It was only a matter of time before Arsenal’s luck ran out

Palace Draw Shows Why We Are Not In the Title Race by Dan Smith

After 11 consecutive victories some people started to question how far Arsenal are away from being title contenders? It’s offensive to everything Pep Guardiola did last season to even suggest such a huge points difference had been closed based on our limited transfer activity. This weekend’s draw with Palace is a proper reflection of where we are currently at. We were below par at Selhurst Park but, it mirrored most performances barring Fulham.

In most matches we have been slow out of the blocks we are (yet to be leading at half time in the League) and too easy for opposition to get at our defence. It’s a bad habit these group of players have had for a couple of years, too many days where they simply don’t show up. It’s unrealistic to expect Unai Emery to change that attitude overnight and he would have known the level of performances meant it was a matter of time before our luck ran out.

‘Uni’s Red and White Army’ are not playing any better than last season but are just stronger in the head. Results have been better then performances so far, but our new boss has done a great job in changing the mentality in such a quick time. In the last couple of years, we lost the art of winning when not playing well, to have managed that already is ahead of schedule. Yet you’re not going to get away with it every time. That’s why our new boss won’t entertain talk of winning the Premiership.

How many games do Man City have where they don’t show up, where key players go missing? That’s the level of consistency we must find long term.

So, Monday Night cheer for City not Spurs, it’s the top 4 we need to worry about, we not ready for a title push yet.
Selhurst Park showed us that.

Dan Smith


  1. Grandad says:

    A very realistic assessment of where Arsenal are currently.Unfortunately until Emery is in a position to acquire quality defenders to replace the likes of Mustafi, a place in the top four is unlikely.

  2. ramterta says:

    You are absolutely right.Arsenal have been lucky very lucky.
    we could just as easily be bettling for relegation atm
    the team an formation needs changing.

    we have too many lightweight
    auba laca and ozil should not be starting together
    guendouzi and torreira should not be playing together.
    and a mustafi holding patnership is disastrouous.

    my team for liverpool would be
    lichtsteiner sokratis holding xhaka
    torreira ramsey
    welbeck ozil iwobi

    our wingers need to track back.
    we need pace on the counter and good hold up play and being clinical in our finishing while the keeper needs to be phenomenal
    in january either a winger or a cm is a must. one who can keep the ball at his feet able to get a good extra touch and can go past players.
    We need to find a way to start controlling games fast.

  3. gotanidea says:

    Agree, Emery cannot change the old players’ tendency to avoid duels and their sulk attittude in a short time

    Mislintat and the other staffs have been trying to bring new players with fresh mindset, such as Torreira and Guendouzi

    It will be a matter of time until they replace the inconsistent players and I foresee it would take several years to do it

  4. Sal says:

    why are we talking title race? we got a new manager and the team is rebuilding would be happy with top 4 and so should all of you!!

    it’s not like we finished 2nd in the past two seasons, also why all the doom and gloom after a draw, didn’t watch the game but based on the highlights they scored from two pens, so why does it feel when i’m reading the last few articles a bunch of us fans who are so supportive when we are winning all of sudden back to slating our own players etc… it ‘s or you support this club or you don’t!! one result which is a draw not a 5-0 demolition should not have you so called fans back on the fence, if we lose so be it if we win then great!!

    yes our defence is frail at times, yes we need more players, yes some players are and will underperform that’s life, ask yourself why does a team like palace pick up points against us well that’s the home support buddy, have you been to a palace game, they got great fans that will push the team for 90 min!! so let’s give the fans some credit and not dwell on the result.

    top 4 should be our target anything more then we are delusional with klopp and pep ready made teams, especially pep look at that average age at man city ,and chelsea looking mighty impressive under serri with an all firing hazard, if we end up 4th or better yet 3rd we should all realize that we are moving forward, a euro cup wouldn’t hurt either but that should be what we demand, anything more is ludacris 🙂

  5. Phelyx says:

    We fans are the one that is killing this club. A draw we started moaning again

  6. GB says:

    It’s not Mustafi we should be worrying about or Holding, it’s the two full backs. How anyone can suggest Lichtsteiner at right back against Liverpool is beyond me. He is a total liability when someone is running at him and when it’s the forwards of Liverpool’s attack, the mind boggles. Xhaka has filled in adequately but that’s all. Unless we get our proper full backs back we’ll get murdered down the flanks.

  7. ozziegunner says:

    If Arsenal had been lucky, Lacazette would have been aearded at least 5 penalties so far this season. Unfortunately he has to be hit across the forward with the cross bar for it to constitute a foul.
    Also Arsenal has continued its bad run with i juries to key defenders.
    There is only one club at the end of the season which can win the EPL. The supporters of the other teams just live in hope. For me personally I just want Arsenal to give of their best and see where it leads us. I try to stay rational about the player resources available, but positive that Emery can bring the best out of them.
    Being a supporter means following the team through good and bad times.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Ozziegunner, agree with your comments and why do I feel Dan has been waiting for this to happen?
      I clearly remember playing Chelsea, coming back from 2-0 down and missing a hatfull of chances….. but of course “our luck ran out” that day as well.

  8. olufunto says:

    A good number of people are just unknowledgable pundits. Funny enough, few of them have taken managerial positions and failed and that’s why they are full-time pundits and not full-time managers.
    Like the unknowledgeable pundits, we have fans and supporters whose assessment is always “glass half empty” rather than “glass half full”.

  9. Andrew E says:

    If we are stuck with this defence after January we won’t finish in the top 4. To be brutally honest we do not possess a single outstanding defender or goalkeeper and we are just trying to paper over the cracks. It is about time the Kroenke’s dipped their hands in their pocket and invest in the club instead of milking it.

    Emery’s done a great job on a shoestring and it would be crazy not to back him in January. It would also help if certain players stopped behaving like prima-donna’s when substituted. The only player from the Wenger era who has enhanced his game is Alex Iwobi and to some degree, Danny Welbeck, I suppose old habits die hard. Maybe it’s time for Emery to ditch a few ‘stars’ in January and start again?

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Sorry Andrew, I can’t agree with your low assessment of Arsenal’s goal keepers Cech and Leno.

  10. benex says:

    Even if Xhaka play is prefer position, I don’t think he can help Torriera hold on to Liverpool midfielders, Because his inability to tackle cost us yesterday, The only attribute I saw in him was the dead ball ability, he sucks in every other aspects. Arsenal need a Large midfield to control the game but where are they, our fullback is a worry with Bellerin and either of Monreal or Kolasinac not fit before the game. I think AMN was a good fullback option with Holding and Soktatis at the center. Someone should tell Emery Auba and Laca combination can’t work less he deploy a 4-4-2 formation.

  11. TW14-TH14 says:

    “It’s a bad habit these group of players have had for a couple of years, too many days where they simply don’t show up. It’s unrealistic to expect Unai Emery to change that attitude overnight”.

    This is the first season in premier league where Arsenal has failed to be leading in a game at end of the first half of any of the first 10 games of the season. You can’t blame this on the ‘bad habits’ of the past. As bad as the last couple of seasons were, Arsenal was more dominant in games (including games we lost such as Stoke and Watford last season) than the performances this season. Our midfield is less cohesive than it was last season and our defence even worse. The only thing that has been as good is the attack and our luck has been much better than in the past (just how did Watford and Everton fail to punish that first half performance at the Emirates?).

    I have said it with consistency that Arsenal hasn’t improved under Emery (he is no Wenger and you will find this out over the course of the season). I do understand the general optimism with the results going well so far, but if you withdraw from the euphoria and objectively analyze Arsenal’s performance and compare it with last season’s, you would find that we’re actually weaker than before. Emirates was a fortress last season (only City was better than us at Emirates last season. Man U were fortunate) but we’ve been very shaky and uninspiring at home so far. Away last season, many of the defeats were actually dominant displays where we were duly punished for either not taking our chances or being very poor defensively.

    We’ve so far been fortunate and our points cumulative does not reflect our quality: it has flattered us at best.

    I stand my ground that Arsenal would finish between 5th and 7th this season.

    For the future, not much would change. I maintain that the narrative that Emery needs 4 to 5 transfer windows is laughable. First, he won’t have the money. Kronke has bought off the club on a 500 million pound loan from Deutsche Bank. He would have to repay it. Arsenal has no major players that they can sell to raise significant amounts of money like Liverpool did with Coutinho. To make matters worse, the ones that could earn the club good transfer money are likely to go on a free transfer (Ramsey and Welbeck). At the end the club would gamble with cheap transfers hoping that they turn out great (Guendozi and Torreira type. And let me state it that there’s no guarantee that both will come good, it doesn’t matter how well they’ve started.). Great players cost quite a fortune these days.

    Secondly, you need to win to keep the big players. Even if cheap buys turn out good, if the club doesn’t win the league or the UCL or even FA cups, they would be gone once the big clubs come calling. What does that mean? We’re back to the post 2005 era.

    Thirdly, can Arsenal compete in wages? Your guess is as good as mine? This means you will be unable to attract big players or keep the ones that come good in the club. Big wages for the big stars (and even just decent ones) have come to stay.

    Lastly, I’m happy that Wenger has left, both for his own peace of mind and the atmosphere at the club, but for all the praise Emery gets now, he’s no Wenger. That former gaffer is a genius. Will Emery come close to his records without the needed investments? From what I saw of him at PSG, I doubt. I know he won Europa league titles but his league and at PSG he won the league but we all know that there’s little competition for PSG at the moment.

    Thanks for reading. Disagreements to my post are welcome.

    1. Andrew E says:

      I am the first to acknowledge that Arsene Wenger did great things for our club and I admire him for that. But he stayed on for too long, his radical ideas had evaporated and it seemed as though he was just going through the motions which in turn rubbed off on the players. I am not saying Emery will win us the EPL but a change was definitely needed to alter the mindset of the players. My choice as AW’s replacement was always Allegri but he obviously did not want to move from Juve or was offered peanuts by the board but that’s water under the bridge and I hope that Emery succeeds.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        TW14-TH14 isn’t it about time you accept that Arsene Wenger has now left the club and won’t be coming back? Can’t you now get behind Unai Emery and the players and look forward to the future, whatever it may bring?
        If not you should start supporting whichever club Arsene Wenger moves to, since it appears you will never be happy supporting Arsenal.

    2. Sal says:

      TW 14 i disagree with most of it i beleive our defence has improved under the regime: the whole team attacks together and defends together, as well as game-plans yes now we got a strategy coming into the game and it shows, better training where the coach is actually involved, i also got to give props for him not using the same strategy as he’s mixing and matching to see what works for us, trying to improve the team every match, demanding more from our players.

      1) you can’t compare emery to wenger as the guy is the longest serving manager i wish it ended for him like fergie but it didn’t so let’s move on still a legend for me as sour as it got!

      what you haven’t focused on which i beleive to be the most important change is the huge difference in coaching styles wenger is like do what you do best on the field and off it alot of freedom given to players whether they are red hot or not , emery is a man manager a coach who is telling you exactly where to play and how to play that way of thinking will take time and not all will be able to handle it just look at Conte now!! should be fine with us as we need to be worked to the ground for once, hard work hard work and more hard work is want i want from my gunners!!

      2) some of players have only been coached in this easy laid back approach, and yes a couple of windows with good buys and we will improve, so give it time you gave wenger a decade to get you a title you think this guy will fail from a dozen games which all look positive , the guy will improve the team that’s for sure especially the young guns!!

      3) when you say consistency yes we haven’t challenged for the title since eduardo in that we are consistent so having a manager who’s benching players out of contract and subbing players when underperforming is an A plus in my book, if you say we finish in a europa league spot i would still be ok with that, wouldn’t call for him to be sacked , nonetheless top 4 is definetly achievable with this squad.

      4) i don’t look at a manager wins at PSG because everyone could win it with that squad and what they add to it on a year to year basis. i would look at the players that where there and what happened to them now: the youngsters in defence marquinos and kempede look decent and have been given a run in the team they are better players today, rabiot is another player who emerged under emery he’s looking pretty decent as a player his attitude that something else, Lo Celso was given game time in this star studded side. the most improved for me was Cavani, his ball calls are the best in the game his movement is much better than he was at Napoli, don’t get me wrong he’s made some mistakes like signing that polish guy who ended up at west brom but he is known to improve a team and maximize it’s effectivness Sevilla winning 3 times in a row might be lucky but that’s not without hard work, how many times have i read people asking for Banega to be signed well credit Emery for his development as well , and that back four at Sevilla with Nzonzi i think protecting it was no walkovers.

      5) Most of our squad would sell for over 30 mil in this market under the right circumstance so what are you talking about?

      6) when it comes to contract situations we can definetly pay have you seen the TV rights alone, and if we finish top 4 then that’s just an influx of money into the coffers, it’s not like we are spending where they end up is up to Mr. Moustache as he owns us now, all of us 😉

      so relax watch us win ugly, watch us be lucky but one thing is for certain hopefully we will get to the stage of being proud of the effort put in whether we win or lose, the vibe that we had at Highbury or sometimes on away games,

  12. Grandad says:

    With respect GB are you really suggesting Mustafi is ok? I agree with your comments concerning the need for upgrades at full back but Mustafi is the common denominator for all that is bad in the Arsenal defence.He lacks stature,presence, composure, positional sense ,speed , makes poor decisions but that apart he is excellent?.The sooner he can be unloaded, and that will not be easy, the better for Arsenal.

  13. benex says:

    I guess Wenger virus as affect you sorry to say. Wenger is a great manager I accept that, but he is an underachiever to me, With his lengthy years of service how many silverware did he manages to accumulate , No European glory, many wasteful and fruitless seasons. If you think was on the wrong part I suggest you should stop watching football, I recommend Rugby will be better for you

  14. jon fox says:

    Top article Dan. And realists like you and I will be cheering City tonight. And not just because of anti – Spuds sentiment either. City will still comfortably win the title in my view, despite Liverpool and Chelsea while we , at best, will be fighting for fourth place with Spurs and United. Fantasists, who think we can challenge for the title, will disagree but they never can stand realism.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      jon, I agree with your assessment; however what is life without hope?
      Every supporter lives in hope that their club will be successful. To some it may be to win the league, in which case only one club will be successful; to others it may be to reach a Champions League place; to others it may be that their club avoids relegation.

  15. Innit says:

    Our defensive line < City, United, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and maybe even Everton

    Bellerin isn't great at defending but good as a winger.
    Our CB (other than Koscielny who is now injury prone) are NOT good enough other than to be squad players. We need players at the level of Stones, Azpilucueta, Mendy, Vertonghen, Coleman, Cahill , Baines etc.
    We should not need to play Xhaka on the left

    Our defense will cancel out are strong attack and be the reason we won't finish Top 4

    UNLESS Emery sorts it out in January somehow

    1. January get 2 defenders- a reliable CB and quality Fullback who can play left/right. Sell Ramsey

    2. Summer. Replace Ramsey with upgrade. Get a Top winger and top CB. Sell average players or players not up to snuff

  16. mas says:

    yes we drew against palace but like@ phelyx said we shouldnt be moaning cause of one game .we played a draw away from home .dont forget that chelsea drew at westham dont really expect us to win like 20 games ina row

  17. Mikki says:

    Although Arsenal didn’t play well yesterday but as for me we deserved to win if not for the wayward pass from lacazette that create room for crystal palace to counter and which finally resulted to a penalty against us….lacazette denied us 3point yesterday…. Ozil is a very good player only when arsenal on top of their game but when they are struggling he is no where to be found because he is not a game changer,substituting aub for Ramsey was big mistake,Ramsey has nothing to offer…we must be realistic we are far behind others in terms of quality players, we don’t have consistent players…we ne….d to laud and applaud Emery for the work that he is doing right now,

    1. Dory says:

      I agree. Some fans are moaning a draw away from him with a quality side. Other top teams have drawn or will in the coming weeks as well. It’s part of a bigger picture. And yes, it hurts yesterday because we had the 3 points until Laca made a very poor decision with his back pass. And Xhaka reacted instinctively to try to win the ball. That coupled without Zaha’s flop lead to the penalty (which could have gone either way).

      So be it, it’s a draw away from home after 3 games in 6 days and 12 consecutive matches we are unbeaten. City, Chelsea, and Pool will all falter against lesser Opponents in the coming weeks too. It just happens. Hopefully we can keep building and winning when they do and we will surely challenge for the top 4 if not more.

  18. Twtt says:

    A bunch of helmets on here thinking that we have a right eleven consecutive matches without the involvement of 11 solid players. We have been lucky at times I admit but some fans just love to rain on our parade. If you won 37 games and lost the last one they’d still find reasons to label our team as ‘lacking in several aspects’ or ‘weak defending’ , the works. When will some fans learn to enjoy the wins we earn after every match?

  19. Midkemma says:

    Winners never draw with lesser teams… Not like City drew with Wolves is it, oh wait…
    Too early to tell anything atm, City could suffer from some bad injuries or they could burn out after christmas… They could go the whole season unbeaten…

    It is too early to tell.

    Just to point out, if City do lose to the spuds then they have drawn to a lesser team, like us, yet they lost to a top 4 competition team rather than a genuine title challenger, we lost to genuine title challengers… We would be 1 point behind them and all to play for.

    We could grow from strength to strength.. oer we could fail to deliver.

    It is too early to tell.

    I am not writing Arsenal off though, LCFC beat City to the title remember! They are such a strong team but they are not guaranteed the luck needed to win the EPL.

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