Well the best part of yesterday was the return of our proper number 10, Jack Wilshere and what a return it was. No matter how many times Qpr tried to kick him or foul him, up he got and onwards he went. He was always at the heart of our midfield.
Bacary Sagna also made his long awaited comeback as Carl Jenkinson was given a well-earned rest. He too had a very good game. Finally we have two quality right backs in the squad, shame we can’t say that about the left side of defence!
One thing that struck from the beginning of the coverage of our game was the red in the crowds. Sadly though, this was not from the Arsenal shirts and scarves on display, it was from all the empty seats.
These are not good times…..
We got the three points in the end, but yet again, we huffed and puffed, lacked width and pace and but for a late strike, which there was more than a hint of offside to, we would have come away from The Emirates with just a point.
Mark Hughes said after the game:
The referee has absolutely killed it to allow their winning goal because Arteta was clearly offside on two occasions. I’ve been to see the referee and he has created some cock-and-bull story about Ryan Nelsen being off the pitch. I’ve no idea what he is on about because Ryan Nelsen at no stage went off the field of play. It has cost us the point.
Knowing that goal really narked him, makes it even sweeter!
Santos was one of the first to have a shot for us, and soon after, Cesar was beaten all ends up by what appeared to be a goal bound header by Aaron Ramsey, but the ball dropped onto the crossbar and off to safety. So unlucky.
Lukas Podolski shot wide and Wilshere nearly marked his return with a goal from distance but it wasn’t to be as Cesar saved.
Qpr target our left hand side as expected with Jose Bosingwa and Shaun Wright-Phillips both finding space but their final ball was nearly as bad as ours!
Giroud had a ‘shot’ on goal too and had someone been following in, they would have been able to capitalise on a fumble by Cesar, but we don’t do that do we?
After the break, Cesar made a quality save to prevent Per Mertesacker from breaking the deadlock.
Moments later, a huge scare as Junior Hoillet burst through and chipped the ball over Mannone. Thankfully, and rightly so, the offside flag was raised.
As said earlier, Wilshere was as the heart of everything, including the rough tackles committed by Qpr but nearly everything we did through the middle involved our little man.
Despite all of our possession, we failed to make it count again and Qpr had a few chances to hit on on the break. Thomas Vermaelen intercepted a Wright-Phillips cross which was Zamora bound and Sagna dropped into the middle to clear a dangerous ball away from Hoilett who was ready and waiting to pounce.
Same time as usual, Wenger made his first change, Wilshere, who had run his little legs off, was replaced by Theo Walcott and shortly after, Podolski was replaced by Gervinho. At last, some pace on the right, something which Aaron Ramsey hadn’t given us all afternoon, but he’s not a winger is he, so not much point in berating him is there? Blame the man who played him there! Podolski had a quiet game too.
Walcott soon made an impact by whipping in a cross to the near post where Giroud was waiting but he missed his chance, possibly the best chance of the afternoon so far. The ball found its way back to the near the penalty spot and there was Santi Cazorla who had all the time in the world to pick his spot. Rather annoyingly, that spot was Row Z behind the goal.
A truly dreadful miss!
Then a moment of madness by Qpr’s Mbia, after a little tussle with Thomas Vermaelen, which Mbia lost, he decided to kick out at our captain. Linesman’s flag was straight up and M’bia was straight off for an early bath!
At last, a decision went our way! Long before him, Granero should have been off the field, he made a number of late/bad tackles which on another day with a referee who could see, would have ended his involvement in the game a lot earlier.
The match finally came to life.
Cesar made another superb save after Jamie Mackie’s clearance bounced back off Nedum Onuoha towards goal and then shortly after, Gervinho exited on a stretcher after an innocuous tackle and was replaced by Arshavin.
Finally we broke the deadlock and our little Russian was heavily involved, playing a wonderful cross in from the left. Giroud met the ball with a good, strong header which Cesar saved but the ball rebounded to Arteta who the ball onto the bar. The ball came straight back to the Spaniard who made no mistake from very close range.
Phew, at last!!
Now then, could we hold on for the remaining minutes?
Ramsey had a chance to make it 2-0 but yet again, Cesar saved well and he made another great save moments later from a super curled shot which looked to be creeping inside the post.
But it was no way comfortable in the dying moments. Abel Taarabt sent Esteban Granero off down the right but he shot wide. Mackie tricked his way past THREE players but Mannone saved well from point-blank range. (ok, I know Mackie hit his shot straight at our keeper)
We did hold on.
Three much-needed points chalked up but we still have a way to go……..
Next up Reading in the Cup…
Have a good day all…..