Written by Mean Lean on Sunday, 28 October 2012 09:04
Match Review - Arsenal 1 QPR 0 - Premier League
Yesterday's match against QPR was all about stopping the rot, all about putting an end to a week of misery and getting the right result. We achieved that aim in the end even if the performance is still some way short of our best.
Arsene had hinted that he could turn to Jack Wilshere in a bid to add some freshness and spark to a team lacking in belief. Arsene Wenger had said post match that he informed Wilshere and the rest of the team at 10.30am that morning, leaving it late so the player had little time to think about the match ahead.
Wilshere certainly did not look like a man worried about returning to top flight football. 17 months without top level football, he came back and made it look effortless.
While he is still not at his best or sharpest, he gave us that drive with the ball that we have been missing for the last few weeks. He has not played with most of his team mates so it will take time before he develops an understanding with his team mates and they understand him.
Some of the combination play was much better from Arsenal than we have seen in the last week but we still lacked a little bit of quality in and around the penalty area.
All the left footers Santos, Giroud, Wilshere and Podolski all had attempts on goal but none of those shots were good enough to beat an inspired Brazilian goalkeeper. When he was beaten by an Aaron Ramsey header, the crossbar came to his rescue.
Julio Cesar in the QPR goal had one of those away goalkeeping displays at the Emirates. The type of game where they save their best for our players and once again we found it hard to put away our chances.
Wilshere had lasted 62 minutes before he was replaced by Theo Walcott, allowing Aaron Ramsey to move back into his more natural central position. Santi Cazorla had a glorious chance to win the game but when the ball dropped to him at the penalty spot, he blazed high over the bar. He had time to take a touch, steady himself and score but when confidence is low, players make rash decisions.
I thought that was it, the chance for all three points had been wasted until Gervinho got injured attempting to cut the ball back with his left foot. He wasn't on the pitch for very long and had to be replaced with the last throw of the dice that was Andrey Arshavin.
Poor Oliver Giroud had been waiting for decent service all game again and it finally came in the shape of the enigmatic Russian. He stuttered towards his full back, switched it onto his left and dug out a cross better than many had on their stronger foot all game. It found the head of Oliver Giroud who powered a header towards goal which was once again saved by Cesar, Arteta headed the rebound against the crossbar and for once luck went in our favour when the ball came back to Arteta to poke in from the goal line.
We were very lucky to have scored as Arteta was standing in an offside position when the ball came to him following Giroud's header but I will gladly take that right now.
After a few minutes of possession after the goal along with an Aaron Ramsey daisy cutter to which the keeper was once again equal to, we went about doing our very best to let QPR grab an equaliser. Thomas Vermaelen's positioning was suspect to say the least, unfortunately it isn't the first time I have said that in recent months. Taarabt floated a ball over the top, Vermaelen was not goal side and it allowed Granero a chance to run in on Mannone but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Substitute Mackie ran past three Arsenal defenders and should have scored but for a very good block from Vito Mannone in the Arsenal goal. After his mistake at Norwich he needed something to redeem himself and that was just about it.
Before our goal Mbia stupidly kicked out at Vermaelen after losing to a shoulder barge. Rather strange behaviour and was rightly sent off for it. Without that, we may never have managed to get the goal so let's all raise a glass to the stupidity of Mbia *clink*
I felt sorry for Carl Jenkinson who hadn't put a foot wrong but a fit Bacary Sagna came straight back into the side, I think the need for freshness also played its part. Carl shouldn't be too disheartened though he should start against Reading in the Capital one cup.
It may not have been an inspired victory but it is a victory all the same. I don't suppose that any of the players who started yesterday will feature in midweek so it is a chance for our squad to rest some legs before the big trip to Manchester United. I actually like the fact that we are total underdogs, the pressure is off and we often produce in that situation.
But next up Reading.
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