Saturday’s match was a bit of a shambles, wasn’t it!?
So after all that chat about maybe putting pressure under Spurs to slip-up in the later game, we chose to balls it up and give them the opportunity to close the gap, which they did with a 3-1 win over Spurs, bringing it to just one goal-difference point.
It’s easy to point to the QPR match as a winnable game- with reason- but we seemed to forget that it was a London derby, and with Mark Hughes in charge- apparently our record away to his teams is awful- the warning flags ought to have been waving. They were- we just didn’t take any notice. Maybe we were just high on the euphoria of being on such a long run.
Watching the match highlights again, and from my recollection from Saturday, QPR started the brighter, and it was no surprise they scored early on. It was a good finish by Taraabt- his first Premier League goal-, but Vermaelen didn’t cover himself in much glory. He had a bit of a nightmare the whole match, it seems. Fingers crossed we don’t get too many more of those in the future!
That was with only 22 minutes on the clock, and QPR kept pressing, with us (fans) pretty much just praying for halftime! But we equalise before halftime, however. 15 minutes after their goal, and 8 minutes before halftimepretty internally came out of nowhere. van Persie set Theo up, but his effort came off the inside on the post, but he was perfectly positioned to slot in the rebound. 1-1, thank you very much!
I really thought we’d press on from there, but other than a Ramsey daisy cutter that missed the far post not by much, I’m not sure we threatened much in the first half.
Second half was an improvement on the first, but not enough of an improvement. We almost took the lead at the start, however, but Gibb’s effort effort flashed just wide.
We were definitely much better in the second half, but QPR pretty much gave as much as they got. But still, with the quality or both teams, you’d think we’d find a way to win it. Hell, I was confident we would. But we didn’t. I wonder if that’s not exactly what happened. Even though we were losing, the players probably thought, “yeah, it’s QPR, I’m sure we’ll get the winner”. Not saying they didn’t try, but maybe they didn’t try enough. Complacency. But then it’s easy for me to sit here and analyse after the event, but I guess we’d never know. Anyways if it was, I hope we’ve learnt from it.
But back to the match.
We did have a few chances in the second half, with Paddy Kenny saving well after Robin was one on with him. We kept trading blows, and it was a matter of whose defence would crack first. Ours did.
Vermaelen lost possession on the edge of the box after a slip, and Mackie was able to slide the ball to an unmarked Diakite, who’d had a free run into the box and was in acres of space. 66 minutes on the clock. I remember twitter was screaming for substitutes, and we eventually made a couple. Arteta and Gibbs off for Chamberlain and Chamakh. Gervinho had earlier come on for Ramsey, right after QPR’s second. Joey Barton almost added a third for QPR, and a bit more embarrassment for us, but Szczesny’s fingertip save prevented that. Phew.
And that’s how it ended. 2-1 to QPR. No one would deny that they deserved that.
As for our performance, I think it’s one of those ones where each player needs to personally analyse their performance- identify where it went wrong and sort it out. I doubt there was any fundamental problems, apart from our usual defensive frailties, but I’ll stick my neck out and say that it was just a badlady at the office. Nothing more. We just need to dust ourselves up, and move on to the next one, but it definitely was 3 points unnecessarily given away without enough of a fight. Disappointing really, but credit to QPR.
And speaking of next, we’ve got Man City visiting the Emirates. Their last 3 visits to us in the league have seen us beat them 2-0, and then draw the last 2 nil nil. I read a stat earlier today that if City do not win Sunday- fingers crossed they don’t- it’d be their longest non-winning streak away at a particular club. I think I read 22 years, but I could well be out of range. Here’s hoping they don’t get that monkey off their back on Sunday. With the whole Nasri debacle, as well as Ade and Toure previously, it almost feels like we’ve got something to prove. All I care about is a win, to be honest. Our best case scenario is to finish 3rd thisseason, and 3 points will go a long way into securing this.
Incidentally if we win, and if Man United win as well, they’ll be going 8 points clear of City, and without jumping any guns, effectively hand United the title. Seeing as we have no chance of winning the title, that makes no difference to me whatsoever, but anyways, I’d rather United not City, won the league, so beating City will be doubly sweet. But first thing first, we’ve got to win. And we can win, depending on if the team turn up at 100%. I can’t think of any reason why they won’t. If anything, I can probably think of a million reasons why they would. We’seeding out on Sunday. Here’s hoping it’s notanother drab nil nil!
Come on, Arsenal!