So, the last time we spoke, some idiot was saying something about not casting envious eyes in the direction of the Crystal Palace bench and our former captain, Patrick Vieira.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates with Nuno Tavares after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on December 02, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates with Nuno Tavares after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on December 02, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

I wonder who that was? Definitely not me guv, oh no.

Wowwee, people.

I don’t know about you, but Monday night’s Palace performance actually felt like it was Vieira personified.

They were tough like Vieira, they played with no little skill, like Vieira, and in front of goal, they were utterly ruthless.

I mean, to me, they were so good that getting upset about the Arsenal’s performance – and there was a lot to get upset about – almost felt beside the point.

Sometimes, it just isn’t your night and, unfortunately for Arsenal, this was true of almost everyone who took the field on Monday night – caught, as they were, in a perfect Palace storm.

I think the moment that really summed this up for me came in the middle of the second half, when Sky flashed up the possession stats for the second half – Crystal Palace 20/80 Arsenal.

“I know what happens next”, I thought to myself.

Sure enough, within a minute or two, Wilf Zaha had burst up the pitch and won a penalty off a clumsy Martin Odegaard.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal looks dejected after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on April 04, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Martin Odegaard of Arsenal looks dejected after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on April 04, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I’m not claiming any special insight there, by the way.

I bet at least some of you had a similar thought. Having missed two very presentable chances at 2-0 down ourselves, there was no coming back from the dispatched penalty.

And so it proved.

A bad, bad night and one that was capped with news that Kieran Tierney will be out for the season. This, after Scotland manager Steve Clarke’s boneheaded decision to put Tierney through two friendlies in their entirety over the international break.

I mean, if we know anything about Tierney (other than the fact he’s brilliant), it’s that he’s – well, a little fragile.

A side effect of this injury is that Tierney will likely miss Scotland’s World Cup play off against Ukraine.

So, it’s not just Tierney and Arsenal that Clarke has, unnecessarily, ruined, it’s his own team as well.

Idiot.

Arsenal will attempt to get the show back on the road on Saturday afternoon at home to Brighton. They will do so having also lost Thomas Partey to a likely recurrence of the thigh injury which caused him to miss just over a month of last season.

The timing could be ruinous to Arsenal’s Champions League prospects.

Could be.

It could also be a really good opportunity for two of last summer’s signings to re-establish a foothold in the first team.

I know what you’re thinking – Nuno Tavares has endured a couple of really difficult nights this year, making a grand total of about 80 minutes from his last two starts.

It’s clear that, for all his skill and athletic prowess, he is not the most switched on defensively – and, boy did we pay for it with his reaction, or lack of it, to that incredible pass through our midfield with which Andersen found Jordan Ayew.

In mitigation, you could also ask how he might be expected to build up any rhythm when first team opportunities have been so scarce this year?

For the record, people have been critical of Gabriel for his performance on Monday night, which generally wasn’t great, but I have sympathy for him regarding his perceived “failure” to cut out that Andersen pass.

If Martin Odegaard makes that pass, some chance on Monday night, but if he does, we’re all calling it a worldie.

At least from where I’m sitting.

Anyway, we need Tavares to jump back in the boat, to use Arteta’s words from Monday, and do so quickly.

Likewise with the lesser spotted Sambi Lokonga.

I feel a little more confident about him, although having lost Tierney from the defence, it seems clear to me that a slight rejig is likely to be needed, with Xhaka returning to the base of midfield and offering us a little bit more protection to Tavares and a partner for Sambi.

I don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday (I’m writing this on Friday), but Brighton at home is probably exactly the sort of fixture we need to get the show back on the road.

I will be there with my buddy James for the penultimate time this season.

Home games have generally been pretty fun this season, let’s hope, the next time we speak, that truism has held and we are three points better off.

Onwards and upwards.

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It's a family affair... third generation Gooner, obsessed with Arsenal since the 80's. I've been writing about that obsession and, ever so occasionally, the team since 2004 in a variety of places, but have found a natural home here. As you will find out if you stick around long enough, I am a huge fan of Santi Cazorla. I'm extremely fond of cheese, Marmite, Pipers Salt n' Vinegar crisps, Pilsner Urquell, vodka tonics and absinthe. I am also hopelessly obsessed with Depeche Mode.