4 conclusions as Arsenal lose to Crystal Palace
- It was a huge blow for Arsenal in their attempt to finish in the top four.
A terrible first half for Arsenal saw them go a goal down against Roy Hodgson's men. Though Mesut Ozil's brilliant finish cancelled out Christian Benteke's opener, Shkodran Mustafi did a Mustafi and Wilfred Zaha capitalised on the mistake, passing the ball past Bernd Leno to make it 2-1 for the visitors.
James McArthur struck again through a set-piece as Arsenal failed to deploy their offside traps on time, which led to the Gunners going 2 goals down against Crystal Palace.
Though Aubameyang got one for the team within 10 minutes of McArthur's header, the home side fell short of goals, bottling a chance to go third on the table, two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur. Now they sit on 4th, a point behind 3rd-placed Tottenham and two points ahead of Manchester United, who experienced humiliation at Goodison Park earlier in the day.
Unai Emery certainly got some decisions wrong, and a few players were below par yet again, costing their team 3 points, which could prove to be vital in the top four race. These are the four conclusions from the game.
#4 Arsenal deployed a very weak midfield
Unai Emery expected his side to get a win against Crystal Palace with Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny in the middle, just like they did against Newcastle, but the fact that they were without their key defender, Sokratis, made things tougher for Arsenal and easier for the visitors.
Though the Gunners conceded two out of the three goals from set-pieces, there was zero creativity or control in the midfield. Arsenal's two key midfielders, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira, were both not starting: Xhaka due to an injury and Torreira was given a bit of a break before Arsenal travel to face Wolves, and this clearly cost the home side 3 very vital points.
Guendouzi and Elneny do not complement each other. They lack creativity and physical strength, and the midfield duo could not break Crystal Palace's counter-attacks as efficiently as Xhaka and Torreira would have done, and Emery's decision backfired big time.