Arsenal V Crystal Palace Preview/Line-up: Arsenal Strongest Eleven? And Focus on an Arsenal Hero

Arsenal Heroes

Charles Frederick “Charlie” George

Charlie was born 10 October 1950 in Islington, North London.

Brought up deep in Arsenal territory, Charlie was just a nipper when he made his first trip to Highbury to see the Gunners play. His fiery nature showed up early in his life when he was expelled from a local school. As a young boy he played for Islington Schoolboys before he realised his dream when in May 1966 he signed as an apprentice at Arsenal and turned professional eighteen months later. In a short period of three to four years he had progressed from standing on the terraces watching his heroes to actually playing among them.

He made his debut against Everton in the opening game of the 1969/70 season and scored his first goal against West Bromwich Albion two games later. Unfortunately, ill-discipline marred his initial season and as a result he spent three months in the reserves. He was reinstated in the spring and as a19-year-old he helped the Gunners to European Fairs Cup glory. He brought a swagger previously unseen in a Bertie Mee side, and his impact meant he attracted much of the pre-season hype in the summer of 1970. It wasn’t a case of if he would be good but more a case of just how good he would become. Disaster lurked just around the corner when after scoring at Goodison Park on the opening day of the League season; Charlie suffered a broken ankle which kept him out until the New Year. During his absence he was replaced up front by Ray Kennedy. His skills and creativity allowed him to thrive in his new role as an attacking midfielder and from there he gave the team an added dimension that would prove to pay the ultimate dividend on a historic day at Wembley in May 1971.

Arsenal had wrapped up the league title at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane on the Monday when Ray Kennedy headed home a cross from George Armstrong – now just a short few days later they had to face Bill Shankley’s Liverpool in the FA Cup final. After 90 minutes the game was goalless but just two minutes into extra time Liverpool were ahead through Steve Heighway. Nine minutes later Eddie Kelly started what would be a remarkable Arsenal comeback. With eight minutes to go the game looked destined for a draw with both sets of players dead on their feet until George, Arsenal’s long-haired talisman, stepped up. John Radford squared the ball just outside the box and George took a touch to steady himself before lashing a thunderbolt of a shot past Ray Clemence into the Liverpool goal.

The game commentator described the goal as follows –

Radford to George – George –




His celebration is almost as famous as the goal itself as he dropped to the floor in exhaustion and lay flat on his back as his team-mates celebrated. It remains one of the most rousing and lasting images in Arsenal’s history as well as the history of the FA Cup.

With the FA Cup win Arsenal completed their first League and Cup double.

He played four more seasons at Highbury, however the latter stages of his career with Arsenal were hampered with injuries and his rebellious streak which created issues with the club’s management; during the 1971–72 season he was disciplined by the club twice, first after head butting Liverpool’s Kevin Keegan, and then for flicking a V-sign at Derby County’s fans after scoring away at the Baseball Ground. He scored eleven goals in both 1971–72 and 1972–73 but his form declined and he only scored five times in 28 matches in 1973–74 and once again ill discipline caused a problem and he was dropped from the first team in 1974–75 after falling out with manager Bertie Mee. By Christmas 1974 he had been transfer listed, and he moved to Derby County in July 1975 for £100,000.

He spent three and a half years at Derby but, predictably, he fell out with coach Don Revie after being substituted and he was never picked again. He also had a loan spell at St George’s Budapest in Australia. After Derby, he went on to play for the Minnesota Kicks in the North American Soccer League, where he made 18 appearances in the1978 season. He then returned to England with Southampton and then he had a short period on loan to Nottingham Forest in 1980, he could not agree an extension to his loan at Forest and returned to Southampton, playing his last league game for them on 14 March 1981. In the summer of 1981 he left the club to move to Bulova in Hong Kong. A year later he returned to England to have short spells with Bournemouth and Derby County for a second time, and had a short time with Scottish side Dundee United before retiring in 1983.

Always a controversial figure, Charlie had his run-ins with the game’s authorities, but his supporters loved him no less for it. Sadly for him he never got the chance to fulfil his potential on the international stage and the hour he played for England against the Republic of Ireland in 1976 was to be his only cap. A disagreement with then boss Don Revie led to his substitution and a falling out with the England set-up.

After retiring from football he moved to New Milton, Hampshire to run a pub. For some years he had joint ownership in a garage business now he is back at Arsenal where he conducts “Legends” tours, and also acts as a match day host.

Arsenal v Crystal Palace – Div 1 Home Games
130-Mar-701  202
214-Nov-70 1 110
327-Nov-711  211
426-Mar-731  101
522-Mar-80 1 110
620-Apr-811  321
701-Jan-901  413
823-Feb-911  404
911-Apr-921  413
Total :72022715
Arsenal v Crystal Palace – EPL Home Games
108-May-931  303
201-Oct-94  112-1
321-Feb-981  101
414-Feb-051  514
502-Feb-141  202
616-Aug-141  211
717-Apr-16 1 110
801-Jan-171  202
920-Jan-181  413
1021-Apr-19  123-1
1127-Oct-19 1 220
Total :722251114

In our 20 EPL history we have only lost at home twice against Crystal Palace and I cannot forsee that changing and I feel we will continue our winning streak.

Arsenal v Crystal Palace – ALL Home Games
Division 172022715
Total :1442471829


Predicted Line-up v Palace (by TotalArsenal)

55 thoughts on “Arsenal V Crystal Palace Preview/Line-up: Arsenal Strongest Eleven? And Focus on an Arsenal Hero

  • Thanks GN5 for a nice and refreshing new take on the previews. Charlie George was some character and has been around the world from what you have written. Was he one of your favourites from that era?

  • The stats are also very much in our favour, but I am hoping the boys are fully focused tomorrow evening. The Spuds just dropped two precious points against lowly Fulham, and deservedly so, so let’s hope they will use this as a warning! I have no doubt that we will have to fight The Eagles tooth and nail tomorrow.

  • Thanks for the preview GN5.
    Did wish to address the availability of Gabriel Martinelli tomorrow. While the team news seemed iffy? A clip from a team training video looks like he’s ready physically. Question then being if he’s match fit.

    The video I mentioned is at bottom of page at this link:

    We do know how much Arteta values his presence. Hope Marti is deemed ready!

  • Dennis Bergkamp is the finest footballer I’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt but Charlie George was my hero and he still is. Johann Cruyff commented positively on George’s ability shortly after Arsenal had knocked Ajax out of the European Fairs Cup in 1970, he was one of several ‘maverick’ footballers in England who were superb technicians in an era of long ball druggery. Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Duncan McKenzie, Frank Worthington were others.

    There is a really excellent book about the life and career of Arsenal manager Bertie Mee, worth a read for any fan interested in our history and an interesting if less we’ll written book on Charlie that was published around the same time and it’s interesting to read both because it gives you an insight into how they rubbed up against each other. Mee was old school, he’d come through the War and was a stickler for how you conducted yourself, he also had issues with the changing face of football, footballers and society in general and it’s lack of respect. Charlie was a working class lad who didn’t cow tow to anyone but his reluctance to compromise hurt him as much as anyone. He couldn’t stand Bertie Mee and Mee didn’t like him and so their relationship, or lack of, almost led to Charlie joining Tottenham when he left.
    £100,000 for a player of his quality was a joke, he was worth five times that but his reputation and injury record affect his value. He actually played some of his best football for Derby County but he was a player who should have been central to England and any club he played for.

    I have many great memories of him, destroying West Ham at Upton Park, smashing home a thunderbolt on my first visit to Maine Road, scoring a free kick at Highbury (vs Coventry if I recall) and injuring his ankle at the same time, his iconic goal at Wembley, his knack of passing a 40 or 50 year pass straight to a team mates foot, his rasping free kicks, his headers and once I saw him threatening to punch an opponents lights out after he’d been kicking George Armstrong all over the pitch, you didn’t mess with Charlie, he loved Arsenal and we all loved him.

  • Charlie has been a regular feature around the ground for years. I remember one afternoon he was strolling home past the Highbury Barn and got some applause and some chanting. He looked pretty embarrassed and not comfortable with the adulation.

    I think it was Dave Mackay at Derby. Not a man to be messed with if my experience of him at his tie shop in Winchmore Hill was anything to go by!

  • Match day!! Really looking forward to the game tonight and I am sure this will not be easy bar a quick couple of goals for us. We better be enjoy it as the next game is after the weekend.

  • Thank you all for your comments.

    I chose Charlie George because like GN5 he was born and bred in Highbury and was an Arsenal fan for as long as he could remember. I scanned the picture of him in his living room with his medals from special Cup Final edition of the Evening Standard – which I still have to this day.

    His goal against Liverpool in the final was one of the most memorable, meaningful and exciting goals in Arsenal history.

    Kev you were right in that you could frequently bump into him either in or around the ground.

    I hope you enjoy this seven minute video of the 1971 FA Cup Final against Liverpool and Charlie’s famous goal.

  • I have a medical appointment that’s 90 minutes prior to kick off today – I could well miss my first Arsenal game in years and it’s only being shown on DAZN which has no recording facilities.

  • GN5– let me know if you’d like– I can find you a web-safe location online for you to watch the entire match later today.


  • Hey LeG, I think I was a bit too direct with you yesterday and didn’t respect your different opinion enough. Apologies and I hope it doesn’t put you off blogging here. 🤗

  • That was Peter Thirst who mentioned Charlie being around Highbury GN5, I actually saw him walking up Tottenham High Road prior to a NLD back in the 1970’s, nobody said a word to him and I just looked at him with awe, he didn’t give a monkeys.

  • Brilliant my favourite player of all time.. my kids were taught to do a Charlie George lay down as soon as they could walk.

  • It is probably a warm day in London that put Tierney out of his comfort zone.
    But it will be nice to see AMN play a full game.
    Both teams have a quite attack-minded starting line-up, so I expect a good, entertaining game with many chances and a few goals. Let’s win by 3:1!

  • GN5– I’ll be able to provide the links shortly after the game concludes.


    Surprised that Arteta selected Luiz– until I saw AMN on the pitch on that (Auba’s) side. That trio had success playing together last Summer.


  • Good evening, guys. Must say I worry about the backline and hope it isn’t for the need to rest Tierney and Mari, with Monday in mind, and not some injury. Fingers crossed.

    However, AMN is a good man marker and may be to keep Townsend quiet.

    We have enough upfront to give their defence problems. Look forward to a good game and the win.

  • don’t you worry TA
    i was busy today sorting out as many things as i could before the upcoming stricter curfew
    is kieran injured??

  • Both sides have started tentatively with Arsenal having the greater possession, albeit with not much in terms of penetration. Some of the lads look a bit leggy at times, like Maitland-Niles, who has had a few misplaced passes and headers, in dangerous areas, it must be said. He is giving away fouls too. He doesn’t look too confident, at the start. I imagine the shadow of Tierney weighing on his shoulders.

    The inconsistency of English refs never ceases to amaze. What was that foul at the edge of our box, given against Xhaka, for?

  • Auba stings keepers palms, a bit. Not long after, Saka also gets a shot in, but too direct at the keeper. We appear to think much of the visitors’ forwards and appear wary of how tricky they can be. Xhaka has had two very good defensive actions already. He is having a good game.

  • I see too much space between the deep mids and the attacking mids. We need to play much more compact in second half. They have targeted our right side and Bels and eballos have to be more disciplined. Some fine attacking balls by Ceballos.

  • Half time. 0-0 with the visitors having had the better of the chances, mostly self inflicted, the opportunities they’ve had.

    Looking at the bench and it’s hard to see who can be the game changer and who comes off for that one. Pepe? Willian? Both don’t give much inspiration unless “today is that day” they come into their own. So, for me, it is down to the 11 on the field to put some money RE passion into it and put them under pressure. Not sure if it’s according to instruction, but I thought Auba wasn’t helping the forward press.

  • Strong claims for a penalty and yes Premier League refs are consistently inconsistent Eris.

    Bellerin is playing well, not so AMN who has given the ball away far too many times.

  • Life without Kieran … just as tough as we all knew it would be
    The boys try hard but Kieran’s spark is missing, all the more so since Bukayo’s and Emil’s don’t shine as bright as they have since Chelsea
    Dani, Rob, Granit … Bernd (oh yeah!!!) are excellent, Hector/Auba very good; Luiz on the left doesn’t seem able to deliver the same beautiful long passes as the ones he does when he plays on the right – I don’t think he even tried one
    The main problem is the link Emil-Laca imo, it has been broken so far, either because Emil plays too deep or because Laca has been hiding behind the CBs a little too much (I think a bit of both, actually). Just once Emil had weighted a perfect cross from the right for Laca, but Hector had a very unfortunate touch then
    We should be wary, they are experienced, well-organized, disciplined and with Townsend/Benteke/Eze/Zaha they have all it takes to hurt us, maybe Bukayo left-back, and Pépé RW would enhance the whole thing …

  • AMN hasn’t been having much luck with the bounce of the ball tonight, has he?

    We picked things up a bit in the second half and just have to keep that up till we score. The longer we take, the more confident they grow. Looks like a game where one goal may settle it.

  • David Luis just went into the back of Zaha there, rather needlessly because it was an obvious foul.
    Xhaka has given away a couple of fouls. But he has also made quite a number of useful interceptions. Partey comes on for Ceballos; not sure how Xhaka will play with him, but it will be good to see.

  • They were a locked box indeed. We didn’t have the key, nor what it took to smash it open
    Taking Emil out, and playing Laca right behind Eddie might have brought more pressure/danger, but … I have a feeling the lads’ legs were cup-tie heavy still
    There’ll be better days

  • A draw and a clean sheet is what it ends. Looks like we missed Tierney, for sure. We’ve not helped ourselves in terms of our aspirations to move into the top 10, as we just didn’t do enough offensively to make this happen.

    The smiles on the Palace players’ faces at the end of the game tells you which team was the happier with the draw. This non-energetic performance was not dissimilar to what we’ve seen with the other teams, in all the midweek games, except for the cutting edge we couldn’t muster when it mattered. We have to improve on our intensity and show we want the win. We didn’t do that enough tonight. Well, we move on to the next game.

  • GN5– the link as mentioned:

    Scroll down most of the way down the page. You’ll see a typical video player embedded.
    Above it will four black boxes ‘Pre Match – Highlights – First Half – Second Half’
    Select which you wish to watch– then click to start the video player below.


    Was a rather uneventful affair. Though, with three first XI (Tierney, Elneny, Mari) and Martinelli not even making the bench– and expected-to-return starter Gabriel observing from said bench– it’s not surprising to see the collective motor hitting on fewer than all cylinders.


  • In tonight’s game the senior players bought the food to the table.
    Ainsley was really poor (made the wrong decision or executed it with flaw almost every time), Saka was below his standard (especially in the first half, but improved in the second), ESR was mostly anonymous…
    On the other hand Bellerin gave a monster performance defensively, Holding was reliability personified, Auba was dangerous with his positioning and crossing (as was more of a threat to Kieran’s position than AMN), and Xhaka was the obvious Man of the Match with his crisp passes as well as his crazy pitch-high 6 tackles and team-high 3 clearances.
    Maybe with Tierney – and a sharper Lacazette – we could have kept all 3 point home.

  • I am not exactly sure what that says about us when our most influential player is a left back and when that left back is missing we again look very average, maybe some tired legs but not everyone played the 120 minutes last Sunday,

    I actually thought that ESR made some really nice movements and runs but was ignored, when he got the ball it was quick one touch then move it on but too many of our mob wanted too many touches which made it easy for Palace to organise and hold their shape, I actually thought that we missed Elneny.

    Maitland Niles was careless and sloppy and that maybe explains why Arteta doesn’t use him more often, yes he was probably a bit rusty but being able to make a pass when not under pressure is surely the minimum requirement of a highly paid footballer.

    I think it’s best I leave it there…

  • Agreed, Kev, It seemed at times that we were forcing the left side too often, while Saka and ESR were left standing on the right and middle.
    Our crosses were generally poor yesterday (Bellerin: 1/3, AMN: 0/1, ESR: 0/4, Saka: 4/13, Auba 1/3), but our long balls were surprisingly accurate, even from the back (Luiz: 3/5, Holding 6/11, Ceballos: 8/8, Xhaka: 7/8).

    I was kind of curious about Zaha and Eze. We are/were constantly in rumors signing them, I watched them with an eye if they would boost our attack. Well, neither were bad per se, but I found Zaha rather a fault magnet than danger personified and I wasn’t particularly impressed with Eze either. I cannot say that with such reinforcements we could retire Pepe, Martinelli or anybody else. Of course it was just a single game, but I would either look elsewhere for January signings, or focus on trimming the squad and finding the best positions for our existing talent.

  • Morning Peter, yeah the Palace threat came down their left with Zaha and Eze and whilst they didn’t set the world alight most of the Eagles’ dangerous moves came via them. I don’t rate Zaha, he’s a bit of a big girls blouse who falls over and whinges all the time, I actually thought that Eze looked ok, but we have players who can play to their level and we need upgrades in those positions not the same thing.

    I’ve really enjoyed our recent run, I’ve enjoyed our football, it’s had a freedom and exuberance about it but not yesterday, it was boring and tedious. Was I expecting too much too soon, possibly?
    I found it worrying that the absence of one player should see our level drop so dramatically, it shows how far we have still to go. Credit to Palace, they were organised, resolute and almost mugged us a couple of times, although I thought that we might have had a penalty. I would have liked to see how the dynamics of the game would have changed if we could have scored the first goal?

  • Jw1, Thank you so much for taking the time to find a source for me to see the replay, as it turned my specialist called and turned my office appointment into a telephone appointment – so I was able to see the goalless game. Like most fans I was waiting for the game to come alive but frankly without Tierney racing down the wing and delivering cross after cross it never happened.

    Still I won’t complain about us extending our unbeaten streak.

    The judgement of those who choose to sign Pepe over Zaha must be seriously questioned!

  • Welcome nonetheless GN5.

    Kev– with Elneny and Mari also not in the lineup, the team’s dynamic changes. The bit of chemistry that had been forming? Changes when Ceballos isn’t popping into the spaces Where Elneny does. While Luiz has a knack for going over the top with a ball– Mari is more like a cog in the works. The ball just wasn’t getting into spots quickly enough for our dangermen to be so. And well, yeah, Tierney as well.

    Martinelli too. Makes defenders keep their heads on a swivel.

    The team isn’t yet at a level where reserve players can be counted on for the same consistency– which first-teamers have just begun to develop.

  • Fair comments, Peter, Kev and jw1. It is worrisome to see how badly our offensive game relies so much on Tierney’s direct runs and crosses. Beyond being match rusty, I feel AMN is a confidence player and maybe, wasn’t willing to measure himself against Tierney’s new found reputation. I am just glad Tierney’s exclusion was precautionary.

    And indeed, Saka and ESR didn’t have a good game; at least, they weren’t asking the questions as we know they can. I almost tore my hair out (not that I have much to tear, but you guys wouldn’t know that) seeing how many times ESR and Saka kept making runs which were, variously, ignored by the likes of Luis, Ceballos, Bellerin and on one occasion, Xhaka and Holding. Just gamble on it and cause them more problems. No; we seemed intent on just keeping the ball for the sake of it, against a side that didn’t worry us much when they had the ball. Maybe, Arteta just wished to avoid a defeat first.

  • Saw what you did too Eris– with regard to unfulfilled one-twos and ignored passes into spaces where ESR and Saka expected them. It’s a fragile work in progress at this juncture. Strange as this might sound? Yesterday’s match seems to underscore Elneny’s value at this place in time.

    Sometime in the 2nd half, my thoughts returned to the sense the team gave us last Summer. Play as airtight as possible in the defensive end– and count on a moment or two of brilliance at the other. Felt that was why we saw AMN and Luiz played– hoping to rekindle that summertime spark. Alas, there was no flint to be found. 😐

  • It’s nice knowing, Eris, that I’m not alone with hair shortage. 🙂

    I personally didn’t miss Elneny yesterday. The difference was – in my opinion – an uninspired (and probably tired) Lacazette and an offensively poor AMN (who was weaker than Bellerin in every aspect of the game). Crystal Palace might not be as strong as a good Arsenal team, but with a couple of below average performance we weren’t the better team any more – at least not with a clear margin that could be translated into goals.
    I think our midfield was pretty good, and I don’t see what Gabriel or Mari might have done differently that would have given us the edge. The keepers made some decent saves, but our ball possession dominance didn’t lead to many clear chances as we seemingly forced our game on the left (probably trying to exploit Ward’s defensive shortcomings), but without more central involvement from Ceballos and ESR we revert back to the familiar and unsuccessful ways of crosses from the byline. Even when Xhaka provided some through balls there weren’t enough attacking player in the second wave to conclude the attempt dangerously. As Arteta said in a press conference, “we lacked that quality in the final third, that are needed against teams like Palace”, but I felt it was more about wrong tactics that series of individual mistakes.

  • I think it was a game to forget quickly. Not that we played badly, and especially our defending was good, but we lacked the necessary energy and the bounce of the ball to hurt the well organised Eagles. I agree with Arteta that the team looked tired from their recent run of games. The clean sheet and minutes for Partey are the big plusses.

  • Just one of those games as far as I’m concerned. Bound to happen.
    Positives.., I thought Xhaka and Ceballos were excellent. Clean sheet. Partey return of course.
    One big beef with Arteta. I said it here at the time. The effing FA cup, Tierney deserved a rest more than anybody. And how many minutes did he have to put in? Instead of using Ainsley. Very annoying.

  • Eris, JW, No offense, but im with PB (as I often am) on the following point….
    …. when we keep a clean sheet, and had trouble finishing attacks, I don’t see how that leads anyone to miss Elneny of all people. Sometimes I think although I like him personally, and think he’s handy in the squad, I’d like us to get rid of him this summer. Too many gooners think that somehow he is an answer for this team in any way. When he is used in a league game, to me, it means there’s such a glaring weakness in our midfield contingent. To start him against a team like Crystal Palace would be a shame. Besides, I don’t think Granit and Dani were the problem.

  • It is probably in hindsight which is neither falsifiable nor elegant to blame Arteta upon such grounds, but I agree with Jnyc implied suggestion, that if we had played with AMN at LB against Newcastle and with Tierney at LB against Crystal Palace we would have probably won both games.

    TA, I don’t want to see demanding, but what about the ratings or the (8) observations post, my friend? 🙂

  • Jync, you make a good point on the subject of Elneny. While I don’t recall mentioning him or suggesting he was a miss against Palace, I think what jw1 referred to was his pressing game and ability to push up to play in the opposition half; he also makes more forward passes.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say we should sell him unless we have sufficiency in our midfield complement and have him so low in the pecking order as to be surplus to requirements. Frankly, I am not sure he would have made a big difference to the result of the Palace game either. I bet he would have had instructions to cover for Bellerin more, which may restrict his natural instinct for the forward play.

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