Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace in a game packed with drama
Well, well, well. Where to begin after all that carnage yesterday afternoon?
The list of talking points is endless – Arsenal throw away a two-goal lead, another sub-par performance, VAR getting it badly wrong and perhaps the most pressing matter of all, the Granit Xhaka incident with the fans.
Not to mention the level of pressure Emery is now surely under after a poor result sees the disappointing start to the season continue.
One thing is for sure – the club feels like it’s in a mess right now. All the pre-season enthusiasm after what appeared to be a positive summer transfer window has been zapped away.
And it has only been compounded by the 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, which followed the dismal defeat away at Sheffield United last Monday.
The performanceEmbed from Getty Images
One point from these last two games is worryingly bad.
The performances don’t seem to be improving and but for two goals from set pieces, it could have been a whole lot worse against Palace.
To let a two-goal lead slip at home is unforgivable, especially when we did the same thing just weeks ago at Watford.
It’s still hard to see what Emery is trying to achieve. What is the game plan? No one can seem to pinpoint a strategy or philosophy.
Granit Xhaka incidentEmbed from Getty Images
You’ve probably all seen what happened by now when Xhaka was subbed off for Saka with 30 minutes remaining and the scores tied.
It feels like the eruption of a situation that has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time. Xhaka has taken huge criticism from fans, some of it justified, some of it slightly harsh.
There’s two perspectives to assess Xhaka’s reaction from – what he should do as a player and club captain and what any normal person would do.
If you put yourself in his position, he’s been berated for months and its culminated in being booed off by his own fans to be replaced by a teenager. It’s not a pleasant situation.
So for a man of his passion, you can understand why he was hurt and upset by what was happening. As a human being, the reaction is arguably forgivable.
But as a club captain, who should be setting an example, it’s disastrous. You cannot gesticulate like a petulant teenager towards the crowd and you certainly can’t tell them to “f*** off”.
Emery has to take some of the blameEmbed from Getty Images
“He was wrong,” Emery told Arsenal.com.
“Now we need to stay calm and speak with him, to speak inside about that reaction.
“His reaction was wrong in that moment. We are working, me and the club, inside with every player to manage playing under pressure.
“We need to be clever in our minds and create habits under pressure for our minds to be clearer.
“We can play with our hearts and can be hot in difficult moments, but our minds must be clever.
“We are going to speak about that, of course, because the reaction was wrong.
“We will speak with the players and the club about this reaction.”Embed from Getty Images
But the Spaniard has to surely shoulder some of the blame for what happened. The whole situation with Xhaka being named captain has been handled badly.
Why wasn’t he elected as skipper in the summer after Koscielny left? Why did it then take so long into the season to do so? Why, when it was clear fans weren’t happy with the prospect of the Swiss taking the armband, did it happen anyway?
These are all questions the fans are asking. And it’s on Emery. He’s the one managing that situation and he’s made a real mess of it.
Now the consequences are massive.
VAR isn’t workingEmbed from Getty Images
Despite all the drama and intense negativity after what happened with Xhaka, Arsenal could’ve still snuck away with all three points. And we should have done.
It’s still not clear what the third goal by Sokratis was chalked off for. It looked to be a foul on Calum Chambers if anything.
Regardless of the obvious issues on and off the pitch, it’s fair to say we’ve been hard done by there
It was a shocking decision by the technology supposedly brought in to do two things: Stop clear and obvious errors and get the right decision.
VAR got it drastically wrong on both counts. Serious questions need to be asked.
Sokratis: ‘I think it was a goal’Embed from Getty Images
I think it was a goal,” Sokratis said. “I’ve just watched it again and Calum didn’t do anything. We’re just confused because I don’t think that they used VAR in the right way.
“Last week, it was a penalty on me and we didn’t use VAR. This week, we used it two or three times and again it is against us. I think that in the best league in the world, everything has to be better so I think that VAR is a good solution, but the referees have to check it every time.
“Last week it was the same situation where it was a clear penalty (for a shirt pull at Sheffield United), but they didn’t use VAR. We lost the game and at least one point. This week we’ve lost at least two points.
“If we had 18 points after today, it’s a different thing. Of course we made mistakes and we can speak about those mistakes and the way we’ve conceded, the way we didn’t score. First of all, we have to seek a better use of VAR.”Arsenal.com