By Bulldog Drummond
And so the FA Cup (won by Arsenal for the last two seasons and tipped by Untold – although probably no one else – to do it for a third successive season) has started with matches including the likes of Leicester Nirvana, Coventry Sphinx, Jarrow Roofing Bolden CA, and West Allotment Celtic.
Meanwhile we have news of Chuba Akpom scoring: Chuba scores. We rarely post videos here, but that one is worth watching.
The general feeling from last weekend was that Cech was having a nervous first day out, against a State Aid team that was all fired up and ready to roll after playing in and getting knocked out of the Europa. So he made an error for the first goal, it played on his mind and he made a bigger error for the second goal.
There is even the admission among the slightly more literate members of the press that with Alexis Sanchez back there will be the extra width that is needed. Play Alexis one side the Theo the other with Giroud in the middle, and you have a good balance.
Mr Wenger made an interesting comment about last weekend saying, “If you want to say our aggression level against West Ham was not big enough, then I would agree with you. It’s maybe linked with the fact we were too confident and that we thought we would win the game anyway.”
Never mind there are always the old favourites: the transfers. The Telegraph might be trying to back track for it has ‘Krychowiak Arsenal move in doubt due to injury’ which I suppose is better than saying, “we made it all up in the first place”. But the Metro says, “Midfield deal imminent, dream striker close, top playmaker clear to sign”.
On the injury front the news is much the same as before: Welbeck, Rosicky and Wilshere. Jack is supposedly making a very quick recovery, Welbeck a puzzlingly slow one, and Rosicky’s knee injury keeps him out til November.
On the other hand Alexis Sánchez has plugged himself into the mains and is now supercharged and ready to roll. Mr W called him “hyperactive”.
“I am a bit worried but I knew before the start that once he is here, he would be difficult to stop. So I gave him a long enough break. He had four weeks off, which is quite reasonable.
“In March, April, May you could see he was a bit jaded. But he is still a guy who can be decisive in a game. Once he is out there he gives 100%. This season, he knows what is expected from him and he will do better than last year.”
Palace have injuries to Chamakh, Speroni, Appiah, and Campbell.
Our team today could be any number of possibilities, depending on where you see the problem was last weekend. So I’ve done the unthinkable and dropped Ramsey and the Ox. Undoubtedly not what is going to happen, but I think this team looks rather smart.
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Debuchy
Alexis, Özil, Theo
This leaves out Ramsey and the Ox. Fighting it out on the beach will be some of Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Chambers, Gabriel, Areta, Flamini, and either Oxlade-Chamberlain
The last time that Crystal Palace beat Arsenal in the league at Selhurst Park was 1979, and we had a stat like that against State Aid Utd and lost. Here’s how it looked in the last three…
- Crystal Palace 1 (Murray) Arsenal 2 (Cazorla, Giroud), Premier League, February 2015
- Arsenal 2 (Koscielny, Ramsey) Crystal Palace 1 (Hangeland), Premier League, August 2014
- Arsenal 2 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 2) Crystal Palace 0, Premier League, February 2014
In fact we have won our last five against them, and scored at least two in each of those games and it is 12 games since they beat up. But the similar sorts of records were true against State Aid United.
Palace have just won their last three games in the League and we are undefeated in our last six away PL games.
Speaking of the game Alan Pardew said, “Arsenal’s manager has enough experience to use that negative [against West Ham] last weekend as a positive this weekend. It’s difficult to stop them but we need to play our game. Generally, our performance at Norwich was below our best.
“We want more control in games this year. We want to wrestle control from Arsenal. Our strength is as a counter-attacking side. Unfortunately that won’t be enough against some teams, we need to be more than that.”
And Mr W replied, “Every defeat makes you a bit smaller, but it is our job to take it in perspective with 37 games to go. We have a big following and disappointed people are emotional, that is understandable and it hurts us as well to disappoint people who have a high level of expectation.
“We have analysed what happened to us, but we don’t have to go overboard with what happened. It is a defeat and it hurts, but that shouldn’t take away our belief in our potential.”
Crystal Palace have never won their opening two matches in the top division. And rather amazingly Alan Pardew has equalled the most number of wins by a Crystal Palace boss in the Premier League (11) even though he has only been in charge for 19 games.
But also Palace have lost half of their 10 home games under Pardew (W4, D1, L5).
Now I must admit I picked that snippet up on the BBC website, and it all seems a bit odd to me, but maybe that is just how it is.
Anyway, here’s a nice positive to finish with:
Arsenal have won 42 points in 2015, a joint-league high with Chelsea. Let’s build on that.
Two anniversaries from the olden days…
16 August 1925: Arsenal FC finally bought Highbury Stadium – which until that point had been leased. It meant that Sir Henry Norris was no longer under an obligation to return the ground to its previous state at the end of the lease.
16 August 1927: First reported use of numbers on players backs, over a year before Arsenal tried it out. Arsenal worked hard to popularise numbering, but didn’t invent it.