QPR 2-1 Arsenal
Like most Arsenal fans, I expect, I wasnâ€™t naÃ¯ve enough to anticipate a serene run of victories that would enable us to sail through to the end of the season unhindered. I expected a blip, but I didnâ€™t really expect that blip yesterday. Maybe the players didnâ€™t, either, and therein lies the rub.
Itâ€™s not easy to sound authoritative about a game based solely on Match of the Day highlights, so I wonâ€™t even try. From what I can glean, defensively it looked like a bad day at the office, with the usually towering Vermaelen in particular having one to forget. Hats off to QPR of course for taking the game to Arsenal â€“ Iâ€™m sure that this morning that nobody at Arsenal will need reminding (or re-reminding, ha) that relegation-threatened sides are often like wounded animals. Underestimate them at your peril.
Wenger was pretty honest about our defeat â€“ heâ€™s been doing this a lot this season after we lose, and losing is something we have now done nine times.
â€œWhat we produced on the day was not good enoughâ€¦ subconsciously something was missing today. If you miss something on the commitment front you are beaten. That is what happened todayâ€.
So he admitted that we simply werenâ€™t as committed as we should have been, a bit complacent, which kind of makes me want to bash my head against a wall. If thereâ€™s one thing heâ€™s been preaching â€“ as have the players â€“ itâ€™s the need to not let the foot off the gas, take each game at a time and blah blah blah.
Of course, winning seven consecutive games is special, and maybe that focus and tempo simply gets harder and harder to maintain. And like I said, itâ€™s not realistic to expect us to turn up and snaffle each and every three points.
Ramsey as a winger was a mysterious move, given we have two much more suitable options there in the shape of Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain. As much as I cannot fathom that, I doubt that was what lost us the game. We just werenâ€™t at the races enough.
Itâ€™s a jolt back to reality and a reminder that a top-four finish is going to be a proper slog. A reminder too that for all the invention and spirit shown since February, this Arsenal side is not good enough to turn up and bully teams when not playing at 100%. If Spurs win today – and they will not lack for motivation now – the difference between us returns to being razor-thin. Chelsea are only five points behind. Frankly, with seven games left, third place remains anyoneâ€™s to win and lose.
Next up, Manchester City.