Ramsey on the left?
1 - 0 Adel Taraabt 22'
1 - 1 Theo Walcott 37'
2 - 1 Samba Diakite 67'
Arsenal lost today at Loftus Road, their Premier League winning streak coming to an end in poor fashion. QPR were simply better. They passed better, they pressed better, they won most of the duels, and their shape was better. That's really about it. Arsenal drop three points against a relegation side yet again, Chelsea winning on the day.
It was awful. More after the jump.
[ed. note: I maybe overplayed the disaster angle a little bit, here. What can I say; I've got a quick temper, and it takes me a while to come down from emotion.]
Arsenal rather surprisingly started with Aaron Ramsey on the left of midfield in place of Gervinho; whether his tendency to cut inside would affect things greatly remained to be seen.
Three minutes in, Arsenal would win a corner from Theo Walcott, who perhaps could have crossed earlier for Robin van Persie. Arsenal bossed possession early on, QPR's main threat coming through Joey Barton trying to release Jamie Mackie and Bobby Zamora over the top. Eight minutes on, van Persie tried a low free kick that Paddy Kenny saved with a little spillage. QPR had a good spell from then on, winning a set piece 11 minutes in which Arsenal headed out for a corner, which came to another corner, van Persie finally clearing. It wouldn't be long before QPR had another free kick, which Zamora headed over.
Arsenal were struggling now to get anything going, and QPR won another set piece from which Clint Hill wandered offside. Zamora was giving Arsenal's center halves some issues, as he usually does. QPR were winning more of the duels, and although Arsenal had some occasional possession, they couldn't find a way through the QPR defense, yet. Zamora had a shot from 20 which Wojciech Szczesny saved easily.
QPR's dominance would pay off. 22 minutes in, Adel Taraabt got around Thomas Vermaelen far too easily, turned, and curled an easy strike past Szczesny. 1-0. Taraabt got a booking for donning a fez in his celebration.
Arsenal were right out of the match. They were simply losing every 50-50; QPR was pressing them all over the pitch to great effect. Arsenal's passing wasn't crisp.
But Arsenal have RvP. 37 minutes in, he took a little pass from Rosicky, held off his marker just enough to slide a little ball through to Walcott, whose first shot curled around Kenny and off the post straight back to him, and the second shot was easy.
1-1, out of the blue. Would Arsenal turn that goal in to some possession and duel wins?
Ramsey had an effort 39 minutes on that went a little wide of the far post. Suddenly QPR looked a little spent as the half approached its end. Rosicky had a scuffed effort 42 minutes on that Kenny picked up. 44 minutes on, QPR won more duels and a free kick, which Taarabt sent low and curling, but it somehow found nobody.
Halftime arrived; a bad half for Arsenal, but the score was 1-1. They would need a much better effort in the second half.
Ramsey wasn't really working on the left; he merely constricted Rosicky's space, but there he remained as the second half started. There was a hint of a penalty for Jamie Mackie as he chased down an errant Arsenal backpass, but Mike Dean wasn't interested. Arsenal still weren't playing at a very high tempo. The shape was wrong, and any advantage that Arsenal had found from having their fullbacks back was completely lost on the left with Ramsey there.
57 minutes on, van Persie was through on goal, but his shot was saved really well by Kenny. From the corner, QPR countered, but Szczesny saved Taraabt's low, knuckling drive well. Vermaelen and Mackie both got yellow cards, and then Song got one on 64 minutes for holding back Barton.
Two minutes later, disaster would strike. Vermaelen slipped on the edge of the area, allowing Mackie to trundle in, square for Samba Diakite, and the Malian made no mistake.
2-1, QPR, 67 minutes. Disaster.
70 minutes in, Ramsey would finally depart, Gervinho taking his place. Arsenal's passing was all over the place, nothing connecting at all.
Disaster. Arsenal were really just not up for it. There was little urgency, little passing slickness, losing duels.
81 minutes, the Ox came on for Mikel Arteta. Marouane Chamakh came on for Kieran Gibbs. Song moved back to CB, and Vermaelen moved to the left.
But there was no urgency for Arsenal. The passes were wayward, QPR were playing with much more urgency even though they had the lead, and Arsenal really deserved nothing. They got a free kick on 90 minutes, but van Persie hit it right into the wall.
It was the last real chance. Arsenal lose. Chelsea win. City
win draw. Spurs play tomorrow. Nothing else to say.