1) Three points picked up at Palace this afternoon. Were we comfortable in our defending or were we clinging on? How did you see it?
@LandrySubira - It was very Arsenal that we looked weak and conceded after taking off the strikers and brought on all the defenders. Think we defended well most of the game, especially Mertesacker who made a vital interception at one point and seemed to win every headed duel. We only really had a scare after full time.
@TheTXI - I think that largely depends on what time of the match we're talking about. Starting out the first few minutes with Zaha skinning Monreal a few times in quick succession you couldn't help but worry but I feel like we tightened things up much better for the rest of the game. And then the final minutes came around and it was the typical "do everything we can to throw the game" we've become accustomed to.
2) What is going on with officials giving us penalties this season? Even borderline decisions. I'm confused.
@LandrySubira - Yes! Its probably just officials showing competency, although having said that they incorrectly ruled out a valid Özil goal. I think the biggest reason is the addition of pace into the side. The last two were from Welbeck and Akpom running in behind.
@TheTXI - First rule of Penalty Club is that you do not talk about Penalty Club. On a more serious take, I think it is indicative of the club having more players willing to attack the box and draw those fouls. For a long time it felt like we really only had Ox available to run at a defender but now we can reasonably expect that type of forward thinking from Ox, Walcott, Welbeck, and even down to Alexis, Özil, Cazorla, and Rosicky.
It can also be traced back to a more counter-attacking system that is really putting an emphasis on throwing punches instead of just dancing around the perimeter of the final third playing our high-possession game. When you're more direct in your attacking moves, you'll draw fouls from defenders a lot more than if you are constantly passing it around and hoping to engineer the next Norwich WengerBall Wondergoal.
3) Who was your Arsenal man of the match and why?
@LandrySubira - I honestly thought it was Coquelin. To be on a yellow card for so long at such a hostile away crowd, he made so many vital and excellent tackles. He also held onto the ball and passed out comfortably to relieve pressure.
@TheTXI - It's hard for me to decide on this game because I don't feel like one person was head and shoulders above the rest on the pitch throughout the course of the match. My top three would definitely be Ozil, Welbeck, and Coquelin. I think Welbeck may nick it because of his work rate to get the penalty and to take the shot that led to Giroud's tap-in.
4) Who was below par in a yellow shirt and why?
@LandrySubira - Its tough for me to say because it's Giroud. He's been excellent recently but his passing today was really poor. There were a few opportunities where if he'd showed more concentration, he's have had an assist and the game would have been over.
@TheTXI - I think the goat of the day had to be Calum Chambers. Neither of our fullbacks played well but I feel like Monreal at least improved the longer the game went on against Zaha, while Chambers continued on the opposite flank. It could be argued that these fullbacks were always going to struggle against the Crystal Palace wide players today. I'm just glad we didn't get punished more than we were.
5) Danny Welbeck was once again chosen ahead of Theo Walcott. If the game had to be replayed, what would your decision be if the choice was yours?
@LandrySubira - Definitely Danny Welbeck. He was my second option for man of the match but in a primarily defensive performance overall, I chose Coquelin. He was very good today both offensively and defensively. He made vital contributions to both goals, one using athleticism and desire, the other an intelligent run. He just offers a bit more intelligence and work ethic.
@TheTXI - I think Welbeck's selection was sound before and after the match. With Chambers behind him I would much rather have Welbeck's tenacity and workrate on the defensive end supporting the young Englishman than Walcott who has a tendency to go on walkabout and shirk his defensive duties.
One could argue that Walcott may have provided even bigger impact on the offensive end and really put the game out of reach, but it's hard to argue with selecting a guy who draws a crucial penalty and helps lead to the second.
6) We are now in third place for the time being, where do you see us finishing this season?
@LandrySubira - I think we will finish third, although we have a small chance for second. I think City may pull away now and my dream is that Mourinho and his band of rent boys fuck up their gap. It'd be glorious.
@TheTXI - I think it is entirely possible for us to cement a hold on third place. But it's not going to be a walk in the park. The last two Champions League spots are going to be battled for between five legitimate teams (Arsenal, Manchester United, Southampton, Tottenham, Liverpool) and it's going to come down to which one makes the fewest mistakes and drops the fewest points.
If I had to nail down the final eight I'd venture the following:
2) Manchester City
4) Manchester United
6) Tottenham Hotspur
8) West Ham United
7) Name your 11 for Monaco in midweek
@LandrySubira - Ospina, Bellerin (if fit), Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coq, Santi, Sanchez, Welbeck, Ozil, Giroud. Welbeck because we must not allow them to get an away goal. We tend to lose this tie by one goal very often. A clean sheet is very important at this stage.
@TheTXI - Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Alexis, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
8) Any other thoughts?
@LandrySubira - I love ugly wins. The more the merrier in my opinion. The idea that we have to be weak mentally is rubbish. Keep winning ugly and our team will develop some steel.
@TheTXI - Just judging by the reactions on Twitter after the match it is disappointing how even during a win we are ready to dump on certain players. I feel like we as a fan base are getting to the point where we can't even celebrate three hard-fought points and instead have to act like it's a loss and call for inquiries and dropping/binning/selling someone(s) who may have underperformed on the day. It's bad enough when we lose as it is. I'd rather not have our wins feel like losses too.