Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Arsenal: Lucky or a decent performance?

Crystal Palace Arsenal 2015 meme

BPL Season 2015/2016: Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Arsenal

Review by a Malaysian Gooner

Sorry for this late post. I was extremely sick after returning from a street food trip from Penang. I wasn’t able to muscle myself to watch the entire match but the whole of first half and extended highlights should be enough for me to talk about it.

Alexis Sanchez’s return to the starting line up has provided the team with a threat of penetration and a sense of urgency. He replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whom, I felt, did more than the rest in the loss at home against West Ham last weekend. Arsenal’s fastest sprinter, Hector Bellerin, was fit and back to take Mathieu Debuchy’s unproven place at right back position. Mesut Ozil was opposite of last weekend’s performance, with 98% pass completion, loss the ball only once apparently and his cross assisted for Olivier Giroud’s brilliant goal, almost like a half-bicyle-like volley as he had to reach the ball that was coming towards his back. Somehow this was the one that’s scored when the players and Giroud himself could’ve scored much easier chances from the great plays and counters.

Giroud goal vs. Crystal Palace 2015

Crystal Palace, like West Ham, did not sit back. Everyone has a chance when you’re up against the big side that’s popular for breaking down and being suicidal against almost any team. Palace’s Zaha was quite a physical and acceleration threat, a bit like how Chelsea’s Drogba was but it was Joe Ward who’s got the equaliser for his team. Santi Cazorla was caught ball-watching when he could’ve helped close Ward down for his wide open ground shot from outside the box. No idea where Francis Coquelin was. And Petr Cech? He has shown that he’s quite ordinary so far. If he can’t save some of these to help the team when they made mistake occasionally, then what was the point of signing him?

I did not watch the second half due my illness but the highlights show that we almost conceded at the beginning but was saved by the post and Coquelin should’ve been sent off. Wenger and the fans were arguing that the first yellow card in the first half wasn’t just, but even if that’s true, he was indeed already booked and therefore he should’ve been more careful. The two changes to the starting line-up combined to force an own goal by Delaney. Non-hesitated cross by Bellerin to the far post which Sanchez was determined to reach jumping over the defender to head it down onto Delaney’s foot right in front of the goal which bounced into the top corner.

Sanchez header goal vs. Crystal Palace 2015

It did seem like a lot of luck in this win, but not without a combination of a much better line-up and performance compared to last weekend. Bellerin and Sanchez certainly made the difference, including Ozil’s inconsistent turn-up. Most of the players, in overall, were still sloppy and seemingly unfit or just undetermined, as though they’re overconfident instead of the lack of it like they used to a couple of seasons ago. Hopefully Wenger noticed this and would do something about it.

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Next up, Liverpool at Emirates Stadium, 3am Tuesday, Malaysian time, fuck… Most probably wouldn’t stay up for it unless I have not much work to do. Anyway, everyone needs to step up their game if they were to win. It’s not going to be the same as these first two matches. If we lose, well, the only bright side I could see that Arsene Wenger may be pressured to finally sign a striker. Apparently our bid for Karim Benzema was rejected and after watching Real Madrid’s recent highlights, I don’t see why they’d want to sell him either. But we do need an improvement from the central strikers that we currently have now.

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