I watched the Chelsea vs Manchester City game last night, because of the positions in the league of the two teams I wanted a Chelsea victory before the kick off. I found myself instinctively wanting the decisions to go against Chelsea and had to keep reminding myself that we kinda needed them to do us a favour. Needless to say that favour did not arrive as Chelsea did their best impression of the worst of the worst Arsenal. Chelsea had 52% of the possession while both teams took an equal 11 shots, but one team had a defensive meltdown while the other did not. Also one team has Sergio Agüero in it while the other has an overrated dirty, cheating psycho.
City's win means that they have jumped over us and into 3rd place while we occupy 4th, three points ahead of Manchester United with a game in hand. Tottenham are six points ahead, having played a game more and they travel to Stoke on Monday so once more I have to support a side my reflexes will not appreciate.
Anyway enough about others, we face Crystal Palace this afternoon in front of our fans. I wonder what the atmosphere will be like if we don't score early. I wouldn't be surprised if the fans were in tetchy mood this afternoon. Hopefully we do not have to find out as a few early goals always brightens up the mood.
If the team play with the same attacking freedom that they have over the last few games I think we will be capable of getting those goals. At West Ham our attacking play was fine, the movement and quick passing opened up West Ham plenty of times, and it is not often that West Ham find themselves two goals down at Upton Park, I suppose it's not often that West Ham have scored three times in a matter of minutes either *sigh*
It will be very interesting to see what happens in between the sticks. Arsène was questioned post match as to why he left Petr Cech on the bench at West Ham and he was quick to defend his selection of David Ospina who has been excellent since coming back into the side. But while Ospina may not have been directly at fault for any of the goals last weekend, I wonder if conceding three goals will force Arsène to make that switch.
Other than that I fully expect the team to stay the same.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
I guess the other choice Arsène has is whether or not to play Per Mertesacker who has been out of favour for the last few weeks. Gabriel has made a few errors which has cost us goals but I wouldn't want to join the Gabriel is rubbish bandwagon just yet. I heard the same thing with Laurent Koscielny at this stage of his Arsenal career. If Arsène is showing faith with the Brazilian then he needs a long run in the side to see whether or not he can improve. Plus while I like Per Mertesacker as a player, I prefer our front footed approach with two fast centre backs in the side.
So after the West Ham game, what would you do if you were Alan Pardew? Yeah so I expect plenty of the same, lots of crosses into our penalty box and lots of counters down our flanks. Hopefully this time we will be far more eager to close down wide players and if Cech plays then we will have a player suited to come and claim those balls off the head of Emmanuel Adebayor.
If we play the way we can and should then the threat of Palace should be an after thought. Famous last words and all that but if we can play with the same speed and mobility that we showed at Everton and home to Watford then the likes of Özil, Iwobi, Welbeck and Alexis could prove a little too much for a team that will have an eye on the FA Cup.
It would be nice to see Iwobi continue his excellent run of scoring and assisting. He is making the step up look pretty damn easy isn't he?
Those who listen to the Arsenal Vision podcast will have noticed that we missed the post West Ham podcast, that was due to scheduling problems so we have decided to combine the West Ham and Palace games together on the new pod.
Follow the Arsenal Vision Podcast on Twitter to find out when that will be out.
In the meantime, up the Arsenal!