The stats said our game at Anfield was our worst since 2003, and even if you saw just a two-minute highlight show, you’d be very persuaded that it was so.
Dreadful passing was our own highlight, and combined with a quite blunt attacking display, the defence could only play as we have become used to. It was a following to the pattern of not winning any one of last season’s top seven this season, and maybe we needed more than the players we had at our disposal to get an outright win.
But there will be no hiding place against QPR, as it’ll still be a team of Internationals (ok, maybe except Flamini) versus a team of players muscling their ways into National Team dressing rooms. Charles Austin. And all of our XI must be up for it against the Rs who will be showing fight to stay on in the Premier League, especially these five.
- Per Mertesacker
Take off the Arsenal kit on him and you’d think it was a man performing with a circus. He did not plan for that pose but Mertesacker’s camera-caught posture while Skrtel bombarding in the stoppage time equalizer last weekend was not worthy of a Captain. Maybe it was not in his zone at the time of flight but whose duty should it be to mark the zone where the greatest opposition threat lays? There will be even more threats on set pieces against Redknapp’s side as Leroy Fer, Richard Dunne, Rio Ferdinand and Charlie Austin are more than capable of dinging a dong from a long punt. Maybe he’s been jaded by the ever changing partnership but he’s not got 100 International caps for nothing. Deal with it, BFG.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The Ox had his worst game of the season against QPR but we spare him the hammer. He may have a long-term role in central midfield but that was only the third game this season in it and it was the first superior opponent played, after Galatasaray and Newcastle. His pace will always be a massive tool through the center, making options for players to come in freely through wider positions but he must do better with the distribution. He will have to gain some muscle to overcome the physicality of the midfield against Joey Barton and Fer.
- Mattieu Flamini
He is that captain whose cap still lets us see a clear bald patch on his head and fact is there is not an awful lot we can do about him, other than put up with him. You’d want him to play his role as much as he barks out at others.
- Alexis Sanchez
Another star player who failed to get going at Anfield but has rarely had a bad game at the Emirates. A goal will do him a world of good before the media begin to sing their “He’s a flop” carols.
- Olivier Giroud
Not so much a demand for him to raise his game as to just do a little better than he did in the first half at Anfield, and maybe show the form against Newcastle. He’s not, maybe, World Class but he’s the best this team has got for now, and should be a good match for Richard Dunne.
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