Arsenal 1 - 0 QPR
Following two terrible defeats against Norwich & Schalke respectively, Arsenal simply needed all three points on offer at home to QPR. Thanks to some persistence and good fortune, they got the job done. But only just.
With QPR sitting at the bottom of the relegation zone, and Arsenal fielding a strengthened side, it should have been a simple, professional performance. But thanks to recent calamities both domestically and in Europe, QPR at home suddenly looked like a mammoth task.
Jack Wilshere started his first game for over 15 months alongside Arteta & Cazorla in midfield, and looked like he’d never been away. Despite a largely eventless first half, Wilshere was dictating the play, beating players and making challenges with ease. In fact, Jack was doing so well, that Santi Cazorla, the heartbeat of our midfield, seemed to be enjoying a day off thanks to the Englishman’s presence.
The first half consisted mainly of half-chances and well organised defending from QPR. Both Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud made good attempts on goal, only to be denied by the superb Julio Cesar, who was undoubtedly QPR’s best player on the day. [quote_right]”Certain pundits will point out the unconvincing nature of our victory, but had it been Manchester Utd or Chelsea, they’d have been commended for grinding out a result.”[/quote_right]
The second half began, the nervousness returned. We had clearly been aiming on getting an early goal, to put any Schalke inspired jitters ro rest, however, the goal never came. Once again we were staring at an eleven man brick wall who didn’t want to budge. QPR were defending well, and Arsenal weren’t creating anything of any value in the final third.
Bacary Sagna also started his first game since his injury last season, and gave a solid performance. unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Andre Santos, who was still having flashbacks of his horrific game against Schalke. His positioning was poor, and he left Vermaelen to deal with most of his defensive duties.
As the game progressed, Jack Wilshere was replaced by Theo Walcott, allowing Aaron Ramsey to slot back into the centre. Our midfield immediately looked less threatening, and the clock was ticking. We needed a goal.
On the stroke of 80 minutes, Arsenal got the breakthrough they needed. No, not a goal. QPR player Mbia simply lashed out into a frenzy of kicks at Thomas Vermaelen, invoking the referee to produce a red card. Ten minutes, ten men. Arsenal had no excuses to not get their season back on track.
Thankfully, just five minutes later, Arshavin, who had replaced Gervinho, whipped in an excellent cross. Giroud rose above his marker to guide it towards goal, only to have Julio Cesar once again produce a good save. However, Mikel Arteta was on hand to clean up, by tapping the loose ball into the net. Arsenal had scored for the first time since the 6th of October.
Despite some nervy moments and a good one on one save by Vito Mannone, Arsenal managed to hold on to their lead, to secure all three points.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Had a pleasantly quiet first half, and produced a good one on one save to ensure Arsenal’s victory in the closing minutes.
After several months out, nobody would have minded if Sagna had a shaky return. But we don’t call him Mr Consistent for nothing. Faultless performance.
Back to his best. Made challenge after challenge and did produced good forward runs. Should have scored early in the second half.
The Big German was once again as solid as they come. Cut out passes well and was calm under pressure.
Another game to forget for Santos. Constantly out of position, and didn’t form a good offensive partnership with Podolski. GKieran Gibbs’ position as first choice left back is certainly assured.
MOTM. We know he’s good, but to perform so well after 15 months on the sidelines is incredible. Eased through the game, producing some good chances, and forcing a good save from Julio Cesar.
Moved into a more defensive role thanks to the re-introduction of Jack Wilshere. intercepted passes and got stuck in when needed, not to mention scoring the illusive winner. Alex who?
A quiet game for the Spaniard. Didn’t get on the ball much, and was being quickly closed down by the QPR midfield.
Worked hard, but couldn’t produce anything of any value.
Despite playing out of position, Aaron had yet another poor game. Passes keep going astray, and he is defensively suspect. Needs to step up if he’s to feature in the central midfield role again.
Couldn’t do much to impress thanks to the lack of chances being created. Won most, if not all, of his aerial battles, and made good runs. His parried headr will count as yet another assist for Mikel Arteta’s winner.
Looked lively when introduced, and ran at the QPR defenders. Something which Aaron Ramsey & Gervinho haven’t quite mastered. Sign him up!
For once, the Russian looked liked he cared. Crossed in the ball for the winner, and made an excellent challenge late in the game after Aaron Ramsey lost the ball.
[title]Hoops Give Us Hope[/title]
Arsenal desperately needed to bounce back against QPR today, and despite the nervousness of our victory, three points is three points. Certain pundits will point out the unconvincing nature of our victory, but had it been Man Utd or Chelsea, they’d have been commended for ‘grinding out a result’.
We have some positives to take away from the game, and we now have Reading in the Capital One Cup to think about. Cazorla, Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Arteta could all do with a rest, and another win would settle our nerves in time for Manchester United away.
What did you think of the Arsenal Vs QPR match? Share your views in the comments section below.