What a weekend for sitting out in the sun and enjoying an early summer. Blue skies all around and I should be happy. Unfortunately, a cloud hanging over AFC is spoiling my mini holiday. I have read Mike McDonald`s excellent article and he very succinctly describes his dissatisfaction with Mustafa. I don`t think I could describe his mistakes against Palace any better than he has. I have to ask however that Emery sits him down and asks him why, when he was in front of Zaha with the ball at his feet, did he choose to abandon the ball and step aside to give their dangerous attacker a free run and shot at goal. A goal, which put us behind again after Ozil had single handedly, brought us level!
In my last article, I stated that Emery must have learned a lesson from the Everton match, i.e. that he cannot play Guendouzi and Elneny in the same team. If we play them as two of a three in midfield, we end up with no midfield. I was just in time to see the kick off without knowing what the team selection was and I could not believe my eyes when I saw them on the field together. To make matters worse, we had Jenkinson and Musatfi on as well. Recently Mustafi has had some decent games at right back and I would not have minded if lack of options forced Emery to play him there, but he also picked Jenkinson on his flank. Now Jenkinson is Arsenal through and through and he would run a marathon just to get a game. Unfortunately, he is also devoid of subltety. His feet won`t do what he wants them to when he gets the ball (and loses it). That is not good at the best of times, but when Palace fielded their best and most dangerous player against him, it was inviting a disaster. With Mustafi as his lifeline and back up, the chance of rescue in those moments was extremely unlikely.
It was painful having to watch Palace make light of our defence and uncontested in midfield where Guendouzi typically ran all over the place with no purpose or plan. There was no chemistry between him and Ozil who was his best option to make things work and Elneny was simply not on the same wavelength as him or Guendouzi. Kolasinac was collecting scraps, charging up the field, and firing missiles along the ground into the penalty box, which was devoid of any Arsenal players except Lacazzette. He was fighting a lone battle, which became more and more heated as the game progressed. Amidst all the havoc, poor Ozil ran his socks off to locate the ball himself as he rarely received a decent pass from anyone. To his credit, he scored a solo goal of pure talent and industriously supplied passes to his colleagues with little or no avail. The frustration for him led to him having several contentious arguments with the referee and I was really anxious that he was going to be yellow carded for his dissension.
When the third goal went in, I was beyond consolation. The confidence I had had before the match melted away. The dreams of being re-united with St. Totteringham`s day frustrated again and it is back to the grindstone to battle for the crumbs with Man Utd. and Chelsea again. I had not been over-cautious because I honestly believe that we are better than Chelsea and Utd have collapsed again. Spurs though are facing the situation and battling for their rewards. They have a constant team and even without Kane, they are playing to a set plan that works. They also have a slightly easier run in than we do.
Please Mr. Emery, no more silly selections. Please put Mustafi away for the season before he does irreparable damage and let the sun shine again on AFC.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.