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Arsenal play Palace: Part the third. Palace and Palermo, and the team that can’t score on the counter.

By Tony Attwod

The Story so Far

Arsenal v Crystal Palace 01 January 2017 – The Match Officials. Expect major errors and bias.

The Palace comes to the Emirates. Arsenal v Fat Sam: the prologue

Arsenal play the Palace. Part the Second

And now the conclusion

As Mr Wenger said, “The level of confidence or the level of urgency always goes a bit up when a new manager comes in, of course. That makes the game more difficult.

“When you look at their squad, it’s a talented squad, because they have potential going forward, they are quick on the break and they are very versatile.”

Sam Allardyce said stuff but he had his mouth full at the time and it was rather difficult to understand quite what he was commenting upon, but I suspect it was something to do with adding Spotted Dick to the pre-match press conference.  (Actually I wanted to say something else there, but I have no idea what the national dish of the West Midlands (where Sam was born) actually is.

Anyway back with the game, sometimes new managers can go in and change the whole team ethos and get a bunch of losers to become a bunch of winners, but the reality is the the large one is more akin to an oil tanker when it comes to turning things around.

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But we must still be wary.   One factor to remember is that Alexis has scored 75% of his goals away from home this season, and it is time for that factor to even up as well as any bounce back from the arrival of the Large One.

Anyway here’s some of the funny stats…

We have won eight of their last 11 Premier League games against Crystal Palace, and lost none.

Palace’s only Premier League win against Arsenal came in October 1994 at Highbury.   John Salako scored twice.

Added to all this our current home form is fairly good, winning six and drawing two of the last eight.  And a win today will take us to 40 points.  While all attention is quite rightly on the gap between us and the rebirth of the Russian Empire, the fact is that only once in the last six years have we been at 40 points at this stage.  This is what the technicians call “travelling in the right direction”.  (It’s a technical term).

But leaving aside Alexis’ propensity to score while a visitor, we might also note that Alexis has been involved in 18 goals this season, what with 12 goals and six assists.

Meanwhile Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in his last three league starts (another reason to start him against a team who in the words the the immortal Corporal Jones (the lovable Clive Dunn) “don’t like it up em” and to all this we can add the fact that Mesut Ozil has scored nine and got six assists for Arsenal this season.

As for Palace I thought this was rather a good statistic:

They have lost 22 league matches in 2016, which puts them equal top in the five big leagues of Europea equal with Palermo. However there are mitigating factors: Palace played two fewer league fixtures in 2016 than the Italians.  And because I know you will want to check, here is the Italian league table

# Team P W D L F A GD Pts
17 18 3 5 10 10 26 -16 14
18 18 2 4 12 16 35 -19 10
19 17 2 3 12 14 32 -18 9
20 18 1 6 11 14 33 -19 9

Palace have not managed to avoid letting in a goal away from home since Boxing Day 2015 – which takes us to 19 games, and although the larger one has boasted much about his ability to wind Mr Wenger up, the fact is that Big Samuel has not won a Premier League game at Arsenal’s ground, be it Highbury or the Ems.   He has managed three draws, and has lost each of the last seven.

But overall Mr Wenger believes the season had failed to live up to its hype, however.   “The best managers in the world are all in the Premier League and it promised to be an exceptional year but until now it has been disappointing on all levels.”

The media were not amused, having invested so much money in the event and immediately set about disparaging the remarks.

Anyway, let’s move on to a few stats.   Arsenal take 14.9 shots per game, while Palace concede 13.7 a game.  Palace get 12.7 shots per game while Arsenal manage 14.9, so everything points as might expect to more shots for us and fewer for them.  Which is fairly obvious when you think about it, so I am not sure why I mentioned it.

However their pass success rate is only 75% which is rather low (Leicester are the worst with 70.6%; we are third with 83.8%).   Palace do however get fewer yellow cards than we do (63 to 68 this season), and that suggests (if the ref preview had not already done so) that we will get no favours from the referee.

But where Palace are the worst in the league is possession with 42.7%.   Arsenal are third best with 55.7%.  Palace’s problem is that the one way to make success out of a lack of possession is to counter attack, but they are not very good at that either.  Here are their situational stats…

Type Goals per Game Effect
Open Play 17 59%
Set Piece 9 31%
Penalty 2 7%
Own Goal 1 3%
Counter Attack 0 0%

As I said, not very good at the counter attack.   Arsenal’s stats are

Type Goals per Game Effect
Open Play 29 74%
Set Piece 6 15%
Penalty 2 5%
Counter Attack 1 3%
Own Goal 1 3%

From the mutterings that we have been getting of late it looks like Mustafi is ready to play again so the team could look like this


Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal

Coquelin Xhaka

Alexis Ozil Iwobi or the Ox


On the beach I would take seven from…

Ospina, Jenkinson, Gabriel, Holding, Elneny, Ramsey, Reine-Adélaïde, Pérez

Gabriel could swap with Mustafi if he is not fit, or Mustafi might not play at all which means with Gabriel in the squad it would be the remaining seven on the beach.  But the Ox could also play a part at least on the beach.

Confusing isn’t it?

Still, as Mr Jones once said….

Untold Arsenal: Arsenal v The Palace

59 comments to Arsenal play Palace: Part the third. Palace and Palermo, and the team that can’t score on the counter.

  • Zuruvi

    Good luck to the Gunners today. We can’t afford to drop points today.

    I have just been reflecting on the game between the Poo and Man City yesterday.

    A stronger Man City team than the one that faced Arsenal simply couldn’t break down the Poo.

    What did the Poo do that we didn’t (couldn’t) do?

    The Poo scored an early goal just like the Arsenal scored an early goal.

    Maybe Prof watched the game and noticed how the Poo managed to subdue City. Prof is an intellectual manager who is always open to learning from his experience and the example of others.

    I hope we will today silence the big mouth of Fat Sam with a solid performance and (hopefully)clinical finishing.

  • Gord

    Come on Watford!



    I looked through some of Fat Sam’s statistics, I don’t see what impresses people. His winning percentage is under 50, and in terms of points per game he is about 0.5 points below Wenger. If his teams don’t win a game, the next most likely result is they lose. A draw is the least likely occurrence for his teams. His teams are involved in entirely too many games where they don’t score any goals.

  • Josif


    Arsenal played 14 big matches in 2016: 2 vs Liverpool, Chelsea, United, City, Barcelona, PSG and Tottenham each.

    We won one out of fourteen (1-7-6).

    In 2015, we won 8 out 15 against Bayern, Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Tottenham and United (8-4-3).

    We ended 2015 on top of the table, in 2017 we enter from the 4th place.

    We were the best team in the league in 2015 and fifth in 2016.

    Truth to be told, that leaves me unsure about “the right direction”.

    A victory today would help us though as it will be an exhausting battle for the CL place.

  • Al

    Let’s remember to apply a bit of context guys; against City we did not lose, we were robbed instead. I think it’ll be helpful to count that match as a win.

  • Leon

    ARSENAL TEAM NEWS as reported by Sky. Apparently Ozil is unwell.

    Team to play Crystal Palace: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi, Sanchez, Lucas, Giroud

  • Andy Mack


  • Gord

    From the twit feed, we have (more info):

    Ospina, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Coquelin, Reine-Adelaide, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench.

    Please excuse typos on the bench, typed from an image.

    Come on Gunners!

  • Leon

    I would imagine that Iwobi will play the number ten role leaving Sanchez, Perez & Giroud to score a hat-full of goals.
    I see we’re in 5th spot prior to kick off, but should be in third at the end of the match.

  • Andy Mack

    Gord, Fat Sam has never really had a team that could get over 50% win ratio. He’s generally done well with mainly 3rd rate (by PL standards) players and he makes it difficult for the bigger teams to win against them, simple as that. When you only ever go into games with the big teams with the hope/plan for a draw then you’re bound to get the odd win and loss as well. However many of that level of team doesn’t get the draw often either.
    Where it fails for him is that in the games he wants to win, he doesn’t do so well.
    So a 10th-15th position in the PL manager is what Palace have got with him, but his teams usually make it particularly difficult for the big PL teams.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Gun them down….

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh dear….What a cross

  • Menace

    Beautiful Arsenal cross from the left & nobody to put it in the net!!

  • Leon

    Zaha starting his tricks already

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooohhhhh my…


    Nananaaaaa nananaaaaa

  • Menace

    A break & Alexis passes to Giroud who flicks the ball in from 4 ft behind him!! What a goal,

  • Leon

    What an absolute beauty.Stunning footwork twice by Giroud

  • Al

    Giroud!! Messi would be jealous of that ?

  • Josif

    Fantastic goal! 😮 😮

  • Gord

    And all LiveScore said, was that it was a backheel.


  • ARSENAL 13

    What a goal what a goal….

    Just can’t get over it. Effing awesome.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Above credits to arsenalist.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow… Giroud manhandled….But not a foul.

  • Menace

    That was not offside but the defence gets the benefit!! Where are your comments now Leon?

  • Leon

    Iwobi is just about everywhere.He’s loving this role. Watch out Ozil!

  • Leon

    Happy New Year Menace. Did you mean the Monreal offside? Or did I miss one?

  • ARSENAL 13


    Why not book Zaha as he enters the pitch?. At least that will make him stand on his feet….

  • Gord

    Thanks for the URL 13. I think that was all set up by Lucas intercepting, and he was in position to jump on that cross if Giroud missed it.

    I think that goal might be better described as a scorpion kick, than a simple backheel.


  • para

    Why oh why do we slow down after 1 goal?

  • Menace

    Spot on Gord.

    Leon I was referring to comments re the City offsides where your take was benefit to the attacker. Not so when Arsenal are attacking!!

  • Leon

    Ok Menace , but Nacho looked a good yard offside, so no benefit. My issue with the City goal was that although I agreed that it was offside it was more fractional and may have been given on that basis. At no time have I disputed that it was offside, just looking for reasons why it may have been given.I also think the second City goal was offside despite what Walter & Usama say about it

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahahahahahahah… Comparing Girouds goal to Mikitarian goal !!!!.. Only one of them is a legal goal..No comparison here.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come.on Gunners… Concentrate.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Elneny…. Down

  • Al

    Think the rain is affecting our movement a little. Sanchez could have scored two goals but for brave/lucky blocks.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Aaenh!!! What foul was that on Puncheon!!!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi… Yyyyyueeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

  • Leon

    Iwobi deserves that for his great play today. He’s been terrific and I’d say that Ozil hasn’t been missed at all

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahahaha Cech

  • Leon

    Wa it an OG?

  • Menace

    It is 3 pts OG & Iwobi thus far.

    Several reasons for Zaha to be booked (foulin in the box) as well as Puncheon for stamping on Alexis’s foot.

  • Menace

    On comes Mutch ‘dirt in boots’.

  • Al

    Never an own goal that…How could they even want to review that??

  • ARSENAL 13

    Goal has been given to Iwobi.

  • Al

    I seen a backpass by Nacho ruled a corner against us, didn’t think it was but no replays… Now just seen is denied a corner. Hmmmm

  • Al

    Seen *us denied a corner…

  • Al

    Hope Coq doesn’t pick any unnecessary yellow, see mariner was happy to award a soft free kick against him there..

  • Al

    This palace guy, ward, didn’t he stamp on Sanchez too a short while ago?? And no yellow in both incidents…

  • Leon

    I’m pleased Iwobi was given the goal, but it looked to me as though it went in off of a Palace defender who was trying to clear it.Maybe it was already over the line when he headed it in

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooooo Giroooooooo…

  • ARSENAL 13

    That was a foul by Alexis on Zaha….But you know why he doesn’t get it….

  • ARSENAL 13

    What a great run from Ox….Needed a goal that…

  • para

    I know we are 2 up but we are being a little too casual at times and making missed passes.

    A solid well needed win and performance though. Today for some reasom i was worried in the last mins when they were in our half constantly.

  • Gord

    The possession stats from Live score

    _5 48
    10 57
    15 60
    20 59
    25 54
    30 54
    35 57
    40 64
    45 65
    45+2 63
    50 65
    55 67
    60 58
    65 58
    70 66
    75 59
    80 67
    85 66
    90 66
    90+3 65

    How to go Gunners!

  • Menace

    Arsenal rise to 3rd in distant contention. What a biased bastard that commentator is. Distant f…ing intelligence of the moron

    Welcome 2017 ; new year same commentators.

  • WalterBroeckx

    match report is on line

  • Mandy Dodd

    Decent, solid, satisfying performance, and a stunning goal.
    Our position looks very healthy at this stage, even if slightly obscured by others also doing well.
    We are only three points behind a team the media are getting very, very excited about

  • Gord

    Other stats:
    We had 8 shots on target and 11 off target. They had 4 on and 2 off.
    We had 8 corners and they had 4.
    We supposedly are the dirtier team, committing 10 fouls to their 7.

    Even though we only had 11 shots off target, they got 12 goal kicks. From their 2 shots off target, we got 8 goal kicks.