By Bulldog Drummond
And thus slowly does the world wake up. Even the Telegraph now has a graphic that just how much of a long ball team Leicester is. I know Untold will come back to that later, but it is remarkable just how long it has taken for the media to catch up on what we are seeing.
The problem of course is that clubs copy clubs – indeed there are some Arsenal fans who would like it if Arsenal copied Leicester’s long ball tactics just as there are many that would scoff when Mr Wenger said in his press conference this week, “That Carroll stays on the pitch is absolutely scandalous.”
Just to give the full comment, he said, “The first foul [that was the horror show on Laurent Koscielny] was a straight red. Watch it 10 times: it’s unbelievable he stays on the pitch, but nobody speaks about that. [Actually Mr W, I think we did quite a bit, but I get your point]. In the second half he makes three fouls without getting a second yellow. If you’re allowed absolutely everything on the football pitch, it’s easy to be physical because you’re not punished.”
And so we today we will have another nasty piece of work: Adebayor, whose stamp on the face of RVP you may recall. Another sending off after 18 minutes would be pretty much par for the course.
But he will start today, because that is the sort of thing Crystal Palace do. For we not only have the entity known as Adebayor but also the curious case of the Pardew, the man of whom even the arch villain Sir Alex F Word said, “Alan Pardew is the worst at haranguing referees with his whole staff every week”.
But that of course is just the start of it. As he himself said, putting a legal exposition of what his teams do to the press,“We will put pressure on their centre-halves every opportunity we have.”
Pardew, let us never forget, was the man who was incredibly lucky only to get a three-game total stadium ban followed by a four-match touchline ban after he head butted Hull City’s David Meyler. That was just over two years ago, just after a two match ban for pushing an assistant referee. It might be a good idea to keep an eye on him, as well as on the players who receive instructions from him. Safety gear for those near him might be advisable.
Palace are on a bit of an upturn having got more points in the last three games than they managed to stack up in the whole of the previous 13. In the last six they have lost to Liverpool!, lost to Leicester, drawn with West Ham, beaten Norwich and drawn with Everton in their last six.
They will come out and play defensive, defensive, defensive football, seeking a long ball break. And indeed as with Wimbledon when they were in the top division, everyone will ignore the impact Leicester’s style is starting to have on other clubs – until it is too late.
“I don’t think you can pretend to be a big club and say we only want to defend,” said Mr Wenger developing his press conference theme. “We have that responsibility and we have to stand up for that and continue to develop the quality of our game. It doesn’t mean we have to change our style. It means we have to be better in the style we play.
“As long as the team sits back and waits for you to come out and you do not score they never come out. The defensive quality of the teams has become more efficient. Look at Manchester City , they take the game the opponent. So do Chelsea , but they all drop points by doing that. When we felt we were less under pressure we dropped more points against teams in the second half of the table than the top half.”
On the injury front we have Santi Caz and the Ox out of it. Wilshere and Rosicky are still making their way back to fitness. Here is the table from Physioroom, just for journalists who still insist that Arsenal have more injuries than everyone else.
|12||West Bromwich Albion||3|
|13||West Ham United||3|
Arsenal discipline record is 35 yellows and four reds. Palace have 52 yellows and two reds.
We have won 10 and lost one of the 13 Premier League games against Crystal Palace, including winning the last six in a row but we have won none of the three London derbies at home in the Premier League this season (which is why media attention has drifted away from games between the top four or top six and instead suddenly developed an interest in London matches).
But since that is now where they are, we can say Crystal Palace have taken fewer points in London derbies than any other London team. And they have won none of the last seven away league games. A defeat today for Palace will mean that Arsenal have won 500 league games in the PL. Only Man U have won more.
The Whoscored.com forecasts are…
- Arsenal will score a long shot
- Arsenal will score as a result of a through ball
- Crystal Palace will be shown a high number of card
- Crystal Palace will stray offside often
- Arsenal will dominate possession
In terms of our top players this season we have Ozil on 7.67, Alexis on 7.63 and Koscielny on 7.46. The top Palace player is Cabaye on 7.28. Their top assistant is Delaney on 3, along with Puncheon and Wickham.
- We cannot have a situation like the Summer of 2015
- Arsenal v Crystal Palace Sunday 17 April 2016 – The Match Officials. Arsenal achieve the 1 in 2 billion chance.
- Are Arsenal fans the only fans who are endlessly miserable? It seems not.
- PGMO admits Untold Arsenal was right
- Forget the training and the preparation. Get these two things right and you will win the league.
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page