Well that was a turn up for the books wasn't it?
Roberto Martinez has been praised for months for his tactical acumen but last night he played a big part in shifting the momentum back to Arsenal. Leaving out James McCarthy meant that his side were exposed on the break against a very quick Crystal Palace side. The top four chase is now back in our hands although there are likely to be further twists and turns but our fixtures look easier on paper and having firepower back will help.
Manchester City were minutes away from losing at home to Sunderland but for Vito Mannone error but a draw will do City no good after losing to Liverpool. But that is the Premier League, every team is capable of dropping points which is why it is great news for us that we are getting some more quality players fit and ready for the final push. Had this have been a month or so earlier then we may even be rubbing our hands at the prospect of a title fight but there is little point crying over what might have been. Even with those players fit we may have still dropped the same amount of points, I doubt it but we will never know.
Arsène Wenger has told us in his press conference that Mesut Özilm Mathieu Flamini and Nacho Monreal will be back for the weekend, that boost on top of the freshness of Chamberlain and Ramsey will benefit the team massively.
I hope we find some of our early season flair before the season end. When we beat Napoli at the Emirates back in October I remember thinking that the first half performance will become the norm once the team gels together, unfortunately we never really replicated that barring the odd half here and there. Liverpool at home in the league, Norwich and Cardiff away perhaps, but not as much as it should.
This squad will need a sprinkling of quality in obvious positions but why can't this squad be capable of that more often? I for one think we can as long as we keep our better players together and prize away the players we are targeting which is often easier said than done given the amount of clubs who also want a relatively small pool of players.
I listened to Arsène talk up Mesut Özil's second season and I can see where he is coming from. I expect Mesut Özil to be far better next season after having a pre season and already having a season of the league under his belt. But much will depend on the players he has around him.
It's been very frustrating that Özil and Walcott have only had a handful of games together so far. You would think that those two are made for each other on the pitch. In fact I was watching a video by the excellent @Arsenal_Editor of our best goals of season 2013/14 and it struck me just how much Özil and Ramsey were involved in much of our best work this season both in terms of goals and assists (Watch Video)
So it's been no surprise that our goalscoring has tailed off considerably since both of them succumbed to the usual Arsenal injury issues. It also makes me believe that we are not really as far away as is being made out but that my friends is another argument.
Before I go I would like to point you in the direction of the excellent free app called Fanzo on iPhone. It's full of Arsenal content. News, photos, videos, fan commentary, the works and it is well worth downloading, especially considering it costs as much as Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini in transfer fees. Check it out http://bit.ly/1hVy8SV
With that I bid you goodnight.