Palace game is the end of the beginning for Arsenal

By Avenell Dave

It is hard to be disheartened by Tuesday's defeat.

We were beaten by, what even the staunchest of supporters around me admitted was a very good goal. 

Yes we were going for it when we could have been a bit less gung-ho and hopefully that painful lesson will be heeded and not prevent us from getting out of the Group Stages of the Champions League.

Where earlier in the season we were being a bit more conservative pushing forward, we committed too many people forward and you can;t do that if you want to win trophies or compete with the very best teams. 

Saturday sees us face what is perhaps the last of the so-called easier games before the hard stuff kicks in. 

So many pundits and even some fans seem to be convinced that we'll be found out as soon as we start playing big teams, but I don;t thin that's our biggest worry.

Right now, we seem not to know who would feature in our best midfield, mainly because Arteta has come back and it's damaged the balance of the team when he and Flamini play together.

It's meant that Wilshere has been shunted left or right, Ramsey played out of position as well and despite some decent results, the blend doesn't quite work.

I'm not surprised that players are getting tired - there has been little to no rotation. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing even if we could do with some players back.

As Sporting Intelligence wrote yesterday, Arsenal have been at their most proficient when a core of the team played regularly so that bodes well.

What we have to do is start winning against the big teams but if the start of the season has been easier than for some other teams - and I would suggest that winning away at Swansea and playing WBA when they were on fire are hardly cake walk fixtures nor was the game against the Spuds. 

Palace played well at the start of the Fulham game but in the end they were well beaten. 

Maybe I'm in a minoroty but I like Ian Holloway and perhaps his biggest challenge was getting Palace promoted too early and then trying to build a competitive side too fast. 

Certainly they will become a much disliked team if Pulis goes there but for now, let's hope a caretaker manager is unable to pull them out of the mire in time for our game. 

I suspect - or maybe it is hope - that most of the senior squad will be rested next week for the League Cup, so the Palace game is one we should approach with the strongest possible team.

With question marks over Wilshere both in terms of form and fitness, I'd play Flamini and Arteta giving Ramsey the opportunity to roam forward (and hopefully not dither on his on 18 yard box again!) 

The rest of the side picks itself, doesn't it? 



Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Arteta Flamini Ramsey

Ozil Cazorla