If you had just listened to the Match of the Day analysis, and not looked at any of their stats or even watched their own highlight reel, you’d have been left with the impression that QPR deserved a draw yesterday against Arsenal.
Arsenal just edged it
Said Gary Linker, while Alan Hansen added
QPR deserved a draw
Despite their own stats showing possession Arsenal 70% QPR 30%, shots on target 10 – 1, shots off target 11 -1. MOTD also have this annoying habit of making all matches look like they were even contents in their highlights packages, but even they couldn’t do that with yesterday’s match, showing QPR first having any sort of possession or chances at the very end of the game. We won 74% of the aerial duels, hit the woodwork twice and had five corners to their two (stats via whoscored).
And that’s how it was in reality, not in the heads of the MOTD pundits who seem paid to talk more about what they wanted to happen than what actually did. I truly feel sorry for the people who can’t afford Sky Sports who have to live thinking that what they watch on MOTD is representative of how games actually unfolded. They spend their whole season thinking that teams have played in ways they really actually haven’t.
So Arsenal weren’t great yesterday, but there was a marked improvement over the previous two performances against Norwich and Schalke. I’m pretty sure we had more shots on target in the first half against QPR than we had in both those matches for a start. Even though we were still somewhat off our scintillating best, if it hadn’t been for the goalkeeping display of the season from Julio Cesar, we would have run out easy winners with a three or four goal margin, but, as it was, one nil to the Arsenal was what we came away with and, funnily enough, you get the same amount of points for that.
The surprise of the day was, of course, the inclusion of both Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna in the starting line-up. While Carl Jenkinson has performed magnificently this season, Sagna showed us all that he was a level above. That’s not a slight on Jenkinson, although I know some people will strain themselves to take it that way. He’s young, he’s got a lot to learn and he’s already ahead of where many of us thought that he would be. It’s just that Sagna reminded us why he is regarded as one of the best right backs in the world.
As for Jack, well what can you say? The Arsenal star of the show and the best performance from an English midfielder in recent memory, and all from a player who has been out of competitive action for some 15 months. Imagine what he’s going to be like when he’s at 100%?
There is always a danger when a player of Jack’s talent has been out for so long that the supporters hype up his return and overplay how good they remember him being, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Jack. If anything, the past 15 months have made us forget just *how* good he was. Here is his individual highlight reel:
The game itself took a while to get going but, no matter what Mark Hughes said, it was Arsenal who were in control of the game, not QPR. Their sending off didn’t change things as we were battering down their door before Mbia was fouled by Vermaelen, found one of Alex Song’s stupid pills lying on the turf, and then swung a kick in our captain’s direction.
Was Arteta’s goal offside? I think so, but Mark Hughes, who was his usual nasty self post-match was not really entitled to complain about a referee who, by rights, could have reduced them to nine players had he sent off Granero for his two fouls which deserved bookings before he finally gave him a yellow card. Anthony Taylor had a stinker in the middle.
Gervinho, on as a substitute, lasted no longer than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he came off the bench, landing awkwardly on his ankle and, in the end, having to be stretchered off. You hope for the best, but Wenger said it didn’t look good. They are waiting 24 hours before they can get a better idea of the extent of the injury. The Arsenal injury hokey kokey in full flow once again and the reason why we sit at the top of the injury league table – you put a right back in, you take a left wing out, in, out, in out…well, you get the idea.
Next up is Reading in the Capital One Cup and things are already a little brighter in Goonerland.
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