Arsenal 2-1 Palace
Crystal Palace suffered injury time heartbreak at the Emirates as Aaron Ramsey scored a stoppage time winner. Down to ten men after the sending off of Jason Puncheon the manager-less Eagles fought stoically only to fall at the final hurdle.
It was a brutal, some may say inevitable, end to a week that Palace fans the world over are unlikely to forget in a hurry but the Palace players can leave North London with their heads held high.
Despite the solid performance it was frustrating to concede the two goals in such soft circumstances. If Arsenal open you up with quick and sharp passes then so be it. The discipline was there, however, and the Gunners were kept at arms length for the entire game. Until the home sign had the opportunity to get the ball into the box from dead ball situations.
'Under Tony Pulis we only conceded from a set piece once."
Under Tony Pulis we only conceded from a set piece once and that was a goal that shouldn't have stood because of a foul. So, should we be concerned that we have conceded from two set pieces in the first game without the former gaffer? Probably not.
With the preparation that goes into games there is no way we deviated from the plan that Pulis set out. If he was on the sideline, we would have still conceded in that fashion. It probably has more to do with the new additions to the back line.
Martin Kelly and Brede Hangeland were making their debuts, making a back four that have not previously played even one minute together. It will take some time for them to gel. The injury to Scot Dann only added to the disruption to the defensive line.
The New Signings
How did they get on?
Brede Hangeland - One of the surprising things under Pulis was that we scored so few goals from set pieces. Every week it seemed like a big centre back was scoring a header for Stoke when he was up there. In signing Hangeland I am sure that Pulis had this in mind. Hey presto, he scores from the first corner that he goes up for in a Palace shirt.
"He was an imposing presence at the back."
Aside from the first Arsenal goal he defended superbly. He got himself into a right mess positionally but some credit has to be given to the quality of the delivery that definitely played a role in making the big man look poor. He was an imposing presence at the back and looked a lot more comfortable in a defence that sits deeper than he did in the high line that Fulham held last season.
Martin Kelly - The stand out performer for me and if he can steer clear of injuries we have picked up one of the bargains of the season. Big and fast, positionally sound and read the game very well. Fingers crossed on his health.
Fraizer Campbell - Completes a hattrick of impressive debuts. Far more understated as it only really involved working hard and holding up the ball well. He has clearly been asked to play the role that Cameron Jerome fulfilled last season and he is certainly an upgrade here and he will certainly help Puncheon and, dare I say it, Bolasie get more goals this season as he is very intelligent at bringing the midfield into the game.
Man of the Match: Mile Jedinak
Surprise surprise, the man from down under is already putting in man of the match performances. He was yet again an absolute beast in the middle of the park. To manage to look so good in and amongst any Arsenal midfield is always impressive and with stats like 9 tackles and 5 interceptions he will be Premier League leading come the end of the season yet again in these areas.
Probably not as amazing as last season at the Emirates but still a pretty impressive showing. All of the people around me had lost their voices by half time. Perhaps we need a pre season for our voice boxes!!
As I watched 57,000 Arsenal fans finally sing a song after taking the lead in injury time at the end of the game I experienced two emotions. One was sheer embarrassment on their behalf. Embarrassment that continued once we were outside the stadium as pockets of Arsenal fans tried to mock Palace fans over the result.
"Results do not define why I support my football team."
The other emotion was proudness. 3,000 pairs of hands immediately went up in the air to signal "We Love You" and a wall of impressive noise was created. A wall of defiance. A wall that shows regardless of what happens behind the scenes, we are the club. Unlike Arsenal fans who moan constantly despite finishing in the top four for the last 172 seasons, we are not about the results. Sure it is nice to win but results do not define why I support my football team. We are so much more than that as Palace fans and 57,000 tourists kindly reminded me of that yesterday evening.
Up Next: West Ham
FIrst up at home is a huge game. We took 6 very handy points from West Ham last season and it is key that we continue to take those sorts of points from the beatable teams in the division. Lets get some points on the board early.
Come on you Palace!