I needed a whole day to recover from this result as it really was that bad. Crystal Palace are a team we really should be winning against let alone getting destroyed against and the latter is exactly what happened.
Wenger once again had to play 3rd choice keeper Martinez but he didn’t do anything wrong against West Ham and kept a clean sheet so that wasn’t an excuse for us. Koscielny again missed out though which is a massive miss for us.
The Ox and Giroud (who has a really good record against Palace recently) had to start on the bench which I disagreed with but obviously Wenger thought they could make an impact as substitutes and the other players were more than capable to win the game which they should have.
I was watching the game in the same bar as I watched the Madrid Derby but this time I was the only person watching it with no locals. The channel had Andy Gray and Richard Keys on it which I wasn’t used to and I miss the former in particular as he always did good commentary on sky sports when I was younger.
Typically for Arsenal the team bus got caught in traffic so was late and the players had less time to warm up but we shouldn’t have let this affect us too much and just done everything quicker than usual.
The game wasn’t delayed (should it have been a bit?) and Palace came out fighting (every team always seem to be more up for it against us) and their fans were really loud as they usually are (our home fans should take note!) I thought before the game that their danger men would be Zaha and Townsend on the wings running at our defence as well as Benteke causing chaos in the air against our centre backs. Should Mertesacker have started against him?
Palace got their reward soon on with Zaha doing well on the right to pick out fellow winger Townsend in the middle who slotted it past Martinez. It was pretty poor defensively from us but we’re used to this recently. Would Koscielny have prevented it though?
We then created some chances but Palace defended very well against us (we’ve heard that a lot before) and held on to their lead. Sakho, who’s on loan from Liverpool, in particular defended very well, but maybe we should have had a penalty when he appeared to handball it to deny an Alexis Sanchez shot. Their keeper Hennessey also made some saves and we came close to an equaliser but we went into half time 1-0 down.
Wenger had to change things and bring on Giroud for a different and more aerial threat to Palace’s defence as Welbeck wasn’t really doing it. We also needed more creativity in the centre of the park (if only we had Cazorla) and the Ox surely had to come on before it was too late?
No changes were made straight away which disappointed me but I don’t usually question Wenger’s team selection too much. Nothing changed though for us as we continued to dominate possession and passed it around from side to side without looking very dangerous at all. Palace punished us by adding to their lead from a good goal from ex Arsenal target Cabaye who looped the ball over Martinez. Would either Cech or Ospina have saved it?
We now really had it all to do as Wenger brought on Ramsey first (just why?) and then eventually Giroud and the Ox but it was too late really. I would definitely start both of them in the next game as we need to change things up a bit.
We piled the pressure on but still didn’t really look like scoring. Bellerin should have maybe scored late on but tried to cross it to Giroud who wasn’t on the same wave length. The players in general just didn’t look up for it enough and were happy to just keep the ball which was easily defended by Palace.
The away Arsenal fans obviously got very angry and started signing ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt’ to all the players as well as ‘We want Wenger out!’ I know the fans should always get behind the team but I really can’t blame them when this has happened too many times and the team really hasn’t played anywhere near the way they can. You can really tell that the players are lacking confidence though and I suppose this isn’t helped by the fans on their backs.
Palace then compiled to our misery by getting a penalty after Martinez brought down one of their players. It was perhaps a bit harsh but it didn’t matter and they fully deserved it. They scored the penalty which effectively killed off the game if we had any chance before (no repeat of the Bournemouth game!)
We couldn’t even get a consolation goal as Palace (who should be higher up the table) stood firm at the back and they got a vital three points against us. We on the other hand missed out on a great chance to close the gap on the top four with our games in hand. Losing 3-0 to a team like Palace is simply not good enough. We were a bit pathetic really and it was embarrassing to watch. We always seem to get bullied by teams and get results like this too many times and this desperately needs to change!
So we are still 6th and now three points behind 5th placed Man United who do play leaders Chelsea on the weekend. Next up for us is Middlesbrough away on Monday again (have to wait the whole weekend again!) and we have to win against a side who is really struggling at the moment especially to score. If we don’t then we really don’t deserve to be in the top four and I fear for us.
Arsenal Fan TV was obviously entertaining again with fans going beyond the point of even getting angry any more as it is a bit expected now from us. Change is so clearly needed for us but will it happen? I actually think there’s a lot more chance of Wenger staying now as he will want to end on high but who knows what he’s thinking?
I really don’t know what to think anymore and it has all been a bit of mess and a joke really. Hopefully this will change and we can really try and finish in the top four (no matter how unlikely it seems) and maybe win the FA cup although I don’t think it will make much difference to many fans!
I know we are not doing really badly (fighting for relegation) but a team like us should be doing a lot better and the fans are right to express their anger. The players also have to take a lot of the blame which they have been. I really hope it’s not like the situation with Leicester players and Ranieri where they didn’t want to perform for him and now they are more like the team they were last season under a new manager.
So will it get even worse for Arsenal, or can we somehow still have a decent season and make the fans a bit happier as well as relieve some pressure off Wenger which he overall deserves?