Arsenal have given up their control over their top four aspirations today, and must now rely on their rivals to slip up.
The Gunners coach had to make a number of changes after Thursday night’s trip to Napoli, and alarm bells were already ringing when we saw the starting line-up, with Jenkinson, Mustafi and Elneny involved. and unfortunately those worries were justified.
Shkodran Mustafi is due an extended run on the bench, having been largely disappointing this term, and his mistakes are piling up in a position we seriously cannot afford them. He was directly at fault for at least the Zaha goal, where he tried to block the forward’s run instead of actually going to clear the ball himself, and allowed him to run past to the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat. This was the crucial goal which put them back in front at 2-1, and also proved the turning point as we had been largely on top in the second half up until then.
The other goals were down to our inability to deal with set pieces, with a direct free kick finding Benteke for the opening goal, and a corner being knocked on McCarthur for their third.
We did manage to score two goals of our own, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil scoring in the second half, but you have to say that the away team deserved their win, and our defence was by far and away the resulting factor.
Did Emery really name his best possible XI? Did Emery underestimate Palace? Will he now have to give priority to the Europa League with Chelsea and Spurs in the driving seat for a top four finish?
What I do know is that we will all be Burnley fans tomorrow night…