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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace 22/23

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Sunday 19th march 2023, we made the trip from South to North London to watch Arsenal host Crystal Palace at The Emirates. It was 2pm kick off and as usual we drove to the match, it wasn’t too far but we left early as there was a train strike so expected traffic etc, there surprisingly wasn’t that much and we arrived at the stadium two hours ahead of kick off. The stadium doesn’t have a carpark but as it is located in Islington whom allow disabled badge holders to park in permit bays, it was pretty easy to find parking a short walk from the away end.

My Mum and I have visited the Emirates previously three times, with this being our forth, today was Mother’s Day so not sure how pleased she was to return especially after the result 😅. We had sat in the same seats on the previous visit, it was located behind the fans but directly next to the home fans (surprising there wasn’t much abuse exchanged today), the view was great and we could see the whole pitch.

The home side and today’s opponent were sitting comfortably at the top of the league table where they have been for the majority of the season. They have won their recent Premier League games comfortably only falling short against their title rivals Manchester City in a 3-1 lose back in February. Despite their fine form in the league four days prior to this game they were knocked out of the Europa League after losing to Sporting Lisbon on penalties, our game was going to see how they react to this defeat and if they had a confidence knock.

The main news out of the Palace camp was the sacking of manager Patrick Vieira. I personally am mixed with the Vieira situation, I’m sad he didn’t get the backing from the board because it felt like he was building something special, and we have achieved so much under him, but on the flip side we can’t continue with the way we’ve been playing recently … we now just have to wait and see who will be his replacement.

For the trip to north London under 21 manager and previous Crystal Palace captain Paddy McCarthy stood in as temporary manager, with assistant Darren Powell alongside him. Paddy made three changes to the line-up, two of which were forced - Joel Ward, James Tomkins and Luka Milivojevic came in to replace Nathanial Clyne, Joachim Andersen (who got injured in the warm up) and ineligible Sambi Lokonga. 19-year-old Academy Graduate Joe Whitworth kept his position between the sticks after making and impressing in his Premier League debut against Brighton on Wednesday after Vicente Guaita pulled out late with an injury.

A five goal thriller which saw Arsenal extend their lead at the top of the table with a 4-1 victory over the Eagles.

Palace came into the game with great intensity and were almost rewarded just 11 minutes in. Possession was overturned in their favour in the midfield, Jeffery Schlupp’s up-field pass found Zaha who could drive towards Ben White, he cutting inside and unleashed a low shot which was denied by the near post.

Moments later the Eagles managed to open up Arsenal’s defence once again with some quick one touch passing ending with Michael Olise playing Odsonne Edouard through on goal, his shot was at the keeper but the offside flag was up anyway.

After making his Premier League debut just five days prior Joe Whitworth was called to action to make a great diving save to stop a Martin Ødegaard 25 yard strike, the 19-year-old keeper had another great performance with his distribution being second to none.

Arsenal looked really strong on the overlap down both wings; Ward struggled to keep up with Martinelli forcing Olise to track back to help which in fairness did work out but I think Nathaniel Clyne should be starting in the right back position.

Despite the brighter start from the visitors the home side began to assert their expected dominance as the game went on having a full grip of the half as Palace slipped back into their old habits of not closing down, losing the ball and giving the opponent too much time on the ball. And it was the Gunners who netted first.

Some poor marking from Palace allowed Bukayo Saka to be slipped in down the outside of the box, he spotted his teammate unmarked in lots of space on the opposite side of the box and picked him out with an inch-perfect ball. Gabriel Martinelli was the receiver, he took one touch on the outside of Joel Ward before finishing into the far bottom corner.

Just before half time home-side came close to a second as the ball fizzed across the face of goal, but no man in red and white was there to tap it in. In the same phase of play Arsenal did double their lead… playing a one-two with White, an inform Saka had so much space to slot the ball past Whitworth and into the far side of the net. From a Palace perspective both goals were avoidable if players were closed down.

The second half began as the first ended – with Arsenal in complete domination. Regardless of this Palace continued to fight for a way back into the game hitting Arsenal on the counterattack. Similarly to the first half it was Zaha who had their best chance of the half, a powerful shot from the wingers right boot forced a good strong save from Aaron Ramsdale.

When on the attack Arsenal had loads of players in the box, whereas when Palace were on the attack nobody wanted to get into the box, pretty much sums up why one team is top of the league and the other is fighting for relegation.

The home side were rewarded with a third goal which again was down to poor closing down. Arsenal were allowed to play fluid football around the men in their black away strip before Granit Xhaka netted from close range.

Palace’s fight was eventually rewarded in the 63rd minute, an Olise corner was directed goalwards by Schlupp in front of the travelling fans finally giving them something to cheer about. It felt as though Palace could at least go on to narrow the score line but matters went from bad to worse.

With 15 minutes remaining all hope was lost as Saka netted his second of the day, after some poor clearing by Palace Kieran Tierney pulled the ball back to the centre of the box to the feet of Saka who directed the ball into the near side of the net.

This was the fifth and final goal of the game being Arsenal extend their lead at the top with a 4-1 victory over the Eagles.

Although they showed some positives and FINALLY got a goal the performance as a whole still wasn’t good enough, I understand it’s against a tough Arsenal side so I guess we will see if there’s any change in upcoming games (which on paper we should be winning but we never know with Palace). It was too soon for Paddy to implement his own tactics but now with the international break it gives him or whoever replaces him time to work with the boys ahead of Leicester at home in 2 weeks.

My next game is England vs Ukraine at Wembley on the 26th of march so look out for that post 😊.

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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