And Arsenal Make it Nine...
Arsenal 2-1 QPR
QPR's search for their first away point of the season, sadly continued as Arsenal were the latest side to cash in a what has become a banker home win..
Firstly, I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic Christmas, as we approach a very busy festive football period and we were all hoping that Rangers could continue with the Christmas cheer..
With it being such a busy period, the Rangers line up had very much the look of having the next two home games firmly in mind..
So again, we find ourselves setting up different for an away fixture and it was very evident from the off that this was a straight back five and yet another lets hope to frustrate the opposition and nick a draw line up...
And Rangers were extremely sloppy in the first half as Arsenal dominated proceedings and in the 9th minute, were given a great chance to start the ball rolling when Traore brought down Sanchez with a complete mess of a tackle - Sanchez himself stepped up but Rob Green's fine form continued as he guessed right and comfortably save the spot kick.. maybe this was to be our day after all.
Rangers offered little and the resistance finally gave in on 37 minutes when Welbeck and Carzorla linked well to find Gibbs on the left, who crossed for the completely unmarked Sanchez to head home and make amends for his earlier miss from the spot.
Onto the second half and Rangers got a surprise way back into the game, as Giroud chased a long ball, shadowed by Onuoha, who as the ball went safe, nudged Giroud slightly and the Frenchman's reaction was to get up and put his head straight into the face of the R's defender - who's reaction to fall to the floor was completely over the top, but there was no doubt it was a pathetic thing to do from the Arsenal striker and a deserved red card followed..
But before Rangers could take any sort of advantage, Arsenal all but made the game safe - some superb work from Sanchez drew out 3 defenders before finding Rosicky on the right who coolly finished with a neat side foot.
As typical as it has been all season, with the game all but lost, Rangers started to play and were given a lifeline on 79 minutes when Hoilett was felled in the box by Debuchy. There was contact but there was no doubt it was a softish penalty of which Charlie Austin smashed home his 12th goal of the season..
Frustratingly, Rangers were now going for it and Hoilett was causing problems on the left side but his final ball was somewhat lacking. Kranjcar's corner was later met by Vargas but was scrambled away by the Arsenal defence. But if the first R's penalty was soft, there was no doubt we should have had a second when Fer crossed for Zamora who was taken out by Gibbs as the R's substitute was about to pull the trigger. A definite penalty waved away by referee Atkinson and the hopes of taking a point were taken firmly away as Arsenal held on..
Man of the Match
Just four votes received this evening with myself singling out Rob Green who's fine form continued in the R's goal. Niko Kranjcar was Jenson's choice but the Boxing Day winner, picked out by Lee and Luke was Steven Caulker.
So, as already mentioned, the away woes continue for QPR. Yes there are positives and we could well have got something out of the game, but it was frustrating yet again that we suddenly come to life with 15 minutes to go when the game is all but lost. Maybe a change of mental attitude away from home is required rather than a change of system and personnel.
We now have two, dare I say, winnable home games ahead of us and Lee will return in a couple of days time as the R's take on Palace at Loftus Road..
Keep the Faith and Come on you R'sssssss!!