL?

  69. 69
    ATG says:

    Arteta ongoing confusing subs, he’s testing his new theories yet again…

  70. 70
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Woeful second half from us.

    Can our odd subs pull something out of nowhere?

  71. 71
    ATG says:

    FFS we have no clue have we….

  72. 72
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Are we Palace in disguise?

  73. 73
    ATG says:

    Painful to watch

  74. 74
    ksn says:

    Auba has a very limited repertoire of ways to score, his general game is no good and he abhors getting into a physical battle just like Ozil. So when his scoring form is poor he is a passenger.

  75. 75
    Countryman100 says:

    I just don’t think he’s fit ksn. Malaria is a debilitating disease that takes a long time to shake off.

  76. 76
    ATG says:

    Can’t Elneny put a damn cross?

  77. 77
    ATG says:


    If he aint fit shouldn’t be on the pitch…

  78. 78
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Auba has been rubbish. I’m sure he is still not fully recovered. But why was he not subbed ages ago?

  79. 79
    ATG says:


  80. 80
    ksn says:

    Get in, Gabi!!!!!

  81. 81
    ATG says:


  82. 82
    Trev says:

    Fuck off Zaha

  83. 83
    ATG says:

    Fuck off VAR!

  84. 84
    Countryman100 says:

    Yay Gabi!

  85. 85
    ksn says:

    VAR couldn’t find a way to fuck it.

  86. 86
    Trev says:

    Well done VAR – sucked all the joy out of that

  87. 87
    ksn says:

    Great pass from Odegaard.

  88. 88
    ATG says:


  89. 89
    Trev says:

    I said 3-1 🤣

  90. 90
    ksn says:

    Great win and three points. Pepe score and makes it 3-1.
    Congrats Trev.

  91. 91
    ksn says:

    Pepe scores…
    Not a great performance but a great result.

  92. 92
    ATG says:

    It’s been a while since we beaten them away

  93. 93
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Get the fucking fuck in!

  94. 94
    bt8 says:

    Only saw the last half hour but oddly enough I wouldn’t have minded missing the first twenty of those. Great goals for Martinelli and Pepe in the end though brought home the goods. 👏🏼👏🏼

  95. 95
    Countryman100 says:

    Say what you will, Pepe has had a good second half of the season. He still has occasions when the ball rebounds off him and he’ll never be the silkiest of players, but he can do sublime things and score sublime goals.

  96. 96
    North Bank Ned says:

    Put that in the column for three points when you need them regardless of how you get them.

  97. 97
    scruzgooner says:

    for most of this game we were woeful, and should have been flushed down trev’s ubend.

    but the goals were all luscious by us, and while they had more shots and played more on the front foot in the second half, palace were equally poor. benteke should have been done for the push on elneny and not gotten their goal…

    st. totteringham’s and europe are, amazingly, still on. let’s hope the hammers lose…

  98. 98
    Esso says:

    Pepe is class. Very disappointed in his lack of minutes this season.

  99. 99
    scruzgooner says:

    yep, esso knows. he has been covering more on defense, too, this season. look for him to get to his terrifyingly good self next year.

  100. 100
    Countryman100 says:

    Since Christmas, only Manchester City & Manchester United have got more more points than Arsenal in the Premier league. It was the first half of the season that did for us.

  101. 101
    Countryman100 says:

    And after two goals in the last five, slips in for a cheeky ton.

  102. 102
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@95: To your point, one goal in 478 Premier League minutes in the first 19 games of the season; six goals in 1,044 minutes since.

  103. 103
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the ton, C100.

  104. 104
    North Bank Ned says:

    Pepe not keeping up with the goal machine that is Joe Willock, however. Six in six for our loanee now.

  105. 105
    bt8 says:

    Classy pre-assist and assist, Esso and Scruz for C100, the FITB. Nice teamwork guys.

  106. 106
    Countryman100 says:

    Do you know what I’m looking forward to next season? Not having to listen to these tosspot commentators anywhere near so often. I appreciate not everyone has that option when following the Arsenal. Giving up my season ticket has not even crossed my mind and I’ll be in for every away game I have enough credits for.

  107. 107
    Countryman100 says:

    FITB Bt8? Google says Fill In The Blanks.

  108. 108
    Countryman100 says:

    Ah! Fox In The Box!

  109. 109
    TTG says:

    The report is with you

  110. 110
    Countryman100 says:

    Re FITB. They don’t don’t call me lightening for nothing. 🧐

  111. 111
    North Bank Ned says:

    Or First in the Bar?

  112. 112
    North Bank Ned says:

    How much do you have to pay them? 🙂

  113. 113
    Countryman100 says:

  114. 114
    Countryman100 says:

    Ned @ Nelson – Guinness all round!

  115. 115
    scruzgooner says: