Today was another poor game for Arsenal. Crystal Palace is a club, for me at least, that I view as a feeder of some club legends (Ian Wright and Kenny Sansom) and duds (Eddie McGoldrick). I recall that Gilles Grimandi scored a wonder goal against them, on the way to us winning the 1998 Double. And even Ian Wright scored a memorable goal, which was his 100th for us, against his old side.
Palace also is fast becoming a bogey team for us – and it showed again today. And in some cases, this was the “which wideman should we have signed” derby. We got Nicolas Pepe of course, but then Wilfred Zaha plays for Crystal Palace. And in fairness to Zaha, he did have a part in getting them back into it, after we were strolling at 2-0.
However, the issue for us is poor management from Emery. I believe this is ultimately why we didn’t get the win here.
It’s time for him to go. It really is, in my view.
But then let’s see how this s***show emerged, and from Emery’s own mishaps:
– Team selection
This actually was fine.
The midfield balance of Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Ceballos was a strong one with different traits and competencies.
Lacazette, Aubameyang, and Pepe were the main men up top.
So overall, it was sound.
Emery – So far, so good.
– Strong start, but not sustained
Our two centre-backs, Sokratis and Luiz, scored early on and we were looking good and comfortable.
Pepe had a strong hand in both of them.
But it wasn’t sustained, since until we conceded an inane penalty via Chambers’s foul on Zaha, we were coasting. It was the same old Arsenal, in that an odd and inexplicable error cost us security.
Emery cannot control player actions in themselves. But he can control the overall defensive pattern and mentality. If so, then he’s not really doing it.
He can also control the midfield structure since it’s still pretty weak.
We lost the 2-0 lead since our attitude was lax, and we didn’t really progress the ball in the second half. We were timid, and conservative to boot.
Emery – negative here.
Our captain’s behaviour in this instance was reprehensible.
Though he only shares half of the blame here.
The manner in which the fans treated him was telling too.
He did not have a bad game. He was not outstanding, but I cannot see how he was terrible. Though as a captain, and thus the leader of the side, he has to exhibit a higher dacorum and attitude than this.
People strike when attacked. This is normal as a reaction. However, self-control is key also.
There have been cases where people resisted physical and verbal abuse and not retaliated. The Indian independence movement protests under Gandhi were an example – passive non-resistance helped end British rule in India.
OK, I’ve not compared this incident to a major anti-colonial struggle. But what I’m doing is citing that Xhaka can just take it on the chin and move on. There have been worse incidents that occur, or have occurred, which are more toxic.
Neither the fans nor Xhaka are innocent here, and culpability is firmly shared.
Xhaka should be relieved of the captaincy. He has a future here still, perhaps. But no captain of Arsenal should conduct himself in such a manner.
Emery – not his fault.
– Same old Arsenal
What really has changed here?
Our defending is still poor.
Our midfield balance is still weak.
There’s not much creativity, and we’re still strong going forward and weak at the back.
We’re the same – in terms of attitude and mentality – as under the final Wenger season.
Emery has been at Arsenal for 18 months. And he hasn’t altered us in the critical ways and means.
Yes, we’re fifth-place in the table. And only a few points behind Chelsea in the table.
There also is much football left to play.
But then we’re not progressing in key areas, and the decision-making and inept attacking displays are killing us.
There is an interesting topic on Sky Sports’ “The Debate“, where our own legend Paul Merson describes the situation. He’s not popular amongst some for his views on our side, but I feel more often than not he’s spot on. Our entire shape and structure, attitude, positioning, and covering of ground on the pitch have not enhanced at all under Emery.
What then is Emery doing to justify his continued tenure at the club? It’s weak. It’s peak. And it’s seeing no real sign of improvement and abatement.
It’s time for a change – involving a new head coach for sure.
Emery – entirely at fault here.
Emery – 1 – The team selection was fine. But the second-half performance was without drive and insight, and he must take accountability here.
Man of the match
Pepe. He looked lively in parts, but he was attempting to contribute. I believe the time will come for him.
MarbleHallsTV is an Arsenal social media account on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Been a Gooner since the 90s, inspired by Ian Wright, then Bergkamp, Vieira, Henry, Pires, Campbell, Rosicky, Koscielny, Ozil and Sanchez. A digital marketer/entrpreneur by profession, born in UK living in the Americas now.