QPR 2-1 Arsenal, or A Slip Does Not A Disaster Make
It was really just a matter of time before Arsenal’s win streak came to an end. We’ve been on a roll for weeks, winning seven in a row, and the general feeling of contentedness and satisfaction with the manager, players, and club as a whole has grown because of it. It’s as if the suffering and pain fans went through in the early months of the season finally paid off, that there was something positive in this team that we could see building from game to game. That we lost yesterday at Loftus Road should not be seen as disaster, rather we should view Arsenal’s progress up to this point as uplifting and something that can provide a back bone for the team that can lead to future victories.
To be fair to QPR, they played a decent game of football and seemed to want it more than we did. They defended well when we moved up the pitch and were successful in keeping Robin low key throughout the 90 minutes. Our number 10 had very few chances on goal, the best being a low free kick that somewhat tested their keeper, and an offside attempt that, had the flag remained down, was still well saved. We seemed to find it hard to break them down and create any real scoring opportunities.
When QPR moved forward, they looked threatening and on more than one occasion caused Arsenal trouble. What got them the three points for the match was their patience and sharpness to exploit error. For the first goal, Taarabt took advantage of Vermaelen’s misjudgement in position on the edge of the box and pushed forward to strike cleanly into the bottom right corner, past a diving Szczesny. Goal two came in the second half when Diakite was found wide open right in front of goal, where one would expect to see one of our players defending. I think, for this one at least, someone in our midfield fell down on the job, perhaps Arteta or Rosicky who, if memory serves, were too far up the pitch when they should have been providing support for the back (it certainly didn’t help that Vermaelen slipped while defending the run into the box, giving QPR the opportunity to set up the goal).
We managed a goal from Theo, which showed that he can find space and cut in front of goal when needed; after hitting the upright on his first attempt, he made good a second later as he finished the job. This was really the only spot of brilliance from Walcott, as he remained nearly invisible for the entire game. Our other wing wasn’t shining much either with Ramsey failing to make a solid contribution (there’s been a lot of negative talk about the Welshman of late, but I’ll stay out of it, saying only that this was not one of his better performances). Overall, we needed to be more clinical and take what chances we made.
This was not the Arsenal we’ve seen in recent weeks, but we’ve been spoiled of late. I think there’s still room for improvement and third is not an unrealistic finish for us now. With Spurs gaining three points in their win over Swansea today, we’ve still got our work laid out for us. We can’t afford to fall apart at the end of this season like we have in others and I feel this team still has the heart and drive to get key results in the remaining games we have. If they can pull that off, then we can call this season a success.