It wasn't vintage but it was enough to win a vital three points on a day on which many of our main rivals dropped some unexpected points, overall a good end result. The starting eleven saw Gervinho rested for Arshavin, Ramsey returning to reform our regular midfield trio, Theo also returned after his recent virus.
QPR started well and Szczesny had to be smart to come our swiftly in blocking Wright-Phillips' shot when he had been slipped through in the inside left channel. We created more as the half wore on, without ever really getting going in terms of the flowing passing football. RVP had one saved from an acute angle, then another two good chances were diverted narrowly over the bar, one with his left and the other with the right foot. Nil nil it was at half time, and on chances created it was frustrating not to be ahead.
Vermaelen unfortunately limped off not long after half time with what is reported to be a calf strain, one only hopes it is not too serious. We continued to create some good clear cut chances, Theo missed a one on one, snatching at his shot because he had never really got his body position right, RVP continued to threaten and it was he who made the breakthrough eventually, a shocking ball from Wright-Phillips played Arshavin in down the left, he squared neatly to RVP, who did the rest in typical fashion, he scored when he wanted this time.
It would have been nice to relax in the stands with a two goal cushion but it never came, QPR had a brief surge of energy, Szczesny was forced into a good low save with his left hand, while their other good chance was a skied volley from a corner. We missed some great chances to kill the game, Gervinho hit an easy chance wide when set up expertly by RVP only a few yards out, a fantastic defensive block stopped Rosicky's goal bound effort. We ground it out in the end and looked fairly comfortable in the final ten minutes.
These kind of wins are essential for us to continue our climb up the table, they may not be pretty but they do show that we have developed some important spirit, mental strength and defensive stability in recent months. Generally the defense did well, Arteta was typically solid in the midfield and RVP was excellent up front. A word much also go to QPR and their players, the ungracious and unpleasant Barton the only exception, they deserve much credit for giving it a real go and knocking the ball around nicely. A left back and a pacey forward look essential on Arsene's January shopping list.
Joey Barton is not footballer. He is a thug. The less said or written about him, the better. I am sure he was out today to play his usual role of agent provocateur.
We have a pacy forward...Oxlade Chamberlain.
I want to see the Ox getting more starts, he has impressed greatly so far with his chances.
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