3 decisive moments…. Positives, Needs and Hopes
Well, that wasn’t easy but that’s good for us.
Will help us prepare for more difficult games.
Three decisive moments decided the outcome.
Mr. Rash had obviously been missing his close relationship with the grass and so decided to make a visit via whacking Kouyate.
How long will Mustafi survive?
For me, Lacazette’s handball was made a non call by the shirt pull on him.
The third moment was similar to Vardy at the Emirates last season. He did make contact with Zaha but Wilf initiated the contact as much as Xhaka knocked him.
It bothers me when commentators simply look for ‘contact.’
Not all contact is a foul.
* Last season we lose that. Probably by more than one.
Our grit deserved a point against arguably the most physically strong team in England. Even their best player is a physical monster but more on that below.
* Much more comfortable playing out from back.
* Leno was one of our best players. Dealt with multiple crosses very well in a crowd of strong, aggressive Palace players.
Looked like he’d been working on this midweek.
* To be fair to Mustafi he had a lot to do today against a fabulous player in Zaha and he played well.
If I was the coach I’d make a highlight reel of all his good blocks, headers and decisions and show him how his risk taking is spoiling good performances.
* Positive that Zaha didn’t run at Xhaka more. I think he stayed on the left to keep Bellerin from attacking.
Also, I’m glad that Zaha didn’t release the ball earlier on multiple occasions. He attracted between 2 and 4 Arsenal players and to his credit his strength is admirable. If he’d of released it we have 3 players hustling.
* Like Mustafi, Xhaka was good today until his moment. His free kick was spectacular of course, even though a keeper standing on that side should have done better.
* Before he went off, Bellerin was taking up some dangerous positions.
We missed him which is a credit to his improvement.
* It is so nice to not be worried at half time. The pattern of being a very strong second half team must be a mental hurdle for opponents.
* My 8 yr old son Maxwell knows more about football than I did at 20.
He has spotted that Auba ‘scores but doesn’t play well.’
I tell him that this is ok as long as he keeps scoring.
He’s ok with this 😆
* Not sure that last season we have a player make such an important professional foul as Guendouzi did in the last minute.
* Tactically I think that game is different if we play the 4-2-2-2 we played at Fulham.
I think if Auba is upfront and we play some early direct balls behind then Palace’s midfield plays with less intensity as they have to drop 5–10 yards to help their back four.
* Personal preference but I’m a believer in starting fast. The biggest difference maker in high level sport is often the mental side. First 5 minutes your opponent decides how they feel about you. Palace is an intense place to play and I feel we encouraged them.
In my Sporting blog I talked about Emery’s plan to be cautious first half and win the game in the changing room at half time.
I also mentioned how we win as we are fitter.
What I didn’t mention is that we seem to save our dynamic, energy sapping attacking runs for the second half.
We can’t complain about our points total but against Liverpool maybe we find a balance…..
Start fast first 20 much like we did a few years ago vs Utd when we won the game in the first half of the first half. Then save energy last 15-20 mins of first half.
Use the crowds energy, Unai!
* Soon we will be bemoaning the marking at set plays. Bellerin was marking one of their biggest players much like he was against Maguire last week.
Please change this Unai.
* First half we needed to alleviate pressure with 1 touch combinations.
* Laca needs to relax. Not scored in last couple of games but that’s ok. He was rushing today.
* Initially, I felt that Guendouzi was rattled by the physicality of Palace.
He stuck with it and didn’t lose his head either.
* If we continue playing 4-2-3-1 then here is a thought.
As we transition to attack I’d prefer Iwobi and Auba switch.
Auba closer to Laca and able to get in the box.
Iwobi is better 1 on 1.
* Iwobi looked off balance and clumsy today. Wonder why?
* We need Torreira to offer his incisive forward passes again.
* Lacked the offensive spark today. Hold up play, movement and quicker passing.
* That Mateo Guendouzi keeps his place.
* That Lacazette gets minutes against Blackpool and gets a goal.
* That we build on this positive start by going after Sergio Ramos.
Last week on Football Daily, Guillem Balague stated that Florentino Perez at Madrid is looking to move him on as he has too much power.
Sergio Ramos is probably the best centre back in the world.
We’d need CL to attract him I’m sure.
* Whilst Zaha is the topic, I want him at Arsenal.
So so dangerous.
I’m sure that the price is the hurdle because he is a Gooner with a point to prove (Utd failure) and he’d start at Arsenal where he’d be a squad player at a bigger club.
* On the same topic, I’d go for Ndidi as a back up to Torreira and Wan Bissaka as strong competition for Bellerin.
What do they call teams that win easy and difficult games?
At 2-1 that was my blog title.
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.