By Walter Broeckx
The starting team for the match was Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Flamini, Rosicky, Cazorla, Welbeck, Alexis, Giroud. And on the soaking wet beach we had Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Coquelin, Walcott, Podolski, Campbell.
So for the first time Rosicky in the starting line up of the PL this season if my memory serves me right. Monreal taking up the place of Chambers at central defence and so Mertesacker could play on his favourite right hand side.
A bit of left and right football in the opening minutes with no ream really putting a lot of good passes together. Maybe adjusting to the wet conditions was needed.
But when Arsenal put up the pressure it resulted in a some situations in the QPR penalty box. A few shouts for a penalty and finally the ref could not but give one when Traore clearly brought down Alexis. Alexis himself to convert it but Green saved the shot and could put in corner. In my part of the world they always say that the fouled one should never take the penalty himself. An old football law that wasn’t respected and so we had to start again after some 9 minutes.
Arsenal now pressing QPR back around their penalty area. Lots of pressure and some corners but not really open chances. The weather conditions not really helpful as some balls zipped on the turf and were slightly over hit. Welbeck then being pulled back but ref Atkinson didn’t want to give Arsenal a second penalty. A few shots from distance went harmlessly wide and over.
A bit later Welbeck was pulled down outside and now the ref gave the foul and a yellow against Ferdinand. It needed a good save from Green to deny Giroud from the free kick. Arsenal pushing forward but lots of QPR bodies, legs, arms, heads in the way to stop the shots from Arsenal.
The pressure had to pay off and when a well worked attack found Gibbs he crossed it and Alexis could head it in completely unmarked. You could see he was happy that he had made up for his earlier penalty miss. 1-0 to the Arsenal after 37 minutes.
QPR then tried to do something back and after a free kick the ball was headed wide from an offside position but the flag stayed down. On the other side the assistant wasn’t that lenient when Giroud broke free. The half time score was 1-0 to the Arsenal and that should have been a higher score based on the way the game went.
The first thing of note in the second half was Traore who thought for a moment he was still an Arsenal player and gave the ball straight at Rosicky.
Then Giroud lost his head and gave a QPR defender a head but after he was pushed. What an utterly stupid act and now we had to play with 10 men for the remaining 35 minutes. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Not just for this match but now he will be out for the next 3 matches. And with the busy schedule he made a easy looking match in to a hard working match.
The first chance after that fell to Arsenal when Gibbs had a low cross but the QPR defence could block Alexis. Alexis proving his worth a few times when he brought the ball out of the defence from Arsenal. A curling effort went wide but a bit later he saw Rosicky joining in the attack and Tomas took the pass first time and his low shot couldn’t be stopped by Green. 2-0 to the Arsenal after 65 minutes. And what a way to come back from Rosicky!
Arsenal was remarkably able to hold off the pressure and carved out some great attacks but they came to nothing. Per being kicked in the penalty area and again Atkinson found nothing of it. That was a clear penalty ref. On the other side Debuchy clearly played the ball but Atkinson pointed at the spot. What a difference a penalty area makes one could say. Austin converted the gift and made it 2-1.
With some 8 minutes to go Rosicky was taken off and Chambers came on. And with 3 minutes remaining Coquelin came on for Welbeck. QPR now piling on some pressure but Flamini on hand to stop a corner before the goal line.
4 minutes of extra time and QPR shouting for a penalty again but santa Atkinson surely had given them enough presents. But you never know with him of course. And then again Alexis showing his class when he recovered a ball and drew a foul on him. A last foul from Coquelin that made some nervous moments but the free kick went over wide.
A game we should and would have won comfortable turned difficult because of Giroud losing his head and Atkinson once again showing that he doesn’t like us and giving QPR a non-penalty to bring them back in the match neglecting 3 clear penalties on Arsenal players before.
I think Wenger will have a strong word with Giroud who made this match much more difficult than it needed to be and with the busy schedule we could have done without being physically tested like that.
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