Whilst the club are hardly floating perilously above the relegation, the mind boggles just as to how toxic the atmosphere among Arsenal fans has to get before Arsene Wenger decides to reluctantly hand his badge and his gun (cannon) into his grateful club sheriffs.
Arsenal were handed a 3-0 Selhurst Park shellacking to a vastly improved Crystal Palace side last night, a result that effectively ended their Champions League hopes – a seeming base expectation for the upper hierarchy of the club.
Sam Allardyce was reasonably downbeat upon taking over from Alan Pardew months prior, commenting it wouldn’t be until the back end of the season that Eagle fans would see improvement, and how.
Admittedly the home side allowed their hosts to reach a staggering 72% possession, Palace, however, were absolutely devastating on the counter attack and were clearly the hungrier of the two teams throughout.
Andros Townsend got things off to a fine start, smashing in from close range on 17 minutes. By the time Yohan Cabaye, a player formerly connected with the Gunners, sent a looping shot over the hapless Martinez, Arsenal were beaten men. A formality third via a Milivojevic penalty compounded Arsenal to one of their most miserable defeats of the season.
Naturally, much of the media attention was focused on Wenger’s failings rather than the ruthless performance by Palace.
Speaking in the post-match, Wenger poke to the baying media;
“I understand our fans are disappointed and we all are deeply disappointed,” he said.
“It’s very worrying and disappointing the way we lost the game. Palace were sharp, they beat Chelsea the other day, and that shows they have quality.
“We are in a difficult position. The game tonight doesn’t help.”
Speaking in a far more upbeat tone, Allardyce had this to say when speaking to SkySports.
“Tactically the players were aware of how to beat Arsenal. The first thing was to defend and frustrate them, keep them playing sideways, then use the space behind the full-backs. Arsenal have been weak defensively, they leave the centre-backs exposed.
“We won a lot of possession of them and created lots of chances. Cabaye’s goal, what a finish – and that was down to us pressing them. It wasn’t a shock for me because we played Chelsea and won that game. The result might be a shock, but we did that again and did it better.
“We all know Arsenal are going through their worst spell for years, but the only way to take advantage is by playing well. Everything worked perfectly for us today.”
Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Sakho, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Puncheon, Zaha, Townsend, Benteke
Arsenal XI: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck