5 Lessons Learnt From Arsenal’s Disappointing Loss to Queens Park Rangers
Apologies for not writing any post yesterday. I had a very stressful day but unlike Chuck Norris, my calendar didn’t move from March 31st to April 2nd because good ol’ Chuck can never be fooled. Enigma106 on the other hand, was actually “fooled” into thinking that Arsenal would make it eight wins in a row.
Arsenal was riding on a high before visiting Loftus Road to play a struggling Queens Park Rangers side fighting for its Premier League destiny. I don’t intend to bore you with a match report of a game long lost, but I’d prefer to share five lessons I’ve learnt from the disappointing encounter.
Bear in mind that these “lessons” are from my personal point of view, so feel free to share yours in the comment box.
The Tactical Gamble with Aaron Ramsey
I don’t know if it was just me that saw how appalling Aaron Ramsey was on the left flank. In my opinion, I feel that Arsene Wenger deployed Ramsey to be that “extra man” in the midfield, giving him the chance to drift infield supporting the attack.
On the downside, the lack of a natural left winger like Gervinho or the Ox didn’t give Kieran Gibbs the chance to really flourish thereby rendering the left wing impotent. As expected, Ramsey was on the end of a barrage of abuses on various social networking platforms and in my opinion, one person is to blame for it all.
Arsene Wenger, the tactical gambler.
Alex Song’s Attacking Exuberance
Alex Song is currently leading Arsenal’s assists charts with 13 assists and he has rightly earned plaudits for the nature of his passes that have split opposition defences like hot knife through butter. As we all know that he assists when he wants ranging from simple ground through balls to sublime over the top projectiles to a forward with Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott being the most recent recipients.
However, Song’s constant attempts to play the incisive through ball came at Arsenal’s peril, especially when it was not the right thing to do. I can agree that he was trying to make a difference but he has to realize that sometimes, a simple pass to a team mate nearby is most effective.
Arsenal was Very Poor
With a Premier League blistering run that started with late victory over Sunderland in February, Arsenal took on all comers to put up a series of breathtaking displays that saw them overturn a potential 13-point deficit to a 3-point lead, that has been levelled by the old enemy, Tottenham.
Arsene Wenger is a legend when it comes to giving excuses in the wake of any disappointing result but this time, he didn’t put the blame on QPR’s pitch, injuries, poor refereeing decisions or bad luck. Arsenal was very poor on all fronts and the performances of the midfield triumvirate and Thomas Vermaelen especially, were certainly no where near good enough.
Arsenal’s Lack of Focus
Before the start of the game, Arsene Wenger called for focus in his press conference:
I see us fighting like mad to win the game tomorrow, I don’t look further than that.
We are focused on QPR, believe me. We know that is always a tricky game for everybody and that is what is important to us. After that we focus on the next one and our capability to finish the season in a strong way depends on just how much we focus on every game.
The opposition allowed Arsenal to have possession of the ball then they waited patiently for Wenger’s men to have lapses in concentration that they capitalized on. The match opener arrived when a simple pass evaded Arsenal’s midfield and arrived on Adel Taarabt’s feet. The former Spud made a fool of Thomas Vermaelen before slotting his effort past Wojciech Szczesny.
If you felt that the defending for QPR’s first goal was suspect, you’ll certainly go bonkers if you really learn about the build-up to the match-winning goal. In Arseblogger’s post-QPR article tagged fine lines and concentration, he shared a footage showing Mikel Arteta and Alex Song suffering from rare cases of the ball-watching syndrome.
Laurent Koscielny tried to cover Vermaelen’s tracks but Mackie’s cut back was finished aplomb by Diakhite. It’s worth noting that Bacary Sagna impeded his keeper’s view leaving him rooted to the spot.
Hopefully this defeat can be a wake-up call – the loss can shock Arsenal to go back to what has been their strength recently. They know how to respond because they’ve been exposed to this situation this season.
Unpredictability of the Premier League
A few weeks back, Twitchy ‘Ol ‘Arry was a king of the throne and the media vulture’s favorite (still the media vulture’s fav) to assume the vacant managerial role Fabio Capello once held. His team was also riding on a high and were 10 points above Arsenal.
A month later, people began asking why the Chicken on a Basketball crossed the road. The answer wasn’t rocket science either:
“To look for the 10-point gap it had lost”
Arsenal have been cruising lately, and last week, it looked like Wenger’s men were in pole position for third place with little trouble. Following the loss to QPR coupled with wins for Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle, the tides are turning again. Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Swansea sees Spurs level on points with the Gunners, with Chelsea and Newcastle each only five points behind.
Arsenal face a daunting challenge in the form of title hopefuls Manchester City and the Gunners can’t afford any more lack-luster performances like Saturday’s. Mixed results like these showcase the unpredictability of the Premier League.
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