Author Archives: keenosafc

Top 4 back in Arsenal’s hands despite Crystal Palace defeat

What a strange weekend of football?

I have written before about how 75 points was what was needed to finish top 4. A few replied saying that would not be enough, and it would require closer to 80 points. My methodology for 75 was based on Arsenal, Chelsea & Manchester United having dropped plenty of points this season and still having some tough games to go.

A few games, the maths was simple. Arsenal had to win there two remaining home games and get 6 points from 15 on the road.

The run started off with a 1-0 defeat to Everton. Not a surprise to lose. We then picked up 3 of the 6 away points against a 10-man Watford in a lacklustre display. And then we come to thisTop 4 back in Arsenal’s hands despite Crystal Palace defeat weekend.

The defeat against Crystal Palace was tough to take. It was our home form that had kept us in the race for a top 4 finish, so to lose so limply was frustrating. After the game a mate said “you get one of those a season” and he was right.

Almost every season, teams lose a home game against someone they should have beaten.

Manchester City also lost at home to Crystal Palace. Chelsea lost at home to Leicester. Tottenham to Wolves. Only Liverpool have dominated at home against the lower teams this season. That knowledge did not soften the blow of the defeat, however.

With Manchester United losing to Everton, victory over Crystal Palace would have seen Arsenal move to 3rd place, and top 4 well and truly in sight. The defeat meant that for the first time in a while, we were relying on others to drop points.

And then we have last night. Chelsea at home to Burnley. No one would have been expecting them to drop points, but they did.

Usually at this time of the year, those mid-table teams have turned off. Heads on the beach. It is perhaps testament to their professionalism that Palace, Burnley or Everton did not turn off and all got well deserved points.

The draw for Chelsea swung the pendulum back into Arsenal’s favour in what will probably be the defining 7 days of Premier League football.

To start with, I think we can all write off finishing 3rd following the defeat to Crystal Palace. Spurs surely have it wrapped up with the ease of their run in.

So that leaves Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United chasing top 4.

In the next 7 days Arsenal have 2 tricky away games to Wolves and Leicester. Neither will be easy. You can picture a scenario where Arsenal come away with zero points.

Manchester United also face 2 tricky games at home – versus Manchester City and Chelsea. The Man U v Chelsea game is the West London sides only fixture in the next 7 days.

Arsenal could well find themselves 4th; 5 points clear of Chelsea in 5th by this time next week. They could also just as easily find themselves 4 points behind.

As for Manchester United, they currently sit 3 points off the pace of 4th. You have to feel that they need Arsenal to lose both games, and beat Chelsea, to stand a chance of finishing top 4. By the time the weekend is out, they could find themselves 8 points off top 4.

It is tight in that race for the top 4, and any dropped points in the next 7 days will be crucial.



Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 3 Crystal Palace

Arsenal (0) 2 Crystal Palace (1) 3
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Sunday, 21st April 2019. Kick-off time:
(4-2-3-1) Leno; Mustafi, Koscielny, Mavropanos, Jenkinson; Guendouzi, Elneny; Kolašinac, Özil, Lacazette; Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Čech, Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Monreal, Nketiah.
Scorers: Özil, Aubameyang
Yellow Card: Mustafi, Mavropanos, Guendouzi, Özil
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Attendance: 59,929
And so the topsy-turvy world of Arsenal, 2019 model, continues in earnest. How can it be? On paper it all seemed so easy, a formality, some would say. Unfortunately nobody told Crystal Palace the script here at The Emirates this afternoon, as one would think that their performance would be the team that was knocking on the door of a Champions League place, not Arsenal.
As soon as the team-sheet was announced we should have smelt a rat. Of course, Mr. Emery needs to rotate his squad, but truthfully, some of these players are born reserves, not rotated first-team footballers. The gaps and the issues were plain to see almost immediately from the kick-off. If anything, it seemed amazing that the visitors took as long as they did to take the lead, as sixteen minutes to break through this poor defence must have felt that it insulted their intelligence. Luka Milivojevic glided a simple ball into the Arsenal penalty ara, and with Shkodran Mustafi seemingly in a dream-like state, simply did not see Christian Benteke move in to score a relatively simple goal past Bernd Leno. To be fair, we did wake up and attempt to redress the balance during the rest of the first half, but all of our attempts on the Palace goal came to nothing. The closest we came to scoring during this period was when Sead Kolašinac’s cross found Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s arm; despite appeals, the referee completely refused to award the penalty to the home side.
Realising his earlier starting line-up error, Mr. Emery made a double substitution at half time, Alex Iwobi for Konstantinos Mavropanos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the hapless Carl Jenkinson, and just minutes after the restart, Mesut Özil redressed the balance with a sublime goal that saw him finish the move that he started. Mesut Özil passed to Alex Iwobi, who then slotted it to Alexandre Lacazette; looking up, he sent the ball back to Mesut Özil who equalised the scores with some aplomb. And then we fell apart again, with Wilfried Zaha scoring on the hour after leaving Shkodran Mustafi wondering where he came from. Sadly, less than eight minutes later, James McArthur deflected a Scott Dann header past Bernd Leno to make it three goals to one for the away team. Although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a superb individual goal thirteen minutes from time, Arsenal’s race was already run.
The final scoreline flattered Arsenal; the defence was nothing short of amateurish calamity throughout the match, and this less-than inspirational performance appeared to permeate throughout the side like a tropical disease. The tragedy of all this mayhem was that not only did Tottenham Hotspur lose yesterday, but Manchester United were defeated heavily earlier in the day before we even kicked a ball in anger, which meant that we lost the opportunity to spring to third position in the table. In fact, if Chelsea beat Burnley tomorrow, they will take third place position which, by rights, should have been ours tonight. If anything, the performance of some of our players this afternoon should send a clear message to Mr. Emery just who is good enough to wear the red-and-white shirt next year and who isn’t. The facts are blatantly obvious; nothing more than a victory at Molineux on Wednesday, and the King Power Stadium next Monday will do, otherwise there could be a real danger that we may not even finish in the coveted four Champions League places. It also needs to be said that whilst we realise more than ever that nothing is definite in football, our urgency to win the Europa League must also be nothing short of imperative right now. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

2 charity events set to take place prior to tomorrows Arsenal v Crystal Palace clash

Tomorrow  Arsenal face Crystal Palace in another key clash in the race for a top 4 finish.

More important than the game though are the charity evens going on around the ground today.

Firstly we have fans of Arsenal and Crystal Palace coming together to walk to raise awareness of mental health and male suicide.

The walk will begin at Selhurst Park at 9:30am and finishing at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in North London.  The fans will cover a distance of around 12 miles which will take about 4 to 4.5 hours (including stops).

Proposed stops and details of the route are shown below;

Time/ETA Location Distance Durations Nearest Station
09:30 Selhurst Park Stadium – SE25 8QB N/A N/A Norwood Junction, Selhurst or Thornton Heath
10:50 to 11:00 Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill – SE24 9HU 4.3m/6.9km ~1:30 hrs Herne Hill
Break ~20 mins
12:30 to 12:40 Prince William Henry Pub, Blackfriars – SE1 8NL 4.0m/6.4km ~1:20 hrs Blackfriars, Southwark Tube
Break ~20 mins
13:35 to 13:45 Wetherspoons (Angel) – N1 9LQ 2.0m/3.2km 45 mins Angel Tube
Not a Break Final pick-up / meeting point
14:05 to 14:15 Piebury Corner –N7 8DL 1.3m/2.0km 30 mins Drayton Park or Holloway Road Tube
15:15 Emirates Stadium – N7 7AJ Finish and photos

The event itself is not about raising money and is all about raising awareness. It is aimed at sending out a message to encourage people to open up, to talk and to understand that they are not alone.

Secondly we have Arsenal in the Community partnering Islington Foodbank.

At the fixture against Crystal Palace there will be two donation collection points – one at podium level outside the Arsenal Museum and the other outside the Community Hub.

Fans are being encouraged to bring tinned food and non-perishable goods to the game which will then be made available to those that need it in the local community via the foodbank.

It is fantastic that Arsenal in the Community have decided to partner Islington Foodbank, continuing their long term pledge to help charities and residents of the local area.

We hope fans of Arsenal and Crystal Palacesupport both brilliant causes.