And so ends another season….
But wait a minute, we’ve still got one game to go, we’re in the CUP FINAL!
Our rivals for that game have two games to go as their match today got abandoned. I was praying for a Swansea victory against their rivals City so that they would have to put out a strong squad to beat Bournemouth in their rescheduled match, which I hope is going to be this week. Surely the incentive of a Champions League place will ensure they put out Rooney etc. so they can chalk up a 19-0 win.
We can but hope. But today’s game for Palace was less than ideal preparation for a cup final. The 4-1 scoreline is possibly a little on the harsh side but five changes from last week and a 442 formation as opposed to our usual one saw few us crumple to defeat against a Southampton side determined to get into Europe and perhaps remembering how we beat them twice earlier in the season.
Palace legend Julian Speroni started in goal for only his second start and in doing so he equalled a club record of appearances for a keeper. But popular as he is he didn’t do his chances of selection in the final by coming out for a cross when defenders were likely to get to it, and punching a clearance to Mane who put them one up just before the whistle blew for half time. We hadn’t created too much in the way of chances but we looked ok up to that point defending well. The second half didn’t get any better, we conceded another three goals and the only cheer was when Jason Puncheon curled in a shot from a corner to make it 2-1 soon after they’d gone two up.
I sincerely hope Scott Dann is back in defence for the final and that Delaney isn’t injured although he looked to be struggling towards the end after picking up a knock. In midfield we missed the creativity of Yannick and Wilf (or Bolassie and Zaha) to those not intimate with Palace. With Yohan (Cabaye) also out our midfield looked like they were strangers pulled off the stands to make up the numbers in a park kickabout. Up front Adebayor (it’s gonna take more than one goal to make me refer to him by his first name) did little to make his claim for a place in the starting line-up (and a new contract) ahead of Wickham (who I hope is fit by then). Dwight (Gayle) showed lots of endeavour and I would certainly prefer him to be used in attack. Of the subs only Sulley Kaikai showed us something to get excited about.
So, with the Championship and relegation spaces decided it was a low key end of league season. My Arsenal supporting family and mates will be pissing themselves to overtake Tottenham and finish second. How the hell do you lose 5-1 to Newcastle?
I don’t allow myself to expect victory next week. On paper we are the weaker team. But just in case I’m wrong I’m going because I wouldn’t want to miss seeing history being made.