The positive, we didn’t lose and we didn’t concede, the negative, we didn’t win. To say the performance was a disappointment is an understatement. Having seen a buoyant Arsenal over recent weeks, the tired looking, crab like football returned and we can’t even blame Willian or Pepe. AMN had a stinker at left back, Luiz kept hoofing the ball over the top or passing sideways/backwards and the rest of the team seemed to follow suit. When we did get forwards, we lacked the kind of pass or finish needed to take all three points. Palace hit the woodwork, Leno make a great save but other than that, Zaha was out to prove he was the best diver in the league although Vardy might have something to say about that, or Pogba.
It’s easy to say ‘we missed Tierney’ and of course we did but he’s a left back for goodness sake. We shouldn’t be relying on him to create our goal scoring opportunities. Our subs bench was Thomas Partey and then a few others who have hardly proved to be game changers this season and didn’t again last night.
Our best moments probably came just after the break, just after a stern few words from Mikel Arteta no doubt. Bellerin came very close to grabbing a goal but his shot went cms wide, Saka and Holding also missed opportunities to score, just as Aubameyang had in the first half. AMN did really well to jink past a couple of players before taking a shot on goal but his effort was straight at the Palace keeper. He was replaced by Pepe soon after. Saka dropped into left back and with it, our creativity from the right was gone. Partey came on for Ceballos, Nkeitiah for Lacazette and that was about it.
I know I seem to be defensive of AMN but as much as he struggled last night, can anyone really accuse him of not trying? How does a right footed player fill in for a left back who we’re used to seeing excel? A right footed player who barely gets any game time. In my opinion, Saka isn’t the answer either because we need him further up the pitch.
Tierney has had a scan today and according to reports in The Athletic, he is fine. However, what happens if he does suffer a bad injury and is ruled out for a few weeks? Surely Arsenal to sign a left back, even if it is on loan. Unless Bola is ready and able to accept the challenge. After all, why else would he be called back from his loan. Shuffling players around is unavoidable sometimes but having allowed Kolasinac to leave this month, there has to be a plan in place surely? We’re half way through this winter transfer window already.
Mari missed out last night as he too is injured and it looks like he’s going to be out for a few matches according to Mikel Arteta. Thankfully though, Gabriel is back.
Mikel Arteta has also been talking about the imminent arrival of our new director of football, Richard Garlick.
We lost Huss [Fahmy] at the start of the season. He had a really important role because it is a very important link between myself, Edu the technical director, the board, Vinai. We needed a person with a lot of experience, who knows the job really well, has all the connections in English and international football. As well, someone that can bring some ideas and some qualities that we believe are required to [run] the business the way we want. I am really excited. I met him. He is certainly the candidate we wanted and now we have to respect the process. He is at the Premier League at the moment and we will see when we can get him.
Well, if he can help put an end to our players running down their contracts and leaving for free then great. Equally important though is not signing players who see the club as a retirement home, or rewarding older players with huge contracts.
Anyway, Newcastle up next so hopefully we’ll get back to winning ways.
See you in the comments.