When it ain't going for you...

Another Premier League draw for Arsenal, and another game they should probably have won. It's probably my imagination, but do Arsenal get punished more for individual mistakes than most other teams?


Arsenal started the game very strongly. Frankly, they were allowed to as Palace sat too far off of them. And Aubameyang scored a typical lovely goal with a crisp take-on from Lacazette's pass and a trademark finish.

And it was only then that Palace woke up, got up the pitch and started pressing - thus making it a much more even game. Once more, it was a pity for Arsenal that they didn't make their early dominance tell enough to score just one more goal.

For me, the game hinged on three key moments; firstly the injury to Torreira that meant that he failed to appear for the second half (he'd been bossing the midfield and stopping Palace from creating anything at all, really), then the tentative attempt at a clearance from David Luiz, who then compounded it by turning his back on a shot that therefore looped crazily off of his outstretched thigh and over the stranded Leno for the equaliser.

And finally the sending off of Aubameyang for a challenge that was merely mistimed and therefore looked far worse than it really was. Yes, a red, but similar challenges (and indeed worse and more premeditated ones; Cresswell's on Pepe springs immediately to mind) have gone less punished throughout this season, despite the availability of VAR.

And so Auba will miss three games - two in the Premier League and the FA Cup tie at Bournemouth. Lacazette will now need to step up, but I'll be excited to see Martinelli starting on the left for at least a while.

And so a much more even game, with both sides having chances to nick the win. Possibly the best of which was Pepe's shot that Guaita fingertipped onto the post (and then was able to smother Lacazette's follow-up). And, as I say, two points dropped.

I know that all football supporters do say that their team doesn't get the rub of the green with refereeing decisions (although if I were a Liverpool fan reading this I'd keep very shtum!), but a piece of work came out on social media over the weekend that suggested that Arsenal have been the biggest  Premier League sufferers so far this season, with up to nine points the cost of 'dodgy' VAR decisions that might have seen them up into fifth place instead of trailing in 10th.

Still, there are plenty of points to play for and with better fitness levels (which aid mental as well as physical conditioning), better game-management in general and hopefully the addition of one or two new players this month there are decent targets at which still to aim.

Just going back to the FA Cup game against Leeds on Monday now: I think that most Arsenal fans would agree that the team were fortunate to still be in the game at half-time, as Leeds did everything but score and there were times during the first 45 minutes that a visitor would have not been able to identify Arsenal as the team from a higher division. Fortunately, no chances were taken and following a half-time b*ll*cking from Arteta Arsenal emerged with renewed purpose and entirely bossed the second period. Will they ever learn? I do hope so.

And now a word on Mesut Ozil, whose influence seems to be somewhat waning over the past few games. I believe that we are entitled to expect more from him on a regular basis, and I would hope and suspect that Arteta will be telling him the same thing.

And so we await transfer developments, at the same time hoping that Arteta's message permeates more with the players. Saturday at home to Sheffield United is a must-win, however; especially as it will be followed by Chelsea away.

And now I must express disappointment that Liverpool's opposition on Saturday evening failed to take the two late and very presentable chances they had to turn the leaders over. Even if it was Tottenham. Liverpool aren't unbeatable, for sure, but the sooner somebody does the business, the happier I'm sure we will all feel.

Veering away from the matter in hand, I should mention that on the NFL front I am a Titans fan, and I'm getting somewhat excited about the possibilities of the team reaching and even winning Superbowl this season. The AFC Championship Game in Kansas City against the explosive Chiefs won't be easy - but then nobody gave them a prayer in Baltimore either. Go King Henry, and Go Titans!

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