Watching this week’s defeat of Arsenal from the hands of relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers was not the best sight to see as a Gunner fan. On the back of 7 consecutive wins, everyone, including the most skeptical Arsenal fan might have thought that this will be an easy win. Alas, it could not and now once again, we are on level terms with Tottenham Hotspurs for the Champions League place fight, just ahead on goal difference (actually they are a point ahead right now).
For me, it was pretty disappointing to see the defeat. It is not because we lost but because I never witnessed the game Arsenal is famous for. We were totally out of the place. The passes were not connecting, the balls lacked that final punched and we never threatened. The smoothness in our game was not evident and I believe that Wenger would have been really frustrated to watch the game. Nothing happened for Arsenal; it was just a matter of completing 90 minutes.
Forgetting the match was a bit difficult and the game kept coming back to my memory and this is why I think made this defeat possible.
Physical strength of QPR– Since last few seasons, Arsenal really does not have players who have an edge over their opponents in the strength department and we paid for it against the Hoops. Rangers were clearly much superior in this aspect of football against the Gunners and they used it very effectively. Zamora was the main anchor, using his body to shield the ball from our centre backs and holding up play for Taraabt, Mackie Diekiete and Barton. Also, our defenders and midfielders were easily skinned off by the OPQ players. Arsenal ultimately paid for it by suffering a defeat. The physical training team needs to learn and work on this to get us better results against the teams like Tootenham and Stoke which are physically, way ahead of us.
Bad Pitch– Unarguably, the pitch at Loftus Road was not idle for Arsenal’s way of playing. The surface was bouncy and slippery and both the goals that QPR scored had some luck in them as Vermaelen slipped both of the time. Not taking any credit away from Rangers and not defending Vermaelen as he was poor; if the surface would have been according to Arsenal’s liking; the result could have been easily different. They were missing the lush green grass of the Emirates. It also points to the fact that Arsenal needs to adjust to pitches quickly and not become a victim of that. At this level, blaming the pitch for the defeat is very childish. If you are defeated, then accept it and work on the shortcomings. You will get every type of playing surface in your career and you can’t moan about it after the defeat. Big clubs do not complain, they work harder and make their weakness their strength.
Very off color Vermaelen & Koscielny- I rate both these defenders very highly, they have been superb this season. Especially Vermaelan, he is the toughest guy in the squad, mentally. But Zamora made him look like a schoolboy defender. In fact both of them, the two defenders could not mark one striker properly and when they did, it left two much space on the field for QPR to capitalize. It was just a bad day in the office and can be shrugged off but Wenger needs to ensure they do not lose their focus in the upcoming matches. If they do, Arsenal will have a hard time in maintaining their position in this league.
Out of touch v,Persie- I dread saying this but looks like v.Persie is going out of form. Against QPR, I thought he was very low on confidence. He managed one shot from the open play and that too at the keeper. If that would have gone in, the game would have changed. It’s been some time he has scored and although you can never doubt his capabilities, still he needs to score to win matches. He has to fire in the remaining matches or Arsenal will find themselves in a position that will everyone dreads.
We are playing Man City today and this will be one heck of a match. Both teams need to win and I think this will be a free flowing attacking game. A goals galore in store, probably. Do not be surprised if we once again 5 goals this season against a top club. Gunning for glory.