Another Game week has passed in the Premier League, and it was concluded by a clash between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park. This week has brought major paradigm shift amongst FPL managers, to assess which players are assets and which ones are deadwood and liabilities going into the next game week.
First up let’s review the entire game as a whole:
Mikel Arteta’s men were looking to snatch all three points at Selhurst Park, and the strategy taken upon by the manager was quite an interesting one. Injury to new signing Jurrien Timber, in their opening fixture against Forest. While the 10 men that started in the aforementioned fixture, kept their place in the XI, it was the inclusion of one man and the exclusion of the other that raised eyebrows amongst Gooners and FPL managers alike.
Gabriel Mangalhaes, who has been the cornerstone of Arteta’s defense and is the defender that started the most games for the manager last season, was dropped for the second fixture in a row. Timber’s injury had regained hope amongst Gabriel owners for the chance of him staring against Palace but to their misery, it was Takehiro Tomiyasu that featured at LB for Arsenal, a role that he is quite unfamiliar with.
Roy Hodgson’s Palace lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with star-man Eberechi Eze playing in his preferred position in the hole, behind the striker at CAM. Crystal Palace came in this game, following a hard fought win against newly promoted Sheffield United in their opening game, which they won1-0.
Both teams had a slow start to the game, but soon enough one could see Arteta’s vision behind playing Thomas Partey at right back as he was used as a inverted fullback, forming a double pivot with Declan Rice in what looked like a 3-2-4-1 when the Gunners were in possession.
Half time couldn’t come soon enough as despite Arsenal’s relentless pressure on Palace’s backline, they, managed to keep the likes of Nketiah, Saka and Martinelli away from scoring despite Nketiah hitting the frame of the goal. Both teams, created some half and some clear cut chances but Arsenal, clearly looked the better of both sides.
The Second Half saw the game get a lot more open from Palace’s point of view with Eze, Ayew and Edouard fighting back to get their team a go-ahead goal, however, it was Arsenal who got a golden opportunity when Nketiah was brought down in the box by keeper, Johnstone, after a freekick from 35 yards out was taken quickly by Martinelli.
Saka has been the nailed-on Penalty taker for Arsenal, for a year now. Even though his penalty miss against West Ham from last season haunts the souls of every Gooner as they missed out on the coveted Prem title. Despite that, he was the number 1 pick from the spot kick for Arteta. To many people’s surprise however, it was Odegaard who took the spot kick and in scintillating fashion as he tucked it past Johnstone to give Arsenal the lead.
The game saw furthermore drama when a penalty shout from Palace was denied by referee, David Coote when Eze was brought down in Arsenal’s box after Partey stuck out a leg but VAR agreed with the referee and deemed play on.
The game saw its second questionable decision from Coote when he showed a second yellow to Tomiyasu for his challenge on Jordan Ayew, when he beat the Japanese international to chase a long ball from Palace’s defense. There however, was minimal contact between the two and a second yellow was quite a harsh decision from the English official.
The game ended, 1-0 with Arsenal climbing up to 3rd on the table as they made it 2 wins in 2 games and an ideal start to their 23/24 Premier League campaign Behind Champions Manchester City and one of the hottest teams in the division, Brighton & Hove Albion. Declan Rice was awarded the MOTM as he played in a much deeper role, commandeering the tempo of the game.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from The Palace v Arsenal game:
Odegaard (8.5m): The Norwegian midfield maestro to many people’s surprises took the penalty against Palace but pen he did take as he calmly tucked it past Johnstone to net the only goal of the game, scoring 11 points as Arsenal also managed to keep a clean sheet and bagged 3 bonus points, proper haul material.
With Arsenal’s fixture against Fulham, and Odegaard looking to be the nailed pen taker, he could be a major asset heading into GW3 and it wouldn’t be a shock if he is one of the most transferred players into FPL squads.
Saliba (5.0m): Heading into the season a major debate amongst managers was choosing between Saliba and Gabriel, and Gabriel was given the edge as he is a bigger threat aerially and the fact that Saliba sustained a major injury in the second half of the season but Saliba owners rejoiced much to Gabriel owners’ misery as he managed to keep a clean sheet, scoring 8 points, including a bonus of 2. While Gabriel looks to be out of Favour with the manager, making his appearances from the bench.
Gabriel Magalhaes (5.0m): This name just had to be there, didn’t it? What a fall from grace it has been for the Brazilian. Going from starting all of the games last season to not even being able to secure his spot that is playing a backup option in Tomiyasu and out of position Partey at LB and RB respectively.
The best move would be to transfer Gabriel out for a city defender like Walker or Dias as they have a fairly comfortable run of games coming or bringing in Saliba if you just want to cut your losses and not miss out on an Arsenal CS.
Gabriel Martinelli: Looks like it hasn’t been the best week for Gabriels especially the ones playing for Arsenal. Martinelli has been one of the most sought-after midfielders in FPL, having a selection rate of 15.3%.
He had a disappointing outing at Selhurst Park, as he had a staggeringly low xGI of just 0.15 and when compared to his fellow attackers at Arsenal, who are his biggest competitors, FPL wise, Saka and Odegaard have produced great numbers, having xGIs of 0.35 and 0.91 respectively.
However, it would be quite a hasty decision to transfer the Brazilian as he has shown his quality in GW 1 as he managed to provide an assist. Our advice would be to hold him for now as Arsenal face Fulham at home next.