Our Arsenal week 27 match review covers Arsenal’s defeat to Sporting in the Europa League and Arsenal’s win against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. The Gunners are now eight points clear of Manchester City with 10 Premier League games left to play, although Manchester City do have a game in hand. Let’s get into this week’s match review.
Arsenal Week 27 Match Review: The Positives
Arsenal’s performance against Sporting was disappointing overall, but Rob Holding was one of the bright spots in that defeat. He defended quite well overall, winning headers and generally preventing Sporting from creating good chances. Holding is no Saliba, but he held his own against Sporting and is a useful squad player. Holding also had a great game against Palace, winning seven aerial duels and four ground duels in a professional and controlled performance.
Another positive was that Xhaka scored against Sporting. Xhaka has played especially well in recent games and that will definitely help the Gunners as they seek to win the league title. Granit Xhaka was excellent against Palace as well and capped off his performance with a goal that sealed all three points for Arsenal. The Gunners’ midfield has been one of their strong points this season and Xhaka is one of the reasons that that has been the case.
Ben White also played well, both against Sporting and against Crystal Palace. White has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent players this season and has arguably been the best right-back in the Premier League this season. Ben White played a part in Arsenal’s first goal against Palace and got the assist for Arsenal’s second goal against Palace. White also defended stoutly, as we have come to expect from him.
Kieran Tierney Played Well Against Crystal Palace
Zinchenko started against Crystal Palace, but Kieran Tierney replaced him in the 65th minute and played well. Tierney defended well and was calm on the ball, as well. There have been talks about Tierney leaving Arsenal this summer, but his performance today demonstrated his quality and makes me hope he remains with the Gunners for the foreseeable future.
Jakub Kiwior Had a Good Home Debut
Jakub Kiwior played well in his home debut for Arsenal against Palace. He replaced Gabriel Magalhaes in the 86th minute and defended well during the time he had. Kiwior faced Zaha one-on-one a few times and stood his ground well. Kiwior made a good tackle, too. His performance is great to see, since he may be called upon to help Arsenal see out games in the future.
Arsenal Was Clinical in Front of Goal
The Gunners were clinical in front of the goal against Crystal Palace. They had five shots on target and scored four goals. That ruthlessness in front of goal is great to see. Arsenal easily could have scored five or six goals in this match, as well.
Palace simply could not deal with Arsenal’s attacking players in this match.
Arsenal Week 27 Match Review: Arsenal’s Midfield Excelled Once More
We’ve already spoken about Xhaka’s strong performance against Crystal Palace. Martin Odegaard had a good game as well, retaining possession and creating chances. Odegaard showed some lovely bits of skill as usual, but always with a purpose.
Thomas Partey was fantastic against Crystal Palace. Partey dominated the midfield and broke up Palace attacks before they could even begin by winning back possession. He kept possession when Palace did press him and got forward to support Arsenal’s attack when necessary, too.
Arsenal’s Front Three Ripped Through Crystal Palace’s Defense
The Gunners’ front three tore up the Crystal Palace defense in this match. Martinelli opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a clinical left-footed strike. Gabriel Martinelli looked sharp throughout the match and now has 13 Premier League goals this season. That includes six goals in his last six Premier League games.
Trossard played well against Palace, too. Leandro Trossard got the assist for Granit Xhaka’s goal. That goal secured the win for the Gunners. Trossard now has seven goal contributions since signing for Arsenal in January.
Saka was the star of the front three against Crystal Palace, though. Saka scored twice against Palace and provided the assist for Martinelli’s goal. Bukayo Saka now has 12 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season. He reminded everyone about his quality against Palace after a few quieter games.
Arsenal Week 27 Match Review: The Negatives
Arsenal lacked composure and motivation in the Europa League match against Sporting. The players knew that the club’s hopes of Champions League qualification didn’t hinge on winning the Europa League and they played like it. Saliba’s injury is another negative from that game, of course.
Martinelli did miss a penalty in the penalty shootout against Sporting. That is something that could affect his confidence. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as he scored Arsenal’s opening goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
No Clean Sheet Once More
The Gunners failed to keep a clean sheet against Crystal Palace. Palace scored from a corner in the second half. Arsenal have had fewer clean sheets at home than I would like this season. Regardless, the Gunners’ goal difference is still a fantastic +40 with 10 Premier League matches left to play this season.
Manager Ratings: 7/10 vs. Sporting and 9/10 vs Crystal Palace
Arteta could have and probably should have chosen a team with fewer first-team players against Sporting. The likes of Jorginho, Kiwior, and Holding could have all played in that game. Additionally, Arsenal seemed fairly unmotivated in this match, since they knew the stakes truly weren’t that high. It was a disappointing exit from the Europa League nonetheless.
However, Arteta got his decisions spot-on against Crystal Palace. Holding filled in well for Saliba and the team seemed far more motivated and ready to handle business against Crystal Palace. Bringing on Kiwior for Gabriel late in the second half was a good decision, as well. Kiwior played well in the time he had, so that should be a boost to his confidence. Playing Partey at right-back was a bit unusual, but it worked out just fine regardless.
Arsenal Host Leeds United After the Final International Break
The Premier League season doesn’t resume until April 1st due to the final international break of the season. The Gunners host Leeds United at the Emirates. Leeds will be highly motivated to try to get something out of that match, but I would bet Arsenal will win that game given the difference in quality and the Gunners’ home form this season.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.