Normally, a home game against the league’s bottom team would be a welcome thing, despite the oft-used cliché that ‘there aren’t any easy games in the Premier League’.
But we went into the QPR game on the back of two morale-sapping defeats, in which we had shown little bark and far less bite. A similar result here and those whispers of ‘crisis’ would definitely get much louder.
Thanks to Arteta’s late goal, our mini-slump has been somewhat arrested but for a long time it wasn’t quite clear where that goal was going to come from. Julio Cesar was doing an outstanding job of filling the role of ‘inspired keeper at the Emirates’, which is something Gooners come across far too often for our liking.
Still, a win is a win, and sometimes you do need these sorts of games to get a bit of the momentum back. It was unrealistic to think we would suddenly cast off the shackles and demolish our opponents, but this does represent a small step in the right direction.
Yes, Arteta was probably offside in the build-up to the goal and more might have been made of it, if not for that other ‘big clash’ in London. I can understand how QPR fans might feel, having been on the receiving end on numerous occasions.
Putting that aside, I thought that it was due time our most consistent player got a goal to show for his efforts. Arteta has been the epitomy of reliability throughout our season so far, and I was delighted that it was his boot that struck the winner and quite possibly gave us a boost going into our upcoming games.
The other obvious positive was the return of Wilshere. I admit that I wouldn’t have risked him if I was in charge, but Wenger took that bold move and boy did Jack prove him right! It was as if he never left, which is even more remarkable considering how he has never played alongside Arteta and Cazorla.
Wilshere was quite easily our most impressive player in the first half, which is an encouraging sign for what is to come from our no.10. He will now skip the Capital One Cup match, which all points to him starting next week at Old Trafford. It’s certainly some re-introduction into first team football, but this recent showing suggests that he’s more than ready to take on the big guns.
The team did need a bit of a shot in the arm after those two defeats, and that has come not just in the form of Wilshere, but also Sagna and the recovering Walcott. We are getting people back into full fitness, and hopefully this added depth will serve us well in what looks like a tricky November.
That month kicks off with the biggest of games, and gives us a chance to exorcise the ghosts of that 8-2 defeat.
It certainly won’t be easy, especially with that ‘man’ now playing upfront for them, but I’m sure the lads will need no added motivation to get one over their former teammate. Come on you Gunners!