Defeat at Palace gives Arsenal problems

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard (left) and Albert Sambi Lokonga react following defeat at Crystal Palace

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard (left) and Albert Sambi Lokonga react following defeat at Crystal Palace - Credit: PA

Arsenal were embarrassed 3-0 by Crystal Palace on Monday night, outfought and outplayed on an evening which may prove costly in the Gunners’ season.

After a 16-day break from Premier League action it was clear Arsenal had lost their swagger, looking rattled from the off.

When players like Martin Odegaard are taking heavy touch after heavy touch it is not going to be a good night. 

Palace swarmed Arsenal, pouncing on the rustiness and ruthlessly punishing any mistake at the back to take a commanding early lead. 

Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe tries to attack at Crystal Palace

Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe tries to attack at Crystal Palace - Credit: PA

The result in isolation is not the end of the world. Arsenal have nine games left and play rivals Tottenham and Manchester United having played fewer games than each of their rivals for a Champions League spot.

The concern is the lack of depth in the squad as key players may now be out injured for the remainder of the season.

Mikel Arteta expressed concern pre-game about a knee injury that Kieran Tierney picked up during the break, whilst Thomas Partey pulled a muscle in the second half, supposedly the same muscle that side-lined him for six weeks last season. 

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With Takehiro Tomiyasu still out with a calf problem, we saw Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares start as the full-backs for Arsenal, but neither ended the game. 

It is wrong to place blame on any one individual for the performance against Crystal Palace.

The players themselves will know that each one of them was not good enough, but both full-backs being hooked is quite alarming.

An under-covered narrative around Arsenal this season is the sheer volume of work that needs to be done in the summer. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans following the match at Selhurst Park

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans following the match at Selhurst Park - Credit: PA

Whilst Arteta has drastically improved the quality in the starting 11, the Gunners are desperate for a new starting striker and potentially a midfielder to replace Granit Xhaka.

But back-ups at right-back, left-back, left centre-back, in central midfield, on the right wing and up top are all positions that need to be considered, as evidenced by Arsenal’s lack of options against Crystal Palace. 

We have seen Arteta and Edu lead a strong summer window already, and Arsenal desperately need another.