It could have been one of those disastrous draws that smell like a defeat, but fortunately we were saved by the post. We entered into injury time with a comfortable two goal lead but that didn’t stop us from going through a nervy finish. At the end of the day, all that matters are those three valuable points as we are now in third place thanks to Manchester United’s defeat to Swansea.
Here are the key points from Saturday’s game:
1.Olivier Giroud is a really valuable member of the team.
The Big Handsome Frenchman scored his 50th goal for Arsenal. It was a real poacher’s effort as he pounced on Welbeck’s shot that was deflected by Speroni. Aside from his moment of stupidity against QPR on Boxing Day, Giroud has been one of the most reliable players in our team.
2.Danny Welbeck was too quick for our opponents and for the referees.
I’m still not sure whether Welbeck was fouled on the line of the penalty box or just outside of it but it seems that his pace persuaded Clattenburg to point to the spot. It seems that the Englishman was offside when Alexis released him before our second goal though but the linesman didn’t notice thankfully.
3.The referees gave US a hand for a change.
I can name at least ten examples when we were on the wrong side of the referees decision this term including the reverse fixture against Palace. That doesn’t change the fact that the hosts may feel a bit hard done with the crucial decisions.
4.Santi Cazorla can’t miss from the spot (touch-wood).
The Spanish wizard has taken six penalties this term and converted all of them. Of course, it’s not the only quality of Santi’s game. He keeps the ball under pressure, opens space for himself and his team-mates with his twinkle-toe-dribbling and our opponents never know which of Santi’s feet are better.
5.Per Mertesacker organized the defence well again.
We defended in numbers and we defended well until injury time. Crystal Palace couldn’t muster a shot on target for almost eighty minutes and our captain BFG played a big role. The partnership with Koscielny collected us another victory.
6.Soaking the pressure is not the solution.
We have gone through too many nail-biting games this season. The story has been the same: we take the lead and then defend it by retreating to our own half. We try to avoid conceding by pulling out attackers and bringing on every defender we have. We were punished against Liverpool who were playing with ten men, we lost the game against Spuds and we could have got punished for the same approach against Leicester. The same thing happened today and had Murray’s header went just a little bit to the left, we would have spilled two more points.
7.Two important matches are on the schedule next week.
It’s important that we won the game against Crystal Palace in order not to lose confidence ahead of matches against AS Monaco in the Champions’ League and Everton in the league respectively. Both games will be played at the Emirates so we are expected to win.
We are in third place now and it’s a good sign ahead of AS Monaco. The former club of Arsene Wenger, Gilles Grimandi, Emmanuel Petit and Thierry Henry won’t be pushovers so we’ll need a more unproved performance than against Palace.