Right, so we’ve got the monkey off our back now and we know that we don’t have to keep winning and extending a run that was always likely to end even though it was a bit disappointing to have been against Palace. But in all fairness, it’s difficult to justify that we should have won that game. As has been the case for most of the season, we labored in the first half and it was no surprise that Palace managed their first home goal for the season in injury time to take them to the break one up. Mustafi’s lunge was somewhat ridiculous and he truly is becoming a liability at the back. If reports are true of there being no real need to buy in the January transfer window then methinks Messrs Sanllehi and company may need a rethink. Currently Holding and Sokratis are the two central defenders that we can rely on and dare I say it, the returning Kos does not inspire great confidence in me due to the time he has been out of the game plus his gradual decline over the past couple of seasons. Add to that that we have had Xhaka filling in at left back and I think the cheque books need to come out in January, be it to bolster our attempts to achieve European glory and return next year to the Champions League or to bolster our attempts to achieve a top four spot and return next year to the Champions League. Personally we would be crazy not to complete the job that the purchase of Sokratis has started.
Scoring twice in 5 minutes early in the second half was also a typical Arsenal reaction that we have seen this season but as the game wore on it was becoming more and more obvious that Palace would make a breakthrough, which they duly did courtesy of our first goal-scorer Xhaka. Something of a debatable penalty but that’s the way football goes and it will happen to other teams when we play against them. Swings and roundabouts. Leno made a good attempt to get to this one but Milivojevic placed it tight into the bottom left to guarantee Palace their second point at home this season.
Looking forward to our next games this week and similar to our last week of Carabao Cup action when we faced the two fords (Brentford and Watford), this time round it’s the two pools and it’s the Black one in the Carabao Cup that we take on first on Wednesday. Emery put out a fairly strong team against Brentford and played three defenders that went on to start the weekend game against Watford. Blackpool are a League One side, so in a league below Brentford, and my expectations are that he will not risk a similar set up although looking at who’s available to play at the back it may be a case of beggars can’t be choosers. Looking at the squad list of defenders, we can write off Bellerin for both games, thus that leaves Lichtsteiner who must be kept in reserve for the Liverpool game and Jenkinson. So we’ll pencil the latter in. As said, Sokratis and Holding need to be held back for Liverpool and that leaves two from Kos, Mustafi, Mavropanos and possibly Elneny, Take your pick – two coming back from injury may end up on the bench leaving Mustafi and Elneny to start. Then on the left we have Monreal, Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Xhaka.Maybe AMN with Monreal in reserve to get a bit of game time later on? So already at this stage of the season we find ourselves in desperate straights with our defense, an area that we know we have been lacking in but only managed to bolster with one purchase in the off season. Plus we loaned out Chambers! Midfield and up front is a happier story and let’s hope Unai gives the youngsters a chance with Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketiah raring to go. Oh and let’s not forget about the goalie who I expect will be Petr Cech.
Then, onto Saturday evening and it’s the Liver one. Now I don’t want to sound like the prophet of doom but I have my reservations about how well we will do in this game. All credit to the Arsenal for their eleven match winning run, but we have not come up against a team of the same quality as Liverpool in that run and being realistic with what I have seen in our games so far, I can see Liverpool running riot in the first half, being the slow starters we are. I would be overjoyed if we got a point out of this game and bursting if we got all three but I still don’t think we are defensively up to it to keep a Liverpool at bay. I think we have the capability up front and with the open game that Liverpool play we will have our chances and the only way we will get that one or three points is for us to take our chances when offered! A bit like the Qarabag game, snatch and grab and hold on for dear life at the back.
That’s about all I can say about the weekend’s game. It will be exciting and I know we will all be screaming our lungs out for the team in red and white, but remember, we are still a team in transition, we have a manager that has been at the helm for just fourteen competitive games and we are improving. No matter what the result, realise that those eleven players on the pitch plus the guy on the sideline waving his hands and arms madly around in all directions are giving their all and we can’t ask for more than that.
Well, that was a short stay at the top for last week’s FPL table topper, Andrew Bray. Now we see His Excellency Sir Max Mohapeloa’s CHESA MPAMA FC moving into top spot equal on points with Richard Mackenzie’s WOLVES OF WITKOPPEN plus he tops this week’s scoring leaderboard too with a well earned 91 points. No Arsenal players in his side and that’s probably why he was able to hit such dizzying heights. This is how the top of the league is looking:
Chesa Mpama FC His Excellency Sir Max Mohapeloa 620
Wolves of Witkoppen Richard Mackenzie 620
Sons of Pitches Eugene Cardoso 612
In the Superbru league, the top two stay the same and third place sees a new face. MinolanGP top scored with a useful 18,5 points, four more than GunnerChris who was second in this round. MinolanGP jumped 11 places to 13th
position – nice one MinolanGP 😉 The top of the Superbru league looks like this:
Two games this week, but the Wednesday match against Blackpool is a Carabao Cup encounter and thus will not be televised. Saturday is going to be a big day and we have the patio reserved for the match so get there early to avoid the rush. Think we will do a raffle as well on the day – prize will be a PUMA Men’s Arsenal FC Stadium Jersey so get your money (cash is king) ready. They’ve moved the clocks back in the UK so kick off is at 7:30 pm local time so why not earn yourselves some entries into the seasons draw for the Air Ticket to London and a match ticket of your choice for an Arsenal home game, c’mon now, get on down to The Brazenhead and have yourselves some fun,