Can Arsenal see off Palace’s threat? by SE
It’s fair enough that Football is a game of glorious uncertainties on the pitch, but off it – you would think that there’s a lot more stability and calmness surrounding Football clubs and their administrative proceedings. However, Pulis walking away from the club last night – on the eve of a brand new Premier League season – tells you a completely different story altogether. And, that should turn out to be a huge factor in tomorrow’s game, which, until last night, was going to be a litmus test for Arsenal. It could still be a test for the North Londoners, but this incident is expected to have an impact on the Palace outfit, which walks out to the Emirates tomorrow.
Last season, ever since Pulis took over, Palace were a tough team to beat. They were defensively compact, tactically set out to counter-attack against big teams, for which they had the right personnel.
They visited the Etihad stadium, where the eventual Premier League champions were irrepressible in their goal-scoring form, and making a mockery of the visiting teams by hitting them for 5’s and 6’s. Pulis’s men however, resisted a repeat of such derision from Man City, and even though they narrowly lost 0-1, they had to be proud of what they mustered.
They rendered the same pattern of match at Stamford Bridge, and were the better team in the 1-2 reverse against Mourinho’s men.
Going to Emirates tomorrow, Palace will set out to be defensively impenetrable, and will play on the nerves and emotions of their superior opponents. Albeit they might not lineup in two walls of four players each, Palace could demonstrate a game plan closer to that pattern.
Visiting teams at venues like Emirates, Anfield and Etihad will ensure that they don’t go out of the contest early on in the game, and Palace will be no different in this regard.
Albeit the Eagles will bolster their lineup with pacey forwards to make use of counter-attack, Arsenal’s defense will have to hold out too. Koscielny is expected to be fit for tomorrow’s game, which would be a huge boost for the Gunners, but you still feel that Arsenal’s defense can be intimidated when you have pacey forwards running at them.
Also, being a home side, it’s natural to flood players forward to score goals and stamp your authority on the game, but Wenger’s men need to be defensively prudent. Normally, Arsenal’s full backs in Debuchy and Gibbs can be very good going forward, but defensively they will have to render resistance. Chambers is certain to start, and you don’t want him exposed against the likes of Bolasie and Puncheon, with Debuchy buccaneering forward to aid Arsenal’s attack.
This is the kind of game that stresses on the significance of the 1st goal of the match. Any team that scores up front will have a distinct advantage over its opponents. If Arsenal find that first goal early on, they will go on for more, and Palace could come apart, both defensively and offensively. On the other hand, if the inferior team scores, it could play on the emotions of both the players and spectators.
Patience will be indispensable for Wenger’s men, who, irrespective of the kind of threat Palace might render, should win, and secure all three points in their first league outing of the season.
Bottom line is that Arsenal ‘should’ see off a beleaguered Palace outfit.