Four things we concluded, Crystal Palace vs Arsenal by Kandy
1. Emery got his subs wrong.
As soon as I saw our final substitution it worried me a bit, if that’s not an understatement. First of all, the remaining players on the pitch don’t have, in my opinion, the ability or coherence to play with each other, especially when trying to see a game out, and well, at least not in that formation. Their link up play is not fluent or decisive, you have Torreira, Guendouzi, Welbeck, Ramsey, Iwobi and Lacazette remaining on the pitch, and with that final overall shape of the formation, you just knew that a goal for Palace wasn’t far off.
It’s a process and the coach is still trying out a few things, but with those players it’s evident that he should have at least changed the formation to 433/4321 with Ramsey, Torreira and Guendouzi in the midfield, the left and right central midfielders to help our fullbacks when Palace were attacking from the flanks. The threat they possessed was clear, our fullbacks were vulnerable. Iwobi wasn’t really helping at all, he was tired and he should have left the pitch for much fresher legs in either Mhkitaryan or Smith-Rowe, just to add creativity. Torreira did his job excellently.
2. We really need a speedy winger in January.
Honestly, I think we would have scored more goals if we had one coming off the bench to finish teams off in the last 20 minutes, it was evident against Palace and for most of the past games. A winger that will leave tiring defenders tired and wishing they had been subbed off. Oxlade was good at that, but he’s long gone. These games that Raul is trying to play about “we’ll see, if an opportunity comes, we’re gonna go in the market” should stop, a speedy winger would have increased our chances of creating goals by running at those tired defenders, we need one in January, and it should be a priority, not an “if”. Palace was a reality check and we were fortunate to leave with a point considering the chances they missed and build up to the second goal, glad it happened now rather than later. We have to improve our first half performances.
3. My boy Mustafi does like a sliding tackle, doesn’t he?
I really don’t have a problem with that, but his timing worries me at times, especially in the box, but hey, no need to lash out on the guy, he just got unfortunate, I think. He doesn’t really do well under pressure does he? But who does? Rob is solid so far, one would be forgiven to think that it’s Mustafi that’ll be dropped when Koscielny or Sokratis are ready to start.
4. Should Monreal and Bellerin have played for the entire 90 minutes?
I think we would have created more chances, with their overlapping runs and link up play with our forwards and midfielders. Xhaka’s movement was restricted, he couldn’t really go higher up because of Townsend’s pace and to be honest, he isn’t exactly the type of guy you want to see overlapping, although he does have good deliveries, considering that he is new to that position, he had a pretty decent game, and the strike, Looord. He should have grabbed an assist too from the cross that Ramsey somehow failed to make contact with, but overall it is what is. We’re out of fullbacks and we face Liverpool in a few days time, what more could be worse than that atm?