Palace Preview & Özil: More Questions

Crystal Palace arrive at the Emirates, six months on from their season-ending win in April. That’s our season they ended, by the way.

It also ended Shkodran Mustafi’s Premier League career although the German looks like a man reborn in the ‘second string’. Natural level or just out of the firing line? Whichever it is, the sympathetic side of my nature thinks its a good thing for him.

He may be able to offer Mesut Özil some advice on his predicament. Not included in midweek nor (unsurprisingly) at Sheffield United, there is little chance of him being in the matchday squad.

His fall from grace is spectacular if nothing else. Indulged by Arsène, Emery holds no truck with the German’s lack of effort. What previously was described as ‘laconic’ is seen by the coach as perezoso.

Yesterday saw claims that LA Galaxy reportedly think replacing the crotch-grabbing Zlatan with Özil is a good idea. Knock yourself out, gentlemen.

What fee we’d get is a moot point; I wonder if we’re giving Özil enough rope to walk away on a free, citing sporting grounds to terminate his deal. Is it going to come to that?

Reading between the lines of Unai’s words, there is a concerted effort to force Özil out of the club. After a week when the Spaniard refused to talk about why the German isn’t selected -“I think it is not the moment to speak about him” – he said:

Here, we have one agreed strategy as a club and as a team. Because the most important thing is the club, the team and finding a performance. Previously we were all speaking between us to take that decision.

Unai holds the exit door open for Mesut

That’s fairly definitive in pointing to a club-wide decision.

One Man Banned

Why it has come to this is the question. Emery included Özil in pre-season and he did quite well. It wasn’t until the incident with Kolasinac that things went awry. The Bosnian recovered quickly and returned to the XI.

Özil returned to training, became ill, trained but was told it wasn’t hard enough. Others wanted it more, to paraphrase Emery. That coded message of ‘try harder’ was surely conveyed on the training pitches at Colney? Coach and player speak often enough to offer ample opportunity to see those words told to him in more expansive terms.

But those words aren’t getting through. Or if they are, they are being ignored. There’s speculation that he’s biding his time, waiting to outlast Emery. My guess is that unless things go completely off the rails on the pitch, that won’t happen before next summer and only then if we miserably fail to reach the top four.

Özil is within his rights to stay and see out his contract. However, he does so to the detriment of his carefully cultivated brand. Whatever else he may be, Özil is too astute to let damage occur to ‘MÖ8’.

From the club’s perspective, it’s throwing good money at bad. Moving Özil on is the top priority of the next two transfer windows. If he doesn’t get the message by Christmas, it’s time to be brutal and deliver the news he is finished at the club. This is a dark cloud hanging over a club where the acrimony of the previous manager’s departure still lingers.

It’s often said that fans are entitled for no good reason. When it affects the playing side of the club so obviously, that’s a good enough reason for us to be entitled to an explanation.

Eagles Nest

There is a match today and one we need to win. Monday night’s defeat is compounded by others’ results; a win today keeps us fifth with a two-point gap to fourth at best. It shows how quickly one bad defeat can impact your season.

We need to show a reaction to Bramall Line and preferably one which doesn’t bring us out in hives.

Three points is a must but equally as important is a good performance. Given the past few games, that is a tall order. I don’t expect many changes to enable that.

Given the back four which started on Thursday, an unchanged one from Sheffield is likely to start. In all honesty, Hector looks short of match fitness while only Kieran Tierney really has a chance of playing today. Emery isn’t going to drop Sideshow Bob or Sokratis.

That said, one change I do expect is Ceballos in for Willock. Every young player has spells in their learning phase where they plateau, where things don’t work. A rest today, a match on Wednesday takes him out of the spotlight and just to work things through.

Lacazette with Pepe and Aubameyang is tough on Saka but a couple of good performances from the former and the latter’s goalscoring record make them undroppable.

Which leaves the line-up:

Leno; Chambers, Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

In three weeks time, we could be sitting third, into the last eight of the Carabao Cup and knockout phase of the Europa League. However, we could equally be crying into our beer.

The least we can do is give ourselves a fighting chance of that happening by winning today.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

149 thoughts on “Palace Preview & Özil: More Questions

  1. Spike says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    That’s exactly what is being criticised! The shite and dodgy refs and the crooked cunt who runs the PGMO!

  2. C says:

    What does Lacazerte have to do to ger a foul…..Cahill has kicked and pushed him all match and I can’t remember a single foul being called. The moment Benteke or Zaha feel the breeze they fall over and Atkinson blows his whistle.

  3. Bufallo says:

    Utterly idiotic from Emery to appoint Xhaka as captain and showed he
    frankly isn’t the man. Imagine picking a player so unpopular with the fans whatever his stupid dressing room poll says. It’s all blowing up in his face, what a surprise.
    Taxi for Emery, taxi for Xhaka
    What was that about CP being just the sort of side we mess up against….2 nil up, blow it. Same old, same old.

  4. C says:

    Sead came in and the Palace players all turned away and went elsewhere.

  5. Colts says:

    THAnks Gwen that was hilarious 😂😂😂

  6. Spike says:

    Bufallo,

    Yep, the disgraceful refereeing decisions should not detract from the fact Emery needs to go.

  7. Woolwich Freddie says:

    C,

    They’ve seen the video.

  8. Spike says:

    Spike,

    But…

    The snide and secretive use of VAR has robbed us of a victory.

    The fact it has only been used to aid Palace is well fucked up!

  9. Woolwich Freddie says:

    If Emery had significantly changed something, even just the attitude and fight of the players, I would be more patient but all we have are all the weaknesses of late Wenger with no direction in sight. End it now and let’s have someone who will shake us up a little for 18 months. Even if it doesn’t make us tangibly better in the short term, we need to change.

  10. SV says:

    VAR is ruining the game (as anyone with common sense expected), and should be scrapped. I do not celebrate goals anymore. You never know, so better not be disappointed. They say there is no VAR in the lower leagues. Time to switch to real football?

    However, in this instance the real topic is not the VAR, but conceding two goals and failing to domonate a game against a mid table team, which has been a feature over a few weeks and now is reflected in the results. No luck this time to get away with a narrow win. The modfield us still a problem, and thd defence us shaky.

    We’ll be solid midtable after the Chrustmass / New Year sequence.

    It was clear after the business end of the previous season that Emery and his lack of ideas in EPL is not what we need.

  11. C says:

    Xhaka as Captain? Nope

    Xhaka as nailed on starter? Nope, funny we actually functioned better in midfield with Ceballos and Guendouzi

    Supporters booing him? Nope, not my style

    Xhaka responding as club captain reacting like that? Nope, you take the good with the bad

  12. C says:

    I get Saka is a superb young talent and I am ALL for playing the youth if they are ready, which Saka and Willock have shown they are…..but in a match where Palace is pinned back, even the potential of just one pass from Ozil could have made a difference from the bench or even bringing on Torriera instead of Saka and pushing Ceballos and Guendouzi higher up the pitch instead of them playing deep.

  13. Jonnygunner says:

    C:
    I get Saka is a superb young talent and I am ALL for playing the youth if they are ready, which Saka and Willock have shown they are…..but in a match where Palace is pinned back, even the potential of just one pass from Ozil could have made a difference from the bench or even bringing on Torriera instead of Saka and pushing Ceballos and Guendouzi higher up the pitch instead of them playing deep.

    Saka is ready-you’ve just said it….either he comes on or he doesn’t.
    He’s good enough C….Ožil is history now, as is Granit.They’ll soon be joined by Unai.
    VAR is ruining the game.

  14. Woolwich Freddie says:

    C,

    Agreed. Booing our own players is not something I’ve ever done. I understand Xhaka’s reaction but it was a no-no for a captain.

  15. Adam Singh says:

    VAR – decisions will go for and against us, it will even out over the season.

    But somethings got to change at arsenal. We are lucky to be 5th based on performances.

    Worrying times.

  16. Woolwich Freddie says:

    I really don’t get blaming VAR. It’s just technology. It’s like blaming the internet for social ills. I did not expect VAR to work unless they replaced the officials, somehow made them not cowardly, or challenged their infallibility and made them accountable. VAR is irrelevant to this debate – the refs would still get it wrong, bottle decisions, and be unaccountable and we would still all be able to see replays of it in slow motion.

  17. Jonnygunner says:

    Woolwich Freddie:
    I really don’t get blaming VAR. It’s just technology. It’s like blaming the internet for social ills. I did not expect VAR to work unless they replaced the officials, somehow made them not cowardly, or challenged their infallibility and made them accountable. VAR is irrelevant to this debate – the refs would still get it wrong, bottle decisions, and be unaccountable and we would still all be able to see replays of it in slow motion.

    The technology is there for the refs to re-assess certain situations.Maybe they should walk over to the pitch side screen and look themselves, not let someone else in a booth TELL them what to decide.

  18. Bill says:

    Another disappointing result. I was and I still am a fan of using video technology to help the refs but I must admit that at least so far I am not impressed by the way its being used.

    CBob

    I am not justifying anyone taking money under false pretenses but I also accept that human nature is what it is and I think its a small majority of people who be honorable and voluntarily give up $40M.

  19. Bill says:

    Like him or not I think the club needs to move on from Emery and go in a new direction.

  20. JonJon says:

    Var is usless

    but not as useless as emery….

    i think theres plenty of things that need fixing in football in general. but we need to look a little closer to home and fix that.

    var has been unkind to us in the last 2 matches but it doesnt nor shouldnt take away from the fact we didnt need var to beat shef u and palace.

    we threw those points away due to our own incompetence..

    same happened at watford

    same happened at the end of last season

    emery needs to go – theres two elite managers currently unemployed waiting for the right job

    get rid of this loser

  21. Paulie Walnuts says:

    VAR will kill the live at the ground experience. The biggest buzz a supporter gets is when a goal is scored. Take that away & what’s left ?

  22. Bill says:

    Football refs have the most difficult job of any match official in any sport in the world and it’s not even close. I am still 100% in favor of using video technology to help them do a better job. Hopefully the way it’s used will become better and more effective with more experience

  23. SV says:

    @Bill

    The price for VAR is the disrupted flow of the game. And some crucial decisions are still wrong. So, what is the point?

    I’m missing times when a goal was a goal.

  24. C says:

    Jonnygunner,

    He is good enough but Emery putting himself in this position is causing a problem.

    VAR is as useless as the officials who are running it. Saw the Manure match where penalties a plenty were given for contact but Lacazette gets banged down a couple times at the near post and the foul goes against him. Then the Chambers foul when he was the one who was being grabbed by 3 Palace players coupled with the fact he actually gets the ball 1st is beyond me. Consistency is shocking but not surprising given the refs.

  25. C says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    Spot on! Not just the reaction to the supporters but stripping off the shirt and heading down the tunnel because your subbed is a bad look for a captain.

  26. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Bill,

    Unless it’s offside it’s still subjective. What’s the difference between a ref making a mistake / decision or someone sat in a portacabin 100 miles away ? A couple of minutes. It doesn’t add to the drama ….it ruins spontaneity.

    There is no way to make things perfect. This isn’t rugby or cricket, we need to just use VAR for line calls only IMO

  27. Spike says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    Yep what is happening, is inconsistent, some games are being s scrutinised under a microscope. With almost every situation looked at and minute calls overruled. Then some games hardly anything is checked.

    Our 2 games vs Sheff Itd and Palace show how bad both approaches are.

  28. C says:

    Bill,

    The problem comes when those same refs are given the technology to help them in their job but they REFUSE to use it. There is a sideline monitor for them to use to check ANY decision that goes to VAR. For instance, the goal: Atkinson on the field calls a goal, the commentators call a goal and if not a penalty, the VAR officials see Chambers win the ball then fall over and they call a foul despite 3 players pulling and pushing Chambers, VAR says no goal. At that exact point in time, Atkinson should immediately walk over to the sideline monitor and see what was going on himself….

    That’s poor referring, poor VAR and poor use of VAR.

  29. C says:

    Moving forward though, Xhaka gets dropped and go with Torriera, Guendouzi and Ceballos in midfield with Willock coming in for any of the 3. I know he had a nightmare last time but re-introduce Maitland-Niles or even Chambers.

  30. jonnygunner says:

    C:
    Bill,

    The problem comes when those same refs are given the technology to help them in their job but they REFUSE to use it. There is a sideline monitor for them to use to check ANY decision that goes to VAR.For instance, the goal:Atkinson on the field calls a goal, the commentators call a goal and if not a penalty, the VAR officials see Chambers win the ball then fall over and they call a foul despite 3 players pulling and pushing Chambers, VAR says no goal.At that exact point in time, Atkinson should immediately walk over to the sideline monitor and see what was going on himself….

    That’s poor referring, poor VAR and poor use of VAR.

    Thats what I inferred several posts ago…

  31. C says:

    Emery on Xhaka:

    “He was wrong,” Emery said. “We need to stay calm, speak to him internally about that. We are working with the club and the players to play under pressure … We are going to speak with him because the reaction was wrong. We are here because we have supporters. We work for them and need to have respect for them when they are applauding us and criticizing us.”

  32. C says:

    jonnygunner,

    Yea, but sometimes you have to spell it out for my mate Bill or he will stick to his guns.

  33. C says:

    A friend of mine texted me and posed an interesting view to the supporters booing and jeering Xhaka, he stated:

    I wonder if the supporters were pissed because instead of jogging off as club captain to save time for us to get 3 points, he slowly walks off then gets pissed when the supporters have their say. Shouldn’t he have run off to save time and give us more time to try and get the winner?

  34. Ras says:

    Hhhhmmmm… I see it as quite simple. If Emery were at Chelsea do you think The Chelsea owner would tolerate this?

    As someone as already noted this has blown up in Emery’s face big time. I don’t see no way back for him. The same for Xhaka.

    Emery does not possess the the linguistic skill to fight his corner.

    Dead Man walking is Senor Emery. The Team ha ha used in the loosest sense is devoid of any form of visible Coaching and direction .

    The job is simply to big for him.

  35. Ras says:

    C,

    It stands to reason C that He should have ran off.Set an example no matter how disappointed he may personally have felt.

    His reaction to the booing from the Fans and walking straight down the tunnel Tells you all you need to know. He’s of Kosovo extraction. Known to be of a volatile nature.

  36. C says:

    YW,

    Its something I didn’t think about until he mentioned it but it makes perfect sense.

  37. Bill says:

    I am on record as being favor of VAR and I still believe it can help the game especially with offsides decisions but as Paulie walnuts pointed out even with VAR the decisions are subjective because that is the nature of the way football is officiated. So far the PL has not handled implementation well and it’s been a mess

  38. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Jonnygunner,

    Exactly. The fault is with the referees’ lack of bravery and judgment, not the technology.

  39. Ras says:

    I’m watching the post Match interview with Emery.

    How much rope do you need to give a Man to hang himself?

    I’ve been living in France now for 12 years. I’m pretty fluent in French. My grammar in terms of writing is not particularly brilliant. Due mainly to the fact that I’ve no major real reason to write in French.

    I can remember clearly trying to understand conversations with new acquaintances, going into shops the general every day thing. The ability to comprehend to be spontaneous goes out the window. I started off with a number standard phrases and learned as I went along making many errors. I still do though somewhat less.

    My point being I went for an interview for a job. I obtained this due to my then partners Father. I basically flopped because i couldn’t communicate intelligibly to the Assembled panel. The pressure. I feel it’s the same for our Senor Emery especially at Press Conferences.

    My then Partner here Father being influential a few areas

  40. Bill says:

    The problem is the fact that almost every decision other then offsides or handballs in our football is every bit as subjective as pass interference calls in American. That is an inherent problem and fans are never going to be happy when calls go against their team because the call in completely subjective. No technology can fix that. However, I still think the refs have a better chance to get the right call when they have the option to use the multi angle replays because they won’t get fooled by have a bad viewing angle or when their view is blocked by another player.

  41. YW says:

    Tomorrow’s post arrives at 7am.

    1300 words of sheer bloody pissed offedness wrapped up in nice terms.

  42. Blue Yonder says:

    People say that VAR may not always get it right but that it will even out over the season. That can also be said about pre-VAR refereeing decisions so where’s the advantage of VAR? We know the disadvantages of VAR: slowing down the game, making bad calls, alienating fans, etc, but where are the touted benefits?

  43. Bill says:

    The advantages are getting the calls correct on off sides and hand balls that have been missed over the years. The other advantage is a chance to reverse an obvious mistake that might occur if the ref has a bad viewing angle

  44. Bill says:

    VAR has some warts and nothing will ever be perfect but if used correctly it can definitely correct some of the inevitable obvious mistakes that linesmen and refs make when they have a bad viewing angle or their view is screened.

  45. C says:

    Bill,

    You backing yourself into a corner the same way that Emery has with Xhaka as captain. Quit while your ahead…

  46. Spike says:

    Bill,

    But the ‘offside’ calls they are ‘correcting’ are down to millimeters, which is NOT what VAR was intended for and not what it was introduced to eradicate.

    The refs in the UK are trying to suck even more joy out of the game! Refs have been supposed give offside calls for clear offside, not when a players tie nail is off side! The same applies to giving penalties for the merest ‘contact’ they are acting like academic scientists in a laboratory, who have zero understanding of the game. This is also evident with handball decisions, where it’s clearly unintentional and the player has no way of getting his hand/arm out the way.

    And finally, what is evident is the fact that this scrutiny is not applied consistently.

    So basically our refs are just as shit, inconsistent and unaccountable as they’ve always been.

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