In yet another slump of performance, Arsenal blew off a 2 goal lead over Crystal Palace allowing its London rivals to crawl back in the game to finish the match on 2-2. Arsenal poor form continues, after a vague and relatively weak performance again newly promoted side Sheffield United on Monday night. Arsenal have yet again fallen flat this time at home to Crystal Palace.
There was a stellar performance by Nicolas Pepe in the midweek to rescue Emery and bought him some time with highlights being his 2 beautiful free kicks but Arsenal couldn’t capitalise on that performance. Arsenal started with their preferred front 3 Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pépé and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but without a perfect Number 10 they couldn’t find a good delivery from anywhere. Mesut Özil’s absence is now showing an effect on Emery’s arsenal. There was a ray of hope, a goal from Sokratis to take his team 3-2 however it was ruled out by VAR. After many replays it seemed to be very harsh on Arsenal as video referee decided to award a free kick to Crystal Palace instead, Calum Chambers appeared to what referee thought was a foul on Milivojevic.
Highlight of the match was much bigger and in a way embarrassing to a club of stature of Arsenal. Emery’s captain Granit Xhaka was substituted on 61st minute amid of his bad performance, on his way back to the touchline he was booed and he’s bad mouth foul against Arsenal supporters made it even worse. He shouted F*** O** and made a gesture towards them to scream more. He then went straight down the tunnel without even giving a handshake to the manager and removed his shirt in a displeasure. All this was a trailer of what exactly is happening at Arsenal.
First Xhaka wasn’t the first choice caption, he was elected captain in September through a blind ballot among Arsenal players, a decision that attracted criticism in certain circles. He lacks quality, patience and desire to lead such a big club. Guendouzi is the only one who actually has the anger and desire to win each and every match for the gunners. Emery keeps faith in the youngster and Guendouzi never disappoints. However the present situation in the emirates is the unrest among supporters, Emery’s stubbornness to stick with Xhaka, Captain’s foul mouth tantrums towards his own fans all adding more and more pressure to Emery and his already hostile situation in the dug out.
Stan Kroenke’s son, Josh, was in the directors’ box attending the match, while his father was watching his NFL team. Looking at the performance, it would be interesting to see what comes out of the conversation between the two. Arsenal are now 5 points adrift of last Champions league spot and they seems far more off the pace with Leicester and Chelsea both of whom have a way of play and direct approach with momentum on their side too. Coming few weeks will decide Emery’s fate and now of their captain Xhaka too.