Arsenal v QPR
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: December 26th, 2014 17.30 PM BST
Well, one of these days we are gonna win a game without stress and/or poor refereeing. Unfortunately, there would be no Gooners to celebrate with as we will all be six feet under from our consistent heart-attacks.
Tonight’s match was supposed to be the easiest of all fixtures in the festive period but one idiotic move by Olivier Giroud and another pathetic performance from Martin Atkinson gave us a nail-biting finish. The positive thing is, the boys were really up for this one and they gave a passionate performance to guide Arsene Wenger to his 400th victory in the Premier League. Congratulations to our manager.
Here are the ratings from today’s game:
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Wojciech Szczesny | 7.0: Dealt well with crosses while long shots were usually flying miles over his head. Couldn’t do much with Austin’s penalty.
Mathieu Debuchy | 7.5: The Frenchman was unlucky to concede a penalty as he played the ball first. He made a few good runs forward, especially the one that could have led to a red card for the same man that earned a penalty – Junior Hoilett – as Debuchy was fouled just outside the box.
Per Mertesacker | 7.5: Our defence looked very solid and compact today and Mertesacker was the main man.
Nacho Monreal | 7.25: Did well as Mertesacker’s partner.
Kieran Gibbs | 7.75: Created the opener with a cross for Alexis and kept his flank under control defensively. Excellent performance.
Mathieu Flamini | 7.25: Protected the defence well and made the key clearance in the last minutes of the match while QPR were piling on the pressure.
Tomas Rosicky | 7.75: Ever since the beginning of the season I’ve been calling for Rosicky’s inclusion in the starting line-up. The Czech maestro made a point with a clinical finish to double our lead when we were down to ten men. Was substituted for tactical reasons.
Alexis Sánchez | 8.75 (MOTM): In my match preview I mentioned we had the lowest number of points in the 2005-06 season before the Boxing Day fixture. Coincidence or not, but that was also the season when we had Thierry Henry as our best player by far. Thierry was a head and shoulders above the rest of the team and so far Alexis has been our best player by a country mile.
The Chilean earned a penalty that he fluffed with a poor shot (he missed his penalty against Brazil during the shoot-out too – Cazorla should have taken this one) but made amends with a well-taken goal. His pass created Rosicky’s finish that won the game for us. But, aside from his goals, what to say about his willingness to pressure the opponents in the 94th minute of the game? Amazing work-rate, amazing spirit.
Santi Cazorla | 7.5: The Spaniard was involved in our first goal of the game and gave another fine performance. He should’ve taken the penalty as he has already scored twice from the spot this term.
Danny Welbeck | 6.5: Worked hard and was involved in our opener and was probably unlucky not to get a penalty for Onuoha’s foul but his game still misses the final product (not the first Arsenal player with the same diagnose, eh? Wilshere, Chamberlain…)
Olivier Giroud | 1.0: Yes, the Frenchman gets fouled a lot. Yes, Ferdinand should’ve been sent off for grabbing him today. However, there is no excuse for leaving his team on the hook with an idiotic head-butt. Not only were we down to ten men for the last 35 minutes but he’ll also miss the games against West Ham and Southampton away where his physical presence will be missed.
Calum Chambers| 6.0: Came in to shore up the defence.
Francis Coquelin | N/A: Got a short cameo. Picked a yellow card with the last tackle of the game.