All is not well at Arsenal at the moment, that is clear for all to see. The Gunners are currently eight places off of the top four and a return to Europe’s top club competition next season through the Premier League route looks more and more unlikely.
Last weekend they were dealt defeat by Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium and it is fair to say that they did so with a very ordinary looking side. Alexis Sanchez was left in London as the continued transfer saga surrounding the Chilean international continues to develop.
After looking as if he would be signing for Manchester City for so long, it now looks as if he will be going to Old Trafford instead of the Etihad, while in all honesty I think the majority of Arsenal fans no longer care where he goes they just want this ordeal to come to an end.
Arsenal have to try and keep their hopes of a top four finish alive and they can only do so by getting league wins on the board, something that they have failed to do in their last three outings while also managing just two from their last six.
It is that form which has seen them slip away as of late and with the current crop of players that they have you do wonder how if at all they are going to be able to bridge the gap to the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool who sit comfortably above them.
This afternoon they play host to a resurgent Crystal Palace side and they will look to bounce back from that embarrassing defeat to Bournemouth last Sunday, a game where defensive lapses saw them throw away their second half advantage to eventually leave Dorset empty handed and also empty hearted.
Hector Bellerin’s second half opener was canceled out by defensive uncertainty as Callum Wilson stole in to knock the ball past a hesitant Petr Cech, while minutes later it would get much worse as a powerful Jordon Ibe drive turned the game on its head.
Crystal Palace will have looked at those defensive deficiencies and will be looking to exploit the exact same ones as they look to move further up the Premier League table, Roy Hodgson’s men are currently twelfth and a win today would see them move into the top half.
Something that even the most ardent Crystal Palace fan would not have believed after seven weeks of the season, but a huge amount of credit has to go to Roy Hodgson who has slowly but surely turned this rudderless ship round in the right direction.
That was no less evident than last weekend when they got the better of Burnley at Selhurst Park, the in form Bakary Sako was the difference as he scored the game’s solitary goal to add more misery on Sean Dyche’s men as of late while in turn improving their own league standing.
That was Palace’s second straight win in the league and also their third without defeat, it may well be easier said than done but it is amazing what an unbeaten run can do for you in the bottom half of the table, keep defeat at bay and all of a sudden the outlook become a lot more clearer.
The Eagles certainly come into this game with the momentum but at the same time they could well be going up against a wounded animal in the form of Arsenal later today, the Gunners fans are going to demand a reaction after their drab performance last weekend in Dorset.
The Emirates can be a toxic environment should results not go the way of the home side, you get the feeling that the players dare not slip up today as the heat emanating from the ground could almost be nuclear. I think North London will just get the better of South this time around as I reckon it will be a home win.