Revealed: Arsenal’s bizarre pre-match routine ahead of Crystal Palace defeat

Unai Emery

A report from the Mirror this evening has shed light on an unusual pre-match ritual in the Arsenal dressing room this season.

Leicester 3-0 Arsenal

Unai Emery’s men travelled to the King Power Stadium yesterday afternoon, for a Premier League clash.

The matchup came as the North Londoners’ latest outing in their quest to secure a top-4 spot, amid a tightly-contested battle with all of Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Spurs’ surprise defeat to West Ham on Saturday afternoon opened the door for Arsenal ahead of kick-off, with the Gunners having headed into proceedings aware that a victory would have seen them (at least temporarily) leapfrog 4th-placed Chelsea, and move to within a point of Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham in 3rd.

But, in typical Gunners’ fashion, a dismal showing on the road eventually saw the North Londoners downed by 3 goals to nil.

After Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent for an early bath following a second yellow-card with just 36 minutes gone, Leicester took full advantage following the interval, courtesy of Youri Tielemans’ opener, and a late Jamie Vardy brace.

‘We are Arsenal’

Arsenal’s defeat came as the capital giants’ 3rd straight, on the back losses at the hands of both Crystal Palace and Wolves.

And it is a story surrounding the first of these, the Gunners’ shock 3-2 home defeat to Palace, which has this evening been gaining widespread attention online.

A report from the Mirror details a somewhat-bizarre pre-match routine, during which a member of the club’s backroom staff attempted to rile Arsenal’s players up by means of a rousing team-talk:

‘Ameesh Manek, who is primarily in charge of organising first team travel, did the pre-match ritual before the shock defeat to Crystal Palace which put them on a run of three consecutive defeats.’

Shkodran Mustafi

Wilfried Zaha celebrates during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Crystal Palace. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

‘Manek is understood to have stood in the middle of a circle of players and shouted: “We are Arsenal ” and “No-one comes to our home” with the players shouting in a football version of the All Blacks’ pre-match haka.’

Evidently, the team-talk didn’t do the trick, with the Mirror’s report continuing:

‘Mirror Sport can reveal that the idea of using different members of staff for the “team huddle” comes from David Priestley who works at Arsenal as a psychologist and has managed to get Emery’s ear.’

Arsenal are said to have utilized the unusual tactic on a number of occasions throughout the season, in an attempt to build squad cohesion and togetherness.

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