Arsenal v Palace – the form of the Palace and what did it for Patrick




Out of 52 matches between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, Palace have won just six games.  That makes the game today sound like an easy walkover, but a different analysis tells a different story.  For the last dozen games against Palace, Arsenal have won just four.  Palace have won three and there have been five draws.   Not exactly the best of runs by Arsenal against a team that regularly ends up in the lower levels of the league.

But it is not a run that is so disastrous that Palace face relegation.   Indeed even now on Sunday morning the table doesn’t look utterly disastrous from a Palace point of view.

Palace as we can see from the table below are in 12th spot, which doesn’t sound too bad.  The problem is the form which we noted in the piece Crystal Palace; home/away form and Palace’s tough run of games.

Here’s the league table with the focus on the lower 40% – and as can be seen although Palace are 12th there is a lot of congestion around them with Palace being just three points above the mighty West Ham with their taxpayer-funded stadium which didn’t cost them a penny.   It is funny how a club can be financed by the state and a) the media don’t think that has an impact and b) the club can still be in the bottom three and c) when Newcastle are funded by a state everyone gets agitated.  Why do West Ham so often get this preferential treatment from the media?


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 27 21 3 3 62 25 37 66
12 Crystal Palace 27 6 9 12 21 34 -13 27
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 28 7 6 15 22 41 -19 27
14 Leeds United 27 6 8 13 35 44 -9 26
15 Everton 28 6 8 14 22 40 -18 26
16 Nottingham Forest 27 6 8 13 22 49 -27 26
17 Leicester City 27 7 4 16 38 47 -9 25
18 West Ham United 26 6 6 14 24 34 -10 24
19 AFC Bournemouth 27 6 6 15 25 54 -29 24
20 Southampton 28 6 5 17 23 46 -23 23


As things stand the league table shows that only two teams have got more draws than Crystal Palace in the Premier League this season (Newcastle and Brentford).  Which tells us what Crystal Palace will be playing for this afternoon.

But what did it for Patrick Vieira was that Palace have no wins in the last 12 league and cup games, although five of their 12 draws have come in this run.  However the last three games for Palace (against Villa, Manchester City and Brighton), were all defeats by 1-0.  In fact, in their last six games neither side has scored more than one goal!   Worse in the last ten Palace league games only once has a team scored more than one goal – that was Manchester United in their 2-1 defeat of Palace.

Put it all together and we can see that what Patrick Vieira built was a superb defence.   Unfortunately what he did not build was a good attack to go with it.  In fact Palace have the worst attack in the League with just 21 goals this season.  Even a 1-0 win for Arsenal today will give Arsenal a goal scoring record of three times that of Palace this season.

All of which means that I am sure Patrick Vieira will go back into management soon, and when he does he will probably bring in a goalscoring coach to balance his undoubted skills at coaching defences.  After all Palace has a better defence this season than Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, and Tottenham Hotspur as we know from all the media talk is a wonderful club with a brilliant stadium and a great tradition having won the league cup in 2008.   (Since then Arsenal has won nine trophies).   Tottenham in fourth are currently two points above Newcastle who have two games in hand.

And as a pointer to what can happen in the Premier League, as late as 6 November this season Palace were tenth in the league with a game in hand on most of the clubs above them – it shows how fast the slide can occur.  

Up next: the team.

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