Team: Green, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Caulker, Isla, Mutch (Zamora), Henry (Fer), Kranjcar, Traore (Hoilett), Vargas, Austin
Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Hill, Wright-Phillips, Phillips
Attendance: 59,947 (including 2,912 R’s fans)
I quoted Rodney after the Everton game: “Rangers play away like a team just fulfilling a fixture”, and so it goes on Rodney.
The system and tactics give no belief to the players that we will get a corner let alone a sniff on goal. Add into the mix giving two goals and a penalty away by less than schoolboy defending by Traore and Fer giving the ball away, and then not being arsed to chase back to get it back.
A last 15-minute rally shows what we all know, that Hoilett has no end product. For a pro not to be able to put a cross in or hit the target is shameful!
Amazingly, we still stayed out of the bottom three so yet again Sunday is a must win game – yet again!!!
This has been another season in which Arsenal’s desire has come into question, most notably after their bruising defeat at Stoke and late surrender of victory at Liverpool. But here was proof that, although Arsene Wenger’s men retain the capacity to infuriate, there is heart to go with all that talent, an ability for the prettiest of teams to win ugly.
They were hanging on by the end, reduced to 10 men by Oliver Giroud’s needless sending off on 53 minutes. Queen’s Park Rangers, having got back into the contest through Charlie Austin’s late penalty, sensed they could secure the most improbable of comebacks having found themselves 2-0 down through goals from Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky either side of half-time.
The home supporters were tense, the memory of how Arsenal had capitulated at Anfield last week fresh in their minds, but this time their side held on, seeing off a barrage of attacks from the visitors with stout, resolute defending. It was rather un-Arsenal-like and, for that reason, wholly encouraging for them before testing games against West Ham and Southampton in the coming days.
For Wenger this was a 400th Premier League victory as Arsenal manager and, as he conceded afterwards, it proved tougher than the first. Yet he was also right in saying Arsenal deserved the win, one which sees them move to within one place and one point of West Ham before their visit to Upton Park on Sunday.
“We made it hard work for ourselves but we were in control, even with 10 men,” said the Frenchman. “The last five or six minutes were edgy because we let in a late goal last week (against Liverpool); that was probably in our mind. But in the end we showed resilience and great spirit.”
This was a ninth straight away league defeat for QPR and, although their manager, Harry Redknapp, could reflect on a strong claim for a second penalty for his side when Bobby Zamora appeared to be hauled down by Kieran Gibbs in those frantic final stages, he accepted his side, toothless in attack for the majority of this contest, deserved little from it.
“This was a good opportunity to take a point against 10 men and we didn’t take it,” he said.
Redknapp’s mood was darkened by the “atrocious defending” his team displayed in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal on 37 minutes. There were six QPR players in their own penalty area when Gibbs whipped in a left-wing cross after good approach play from Rosicky, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla, yet none of them managed to spot Sanchez lurking near the far post.
Unmarked, the Chilean headed past Rob Green and, in an instant, made up for his penalty miss in the early stages of the match. The Chilean won the spot-kick after being hacked down inside the area by former Arsenal full-back Armand Traore and then gently but surely nudging Cazorla, the home team’s designated taker, out of contention.
It proved an error on Sanchez’s part because his subsequent shot lacked pace and positioning, allowing Green to block the ball before pushing it away for a corner.
That was the last bad move Sanchez made on an evening when the 26-year-old again proved Arsenal made a more than wise decision spending ¬£35m on his talents in the summer. The forward was a blur of power and surging sprints from the right of the home team’s attack, running QPR ragged from the outset and no one more so than Traore, who was substituted on 62 minutes partly for his own good.
Sanchez set the tone for what was an aggressive and quick-tempoed display from Arsenal with Cazorla and Mathieu Flamini also impressing with their desire to put QPR to the sword. It took longer than it should have but Arsenal’s breakthrough was more than deserved.
Sanchez’s goal, his 15th of the season, should have been the cue for the hosts to run riot but then Giroud lost his head. Infuriated by a push from Nedum Onuoha as he attempted to charge down Green’s clearance, the Frenchman butted the defender. Onuoha went down easily but there were no complaints when the referee, Martin Atkinson, drew his red card. Giroud, not long back from a broken leg, now misses a busy and potentially crucial period for Arsenal. Little wonder Wenger gave the striker a thunderous glare as he left the field.
Having been camped in their own-half and unable to keep possession long enough to build attacking momentum, QPR suddenly sensed an opportunity to make amends. But, as Redknapp said, they failed to take their chance and instead it was Arsenal who scored.
Not surprisingly Sanchez was involved, carrying the ball forward before setting up Rosicky in his first appearance for the hosts since recovering from a thigh injury. That, yet again, appeared to be that but then Mathieu Debuchy was harshly adjudged to have tripped Junior Hoilett inside the area and Austin stepped up to smash in his 12th goal of the season.
QPR piled on the pressure, with Mauricio Isla forcing Flamini to block in front of the goal-line and Zamora going down under pressure from Gibbs. It was fraught and frantic but Arsenal survived and deservedly so.
Sachin Nakrani – The Guardian
After Rob Green made his penalty save we really should have pushed on but we didn’t. We were too deep, too cautious, too predictable, lacked movement and gave the ball away far too often. And then we didn’t make enough of the extra man after Nedum Onuoha was head-butted by Giroud.
Junior Hoilett was okay going forward but he couldn’t cross the ball. Bobby Zamora should have come on much earlier and maybe Rob Green could have done better with their second. The referee was never going to award us a second penalty despite Bobby Zamora being bundled down in the box.
Great support from nearly 3,000 travelling R’s fans but this was another missed opportunity to secure something away from home.