A 7-game struggle awaits Arsenal

QPR 2-1 Arsenal

Like most Arsenal fans, I expect, I wasn’t naïve 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 didn’t really expect that blip yesterday. Maybe the players didn’t, either, and therein lies the rub.

It’s not easy to sound authoritative about a game based solely on Match of the Day highlights, so I won’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 – I’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 – he’s been doing this a lot this season after we lose, and losing is something we have now done nine times.

“What we produced on the day was not good enough… subconsciously something was missing today. If you miss something on the commitment front you are beaten. That is what happened today”.

So he admitted that we simply weren’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 there’s one thing he’s been preaching – as have the players – it’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, it’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 weren’t at the races enough.

It’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 anyone’s to win and lose.

Next up, Manchester City.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Mike Dean allowing roughing up from QPR but blowing his whistle whenever we gave some back broke up the game. I think they had 4 attacks all game, 2 goals, otherwise it was all us passing sideways in their third. Verminator with the wrong studs in didn’t help either.

  2. Jeff

    “this Arsenal side is not good enough to turn up and bully teams when not playing at 100%.”
    This is a key concept. I look at Madrid winning another match 5-1 yesterday – they have enough about their squad to bully teams game in game out.  This Arsenal side: not quite.  

    Still, if Vermaelen had better studs on his boots, we might have taken something the game. 

  3. reah

    I thought QPR out thought, never mind outfought. and deserved to win without playing ‘dirty’ to do it. Rather the Arse lost today than next week against manshitty. I preferred it when AW loaded up the side with attacking players. Arsenal just cannot plan to defend. why not do what the hell we are good at for f sake. 

  4. Jeff

    Re: Ramsey

    I had a thought at the beginning of the match that I was behind Arsene on that call.  It was a test for Ramsey, and he did fall short, although, I wouldn’t throw Arsene to the wolves if he tried it again.

    Rambo has to push on.  Arsene believes that Ramsey is going to be “a great player for Arsenal Football Club” and that Ramsey is an “all-rounder.” 

    He thinks the Ox is too young, and he thinks Gervinho’s form is in the tank, which was vindicated when Gervinho came on.

    I could see starting the Ox.  That’s probably what I would have done, but I could see what the boss was thinking.  He’s sure that Ramsey is going to come good, and be a player who can play in any midfield position.

    Rosicky, Walcott, and Song picked themselves, so there’s only one spot left.  His most senior guy among the rest is Ramsey.

    But I agree that Ramsey failed the test yesterday.  He should have adapted his game for the position, and did some cool left-winger stuff, like tricky runs from wide, crosses from the goal line, etc.

  5. Anonymous

    East Lower, on Friday evening I checked out arsenal.com & saw Arsene talk about catching Man City. At that moment I went from believing we would win comfortably to texting all my Gooner mates telling them we were going to be in serious trouble. Complacency comes from the manager. When Arsene flashes his ‘I told you I was right’ smile (or as my friend says, turns into ‘Arsene Le Smug’) disaster awaits.
    Shocking & incredibly disheartening.

    Sorry Jeff but you think that Ramsey failed because he failed 
    to adapt to a position & do things that he simply isn’t able to do ??  Putting that much of a convoluted effort into defending a poor decision by the boss is why the term ‘AKB’ has become such a term of contempt. It was a poor decision playing someone completely out of position. No need to debate it further.

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