After the Golden Eaglets had ran 5-0 riot over Iraq in the FIFA U17 Worldcup in UAE, my football shifted focus to London where Arsenal would be at Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace. I missed the first 15 minutes of the game but watched as the Gunners won gritty-ly. A penalty from Mikel Arteta after Serge Gnabry was scathed down just after the break and a late Olivier Giroud goal was all the North London table toppers needed to stay on top. It was not as easy it seems, these are my takes:

The Midfield Looks Bare Now

With Flamini wobbling off after just 8 minutes with a groin injury, the feeling of insecurity at the middle began in my arsenal hearts. The Dortmund loss replayed continuously as the palace boys threatened with attacks. Worse was to come with Mikel Arteta getting a straight red for obstructing Chamakh. Our two best DMF are out and we have Chelsea, Liverpool and Dortmund next. who would fill up these big holes. I have spoken about Flamini’s important and it is not surprising that the games Arsenal had struggled, he hadn’t played. We missed him against Dortmund and against Palace.

It is just unbelievable that we would miss Arteta and Flamini for Chelsea, and the latter for Liverpool unless a certain Baba somewhere does some voodoo-ic magiac to revive our fiery frenchman. The midfield now look bare even if Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey man these positions. we have no option than to work hard and hope. Jack and Aaron have started to drift forward, would they be disciplined to stay behind like Arteta and Flamini?

Was it Red?

Arteta was not last man, and was 40 yards from his goal, and nor was his challenge an act of violence. The Spaniard defended himself on ArsenalPlayer thus:

“It was a very harsh decision to send me off,”  “Chamakh kicks my fight foot, I have seen it on television. It is 40 yards away from goal too.”

“It is true that I tried to block him with my hand but then he came with his left foot into my right calf and then we were both on the floor. It was never a tackle from me.

“It was the most important period of the game. There was always uncertainty we could always get caught. When we scored the first we were on top of the game, that decision changed the game and we were in trouble. But thankfully we held the result, we scored a second and we won the game.”

Wenger has even said he is not appealing the red card thus Arteta would miss one game. I only wondered if Chamakh would have raced through on goal if not for Arteta. Wouldn’t Koscielny had made life difficult for him. would he even score? well he may but I praise Arteta for not giving him the opportunity.

whether it is red or not, I praise Arteta for taking the Red for the team, you never can tell what would have happened.

Out of Ideas or Fatigued.

The gunners looked outpaced and out of ideas at Selhurst park. we may have had more possession but we just like against Dortmund felt comfortable not biting. we hardly threaded the passes forward and failed to connect when we needed to connect. we lacked a cutting edge even in the seemingly better second half. A more wicked team would have punished Crystal Palace in the second half with those opportunities despite being one man down.

I wonder if we are already fatigued or still wallowing in the defeat to Dortmund. Ozil didnt wave his magic ward and Cazorla seemed unfit. We are yet to see Cazorla’s magic this season. hope he get his play right and make a wonderful combo with Ozil. we just look out of place but nothing like a 3-point in a bag.

Wojciech Szczesny, the saviour.

Virtually everyone’s man of the match was the Pole. When Palace seem to have garnered momentum, Szczesny kept them at bay. According to Andrew Mangan:

That one-man deficit allowed Palace to get back into the game, and only for some amazing goalkeeping from Wojciech Szczesny, they might well have got an equaliser. He made one fingertip save which led to a corner, and moments later pulled off one of the best saves you’re likely to see this season.

It was his punch from the corner that fell to Mile Jedniak just outside the Arsenal box. The Palace man volleyed it perfectly toward the top corner but Szczesny, with Olivier Giroud in his way, backpedaled and got a strong hand on it to prevent the equaliser. On such moments are games won and Arsenal have their keeper to thank for Saturday’s result.

Although brilliant play from Aaron Ramsey created the game-clinching goal for Giroud, Szczesny’s save will rightly be seen as the difference between the two sides. The Pole’s recent form has been excellent. He’s flying under the media radar a bit, which is probably no bad thing, but he’s proving that Arsene Wenger was right when he decided to stick with him this summer.

Olivier Wants More

Just like the legendary Oliver Twist in literature, our Frenchman has gone hungry for goals and flicks. Bombarded by the media last season, Giroud has now gotten 5 goals and 4 assists in 9 premier League games this season. You could see the way he raced down to head in Ramsey’s cross for the second goal. The excitement he exhibited was so passionate. he wanted to even take his shirt off but… I have a good feeling that he would score more than 20 goals this season. Watch out.

Others

Mauroune Chamakh faced his former team and performed well enough to ruffle the feathers of the back4. He was always threatening in the air but did miss some opportunities to put Palace ahead. overall he was a threat but many are skeptical that he would ever convert a chance. poor Moroccan, the poor-boy-ronaldo. I loved him at Arsenal because he always did what he did to Arteta: get some booked, especially the RED and even a PK.

Nacho Monreal came in for a cameo role and he was Messi. A goal from his shalom run would have entered the list of goals of the season. Koscienly was solid, Metersacker missed a meterception but was ok. Sagna was a beast, so was Gibbs. Three points from Two crystals gotten at their Palace.

We remain top of the league but i must mention Suarez’s hattrick to give Liverpool a 4-1 win over Westbrom. Manchester United came from behind like Fergie’s era to beat Stoke 3-2 and Shitty were Mourinho-ed at the bridge 2-1. I thought they had the strongest team. In the El Cashico, Barcelona won 2-1 and did i tell you of Zlatan’s Four goals in the Champions League. Roma is still 100%: Gervinho things.

We face Chelsea next on Tuesday night in the Capitol One cup. Who would Wenger feature? First team, Second team or a mix?

Follow on twitter @soccergunz

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