1. Old habits die hard
Mikel Arteta has spoken at length about changing the culture, the atmosphere and the belief in the dressing room. For all of the talk about the Pep Guardiola-inspired tactics and improved individual coaching, Arteta’s prime focus has centred on the attitude of the players, especially when they are defending.
While the high-pressing approach still paid dividends at times here, the vulnerabilities in defence were still present. Crystal Palace’s equaliser stemmed from a deep freekick where Arsenal were not organised to prevent the short pass and then far too slow to react in the penalty area, Granit Xhaka unable to close down the shot and David Luiz turning his back as he made a pitiful attempt to block Jordan Ayew’s effort.
The Arsenal defence is still creaky. The greater intensity of the frontline when pressing and structure of the central midfield has helped hide these deficiencies, but when the back four is asked to block out opponents for long periods, they begin to falter.
And it all starts with concentration, communication, and organisation. I guess old habits really do die hard.