The most difficult obstacles are often the ones that everyone expects you to pass without any problems. Our match against Crystal Palace was another evidence of that hypothesis. We were expected to win the match easily but – despite the final score – it didn’t go smoothly at all.
About our opponents: Palace have been really poor this season and the way they have given penalties and goal-chances to their opponents so far might drag them back to the Championship after just one season among the best clubs in England.
Anyway, we didn’t give the best of performances yesterday but I’ll take the victory and three more points from it.
The German winger went in to replace the injured Flamini during the early stages of the match. It’s not like he gave a top-class performance like the one against Swansea, for example, but for an 18-year-old he has been a very useful player this season. He earned a penalty at the start of the second half that made our life easier. Given that Walcott, Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain are out, we need Gnabry as reliable option on the wing more than anyone would think before the season started. He is far from being a finished article but every goal and assist that he collects might do wonders for his development.
The cheeky Pole didn’t have the best of games against Borussia Dortmund but yesterday he saved our expected victory. I’ve always been a huge fan of his talent and I’ve considered him to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world despite being just 23. That’s the reason why he has managed to make me both delighted and annoyed during his career. We need Szczesny at his best in the forthcoming matches as our opponents will probably create more chances on Saturday. He thoroughly deserved his man of the match accolade.
We suffered a lot against Borussia Dortmund due to a lack of wingers in our team. Monreal’s defensive qualities that he has shown since joining Arsenal might allow Gibbs to play as winger or vise versa when we need a natural wide player in the team. In the forthcoming period also known as The Dirty Dozen-Days, Nacho should get more playing time.
Unfortunately, we lost Flamini for the next three weeks due to a groin injury and Mikel Arteta will be unavailable for the Capital One Cup clash against Chelsea. Their absences leaves Wenger short with experienced options for the defensive midfielder-role for the match against Chelsea so either Isaac Hayden – who played against West Brom – or Emmanuel Frimpong – who hasn’t played a competitive match for Arsenal since the 12-goal-thriller against Reading in October 2012 – might be called up for action. Last season we had a similar situation after the match against West Ham United away. We made an impressive come-back to win the game 3:1 but we lost Kieran Gibbs to injury so Arsene Wenger had to play Andre Santos or Thomas Vermaelen as a left full-back.
One of the most important moments of our season might be the return of Theo Walcott that is scheduled for 2nd November. Walcott’s pace will add versatility to our attacking options and make things easier for our midfielders, Sagna and Giroud.
But, now, stay tuned with www.allarsenal.com as The Dirty Dozen-Days approach!