Match day as Arsenal return to action with QPR visiting the Grove today. It has been a testing week for the people associated with Arsenal Football Club, whether from the fans perspective or from the employees’ perspective. But today is the day to put all that aside and concentrate on one solitary goal. We all want to get back on that horse and get going again but what today is all about is only about beating QPR.
While the premise of it is different, this match could easily be classified as one between the airlines. What with Emirates being our major sponsor and Air Asia’s boss, Tony Fernandes being the owner of QPR. Emirates are the big boys in the commercial aviation arena while Air Asia are only the budget airlines, albeit with a growth history that can be applauded. Just like with the airlines, the football club seems to go that way as well. We are the more expensive and better quality club compared to them.
First, let’s take a look at QPR.
Current standings : 20th
Results (away in Italic) : LDLDLLLD
Goals scored : 0.875 per game
Goals conceded : 2.125 per game
3 formations have been used by Mark Hughes in the league this season. 4 times he played using 4-4-2, 3 times 4-2-3-1 and in the last game which they drew against Everton, he experimented with 4-4-1-1. Only thing that’s safe to say is that Hughes won’t be using a back 3.
QPR this seasons feels like the Bolton of old, the one Sam Allardyce at the helm. The one which looked more like an antique collector than a football club. The players that Hughes has roped in, reflects that. Jose Bosingwa, Park Ji Sung and Julio Cesar just the few notable names that came from bigger clubs where the direction is heading a different way from where they are going. It’s a shame that Sebastien Squllaci couldn’t jump on the bandwagon and join the revolution down that Loftus Road.
The 2 games last season were tight. One win a piece for each side, both in their home ground. That away defeat was a little down to Thomas Vermaelen errors while the home fixture saw Andrey Arshavin creating some magic for someone to score. If anyone think that we’re going to romp to victory today, seeing that we’re playing that bottom team in the Premier League, then this person needs a head check. You can bet every bottom dollar that Hughes would have looked closely at every one of our defeats and find the commonality in them.
Therefore, it is vital that we do have options on the bench that can come on and change the game. Should QPR’s tactics worked and they are able to nullify our game plan, it would be good to be able to bring on a substitute that can negate their nullification (yeah, I’m proud of myself too). That could very well be a number 10 that might change the course of this game. Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna looks set to be involved, if not from the start, then definitely from the bench.
That’s the line-up I’m going for. As I’ve mentioned on twitter, if Sagna is fit enough, I’d rather have him play at left back than Andre Santos. I like Santos as a person but that’s no reason not to be critical of his performances since coming in for Kieran Gibbs. Some have mentioned that Carl Jenkinson could also play on the left, having featured there for us last season. An idea that came about probably because Sagna has only just got back and would make sense to put him in his preferred and natural role. My thinking was more along the lines that minimal changes should be made to the defence, if at all.
We can harp on about the way we conceded goals lately but our offensive side is becoming a worry. We always talk about how we are only concerned about keeping a clean sheet because we know we’ll always create goal scoring opportunities. That has not been the case and especially not in the last 2 games. I think we managed only 3 shots on target over the 180 minutes. That can be considered abysmal by Arsene Wenger’s standards.
One man who has been in the goals this season has been Lukas Podolski but has been a shadow of himself lately. Some say that this is down to him carrying an injury and that’s never good. We are stretching the German thin if we are really asking him to soldier on even when he’s not at least 90% fit (100% is a myth because players always have some knocks and bruises here and there). We need him to be the effective player that we saw early in the season.
One man we do have to get the ball to, is Santi Cazorla. Without doubt, the Spaniard has become the hub of our team. Though, as great as the little man is, he won’t be able to make Gervinho into the best striker in the business. Which is why, after the Ivorian’s two disappointing performances, I hope that he’s sent to the bench and Olivier Giroud is restored to the starting line-up. I know that the Frenchman himself is not in great form but at least he offers more in terms of build up play and also because I’ve become very very frustrated at watching Gervinho play.
Let’s forget about what’s happened before. Forget about the 2 defeats. Forget about the win at Anfield or the draw at Etihad Stadium. Forget about where we are in the league or how many points we are ahead or behind anyone. The season starts again for us right here, today. If we do our part, the standings will come back into view. Let’s do it boys.
Up The Arsenal.