LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on ahead of the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Arsenal at Loftus Road on March 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Happy April Fools Day, Arsenal fans. Unfortunately, yesterday's result did happen. No, it wasn't a joke. With Spurs playing (and winning) right now and Chelsea and Newcastle winning earlier, it's become a bit tight in the race for the Champions League places. Tottenham play Sunderland next week, Chelsea start a run of 5 games in two weeks with a home fixture with Wigan and we entertain Manchester City. City, of course, drew with Sunderland, and their away form has been awful for the past few months. At home, Arsenal have been very good, and if they play with the verve and pressing that they did against Spurs and Milan, they have a very good chance of winning. With that in mind, let's get to the links!
First off, and in no was is this a shameless plug, there's my piece on Aaron Ramsey and his performance at left wing. His selection was slightly odd, if understandable; his staying on after 45 minutes was inexcusable.
Both Arseblog and Arse2mouse say that the way we respond next week is vital, and that we shouldn't lose sight of the run of 7 wins from 8 that we had. They're right; hopefully, this is one of our final blips of the season and we finish strongly.
Arsene Wenger thought that Arsenal lacked commitment. We did do a poor job of winning 50-50s, but I'm not sure if that's the only reason; Vermaelen's positioning was disastrous, and our creativity was non-existent. Perhaps it was the pressing, and that could explain his quote saying "the performance of QPR explains our poor performance".
Wenger also says "we were too open when we had the ball", which is an interesting comment. I thought our big problem was the midfield shape being messed up and Kieran Gibbs having a whole flank to deal with, which, if you remember that defeat against Swansea, is a recipe for problems. I thought Song and Arteta did a good job of rotating around the holding role, but there was a lot of space for Adel Taarabt when he came into the middle.
Finally, I shall not be speaking of transfer news of Jan Vertonghen because it was reported by someone who's completely full of it.