Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal: 4 Questions & Answers
Arsenal secured a hard fought 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Here, Gunner333 asks four important questions and answers them from the game
Arsenal secured a hard fought 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Here, Gunner333 gives us his thoughts on the game.
Since the Gunners’ mid-week set-back against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, many Gooners can be forgiven for wondering whether Arsenal’s exceptional start-of-season form was going to fizzle out over the next two or three weeks. Some felt the game against Palace was a must win, as tricky encounters with Liverpool and Man Utd are just around the corner.
With Ian Holloway departing the Palace dug-out after a 4-1 demolition by Fulham on Monday night, there was the sense the home side would exhibit a new style of play in this game. Rare appearances from Guediora and Thomas signalled this may have been a possibility.
Just eight-minutes on the clock and Matthieu Flamini was forced off with a groin strain, young Gnabry was the man to replace him. Few chances arose in the first period and Arsenal went into tunnel frozen at 0-0 at the break.
The second 45′ told a different tale and a rash challenge from Moxey on Gnabry forced Chris Foy to point to the spot. Spaniard Mikel Arteta took it and cooly converted past Speroni to fire the Gunners ahead.
There was no real fight-back from Palace, that was until ex-Arsenal forward Chamakh panicked the away team causing Arteta to ‘take-one-for-the-team’ and clumsily pull the Moroccan to the floor. A red was awarded to the goal-scorer and Wenger’s side were reduced to 10.
The extra-man proved a real advantage for Palace as they forced an outstanding double-save from ever-reliable Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal. Jedinak following up on Ward’s pile-driver from the edge of the box but the young Pole was equal to them.
After scoring on Tuesday Olivier Giroud scored his second in as many games when a delectable chip from Aaron Ramsey was nodded home by the French striker in the dying minutes. The game wrapped up through an excellent goal as Arsenal remain top for this week at least.
Here are four questions I feel reveal how we won the game:
Q1) Is there any pressure on Super Szczesny?
With our back-line being pretty solid of late, the Pole-in-goal Szczesny has had very little to do in shot-stopping. Viviano, signed in the Summer on loan, has yet to make an appearance for us but will ultimately be battling Fabianksi to trouble Szczesny in goal.
Today was an especially solid performance from Wojciech, emulated by his terrific double-save. Some fans are saying the added competition from Fabianski and Viviano is pushing Szczesny to up his game, and on today’s evidence they might be right.
Q2) Do we now have a plan B?
Over the past few seasons some sides have unpicked our beautiful passing play and our ability to change tactic and use a ‘Plan B’ has been questioned. Something which has notably changed this season is our ability to adapt our style of play to penetrate on the attack and kill games off.
An example of this against Palace was through our second goal. Just one up and under some pressure from the home side, we managed to seal the victory through a header unravelled by a brilliant yet unusual cross from Ramsey. Giroud certainly offers us something up front that we haven’t had for a long time, and that’s an out-ball. We can hit him early and he has the power and aerial strength to win his duels and hold the ball up.
Q3) Stability or Alteration?
Wenger’s introduction of blending domestic youth with foreign experience has paid off recently and he is seldom selecting the same bias game-after-game. Perhaps a positive but maybe a lack of continuity in selection will in future disrupt our progression.
Already this season we have used 24 players before the Palace game, and are still not introducing the likes of Vermaelen or Rosicky to our plans regularly. Change is good but the hub of the team should remain the same in order to be successful. Key to this could be finding out best central midfield pair and sticking to it, especially in the big games.
Q4) Will we come unstuck in the big games?
So far, so good. We have strung together a number of terrific results as well as showing we know how to play the right way when required. Every player seems in sync with each other and specific players [e.g. Rambo, Özil, Giroud] are outperforming other world super-stars.
More cynical football-fans will stress that these results come through not playing any tough matches and there is no merit that comes with them. As mentioned, we have United and Liverpool coming up so perhaps we can silence these negative few with some impressive results. ‘Come on the Arsenal!!’
Thanks for reading and feel free to suggest any questions which I may use in future articles.
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