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Friday, 6 March 2015
In the end the win at Q.P.R proved to be significant with all the other teams in the race for the top 4 winning, Oh and Spurs won too. So its as you were in the race, which really is hotting up.
So to the game, firstly I think it was quite obvious that our second half performance was a lot better than our first half performance and in particular the first 25 minutes or so, which was slow, sloppy and almost lethargic. This isn't the first time this has happened this season, and honestly the team have not really put in a league performance of note since the Aston Villa mauling. The team still looked as if they had the Monaco match on their minds (albeit there was a less than convincing win against Everton sandwiched in between), and as we know with Arsenal, even if they get the results after damaging losses, often it takes time for the confidence and performance levels to come back. In another continuing trend it seems as though we tend to struggle, particularly away from home, against teams who are more intent on pressing us in our own half. Dortmund away serves as the obvious example, however, the game at Palace is a more recent example, and you have to wonder why this is such an effective ploy. Is it just that this tactic, when done right, is impossible to combat? Does it just work well against Arsenal? The obvious rebuttal is that, the pressing game, when done wrong can be ruthlessly exposed due to the space it leaves behind, and I think we saw the Q.P.R team tire in the second half as a result of this. Personally I always feel that we do struggle in these type of matches, when we don't move the ball fast enough, which we struggled to do ( as well as actually retain possession) in the opening exchanges.
In the second half, aided by a positive first half close, I felt Arsenal were much better, created plenty of opportunities and really should have scored more, which the manager pointed out in his post match press conference. The first goal was a classic strikers goal from Giroud; he got in the right place and managed to squeeze it past the impressive Rob Green, who on the day kept Q.P.R in the game. Giroud really has been in good form since his return from injuryand that goal was his 10th in 14 games in all competitions this season. This has hopefully put the bed the complete overreaction (myself included!) to his poor performance against Monaco. Sanchez got the second goal with a really classy finish from a tight angle, which should stop the Daily Mail 'hasn't scored in 'X' many games..' articles i'm sure they had lined up. Speaking of the Daily Mail, it was great to see Qzil continuing his fine form since his return from injury, with some great touch's, and of course I wouldn't be forgiven for not mentioning the Ozil covering most ground stats, which only improved after the game with Ozil again on top,which again highlight the pure nonsense surrounding his supposed laziness. It seems the only one 'nicking a living', is the lazy journalism in the Daily Mail. I also want to give a shout out to Per Mertesacker for his performance as I thought he looked solid and was really good in the aerial battles, which is why i'm sure the manager brought him back into the lineup. (As well as not wanting to risk Koscielny getting a yellow card and getting a suspended for the United game, which of course was going to backfire, with Gabriel picking up a hamstring injuy, the manager said he will miss 3 weeks: looks like he has completed his final initiation!) Mertesacker ended the game with an impressive 10 headed clearances. In the end we managed to survive doing an Arsenal and gifting them a goal, and got the 3 points in a comfortable, yet uncomfortable victory.
Next we have that daunting trip to Old Trafford, in what really is an important game for our season, with our only realistic opportunity of winning a trophy. Anyhow, there's plenty of time to deal with that game.
Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.