Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against QPR

Arsenal are on the cusp of something special. No Premier League side has won 8 in a row this season and only two have done so across the big 5 leagues in Europe. Granted it’s not title-winning special but if achieved, it will certainly play it’s part in shaping the summer’s internal and external transfer business.

QPR will try to stop the Gunners and it is probably a bigger game for them given their battle against relegation. Once again, theoretically, this should be a comfortable game for Wenger’s side. But we all know in practice it’s never as straightforward.

The hosts have had a difficult season but they do have genuine quality in their squad. It’s worth noting that two of their three home wins have come against Chelsea and Liverpool. Another interesting fact is that most of their games have been very close. In the first seven games – a juncture I seem to have developed a fixation for – they played four games, losing three, where the result had a gap of two goals or more. But 19 of their last 23 games have seen a goal difference of one or less. That includes Arsenal’s hard-fought 1-0 win at home earlier in the season. To me it says they aren’t a team that has been played off the park as often as their league position might suggest to some.

In terms of individual talent Zamora, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Barton, and others are quite capable of holding their own, at least on their day. Perhaps consistency has been their problem and maybe an inability to click as a team, but one must definitely expect a fighting display from Mark Hughes’ side. Speaking of whom, I am also a tad worried this could turn ugly at some stage but let’s not focus on that.

The aforementioned talent in their ranks can hurt Arsenal’s defence. They’ve some pace to burn and players who can take opponents on. QPR also have players who can score from distance and tight angles. But their biggest threat will come from their aerial ability in the box. I haven’t had the chance to check but I won’t be surprised if they’re among the top teams when it comes to scoring headed goals.

In that regard it will be good to have Koscielny back. He isn’t as tall as Djourou but I think he attacks the ball better.

Apart from the centre of defence it’s difficult to see too many changes to the line-up. Wenger will probably pick one of Gervinho or Ramsey but the other areas seem well settled. I am not convinced Santos is at the right fitness level and there is really no reason to dislodge Gibbs just when he’s started gaining some form and fitness.

Szczesny – Sagna, Koscielny (Djourou), Vermaelen, Gibbs – Song, Rosicky, Arteta – Walcott, RvP, Gervinho.

We will see whether the recent trend of a midfielder in one of the wide areas for away games continues in this fixture. Gervinho did well in the last game and brought the left side into play a lot more than we’ve seen recently. So even though I prefer a possession-based player on one of the flanks, especially if he has the knack of getting into good positions in the box as Ramsey does, I also feel this Gervinho-Gibbs axis also deserves a run of games.

While most of QPR’s recent games have been settled by a one goal margin or less, I do expect the Arsenal attack to trouble their back four. For that the Gunners need to challenge them through constant movement, interchanging of places, and combination plays that involve many players. The hosts are conceding over 1.5 goals per game at home and I’ll be surprised if Arsenal don’t manage to get at least two. That might not be enough, as Liverpool found out, but it should make the game very interesting for the spectators.

Before ending I want to mention that this is a busy weekend for me as Mrs. D and I are helping my sister and brother-in-law with their apartment move. There probably won’t be time to catch the game live so the match report will be delayed till Sunday afternoon or evening here in the Midwest. Apologies to those who like a quick one. Also, if the result doesn’t quite work out you know who to blame for breaking the pattern 😉

34 Responses to Thoughts On Tactics And Starting Eleven Against QPR

  1. Busayor says:

    Luv ur analyses,they are always on point.I also agree wit ur predicted 1st eleven;Gibbs,Kos & Gerv should all keep their places.3 -1 to the Gunners.follow me @Busie93,I will follow back.much luv al d way from Nigeria

  2. Adkdukes says:

    Good post as usual. Am expecting another comfortable win today. That might sound too optimistic, but I don’t think the good run of form will stop this afternoon. They’ve won more difficult games recently, and just as Rvp said some weeks ago 9 wins in 10 will prove how strong the team is developing. The players are united and will all want to achieve that. I will want wenger to maintain the team of last weekend except the return of Kos. An early goal can open the game and help the boys kill off the game early enough which has not been their biggest strength of late. In any case 3 point should be the minimum target for this game.

  3. Ade David, a Nigerian Gooner. says:

    Brilliant pre match analysis Desi. As you said this can never be an easy game. They will put whatever they have into this game. They are fighting for survival, we are fighting for 3rd spot but whatever they put, I still believe, we shall win this one by the grace of God. I expect the coach to drop Gevinho to the bench and Ramsey to start. For sometime now, he had not been starting away game with two wingers. If Kos is fit, he starts, otherwise Djourou is a good replacement. Up Arsenaaal.

  4. Ajala Taofik says:

    The line-up is right and will to see again Santos and OX coming in the 2nd half. Jdourou should sit down as half Kos is ever better than him.

  5. Ugo odenison says:

    I see arsenal wining this match with lot of goals

  6. Gerry Lennon says:

    Yep, I think you have it spot on, both with the 11 starters, and the nature of the game.
    I am glad you have kept a sense of realism to our current form, because tomorrow(Sunday), the phrase ‘You are only as good as your last game’ will apply … The run of the previous 7 games means nothing until this one, and all the rest until the end of this season, is done and dusted.
    Yes, we should win, but their result against Liverpool could spark a revival. Everybody needs to be on top of their game and fortunately, the predicted starting 11 have been in great form …. except may be RVP, he’s been rubbish lately – JOKE!!
    I never like making score predictions, and like yourself, I will probably not see the match until Sunday on the the ‘A-player’ … if I can avoid hearing the result beforehand. It worked last weekend.

  7. wenger says:

    two tumbs up…!!!

  8. Odhis KenyanGunner says:

    One word: JoeyBarton (nkt). Hes going to get someone sent off in his place, he has the very rare ability to do so, except maybe for those actors at Barcelona. And guess whos wielding the whistle? Mike ‘he-stinks’ Dean. If thes anyone who can do Joey Barton’s bidding, its Dean. As you have said Desi, this COULD turn ugly. Song must watch out.

  9. Aussie Jack says:

    Desi…You briefly mentioned the possiblity of the game turning`ugly` and I have to admit this is a concern. The last thing we need is someone to take out RVP and I`m sure this is not lost on the kinds of Barton. Let`s hope the referee is on top of his
    game. Hope I wake tomorrow morning with a good result and no injuries.

  10. Steve Umondak says:

    Good analysis mate. Only methinks Oxlade will be a better option for this match instead of Gervinho.

  11. wenger should buy players.

    • tateezee says:

      And who do you suggest? Messi? Ronaldo?

      C’mon, we’re at a crucial stage of the season and all you can come with is transfers.

      Good post Desi…this is my first time ever on your blog. I like your analysis.
      Well, even if the game gets ugly, I think we can hold forth. This team have men who have gone through fire. Kos, TV, Song, Arteta and RvP. We won’t shy out of any confrontation. My fear is Mike Dean…I can only hope he’d be as fair as possible (not holding my breathe though).

      All in all….we’re gooner win today.. COYG!!!

  12. I wish all the player expecial Rvp good luck

  13. I wish all the player expecial Rvp good luck also i congrate our new comer lukas podoski welcome to emirate your favourite team

  14. nadjulius says:

    Nice piece of write Desi–Personally I hope this game is done and won by the 70th minute. If this happens, I would love to see Le Boss give Benayoun, Santos and Ox a run in–Honestly I would love to see how Benny would fit in for Le Mozart. Ramsey lovers, forgive me here, but i have come to think this guy’s season seems over-he looks tired and we look very ordinary with him in our games these days. I bet RVP should get one at least on across the QPR goal line to keep off Rooney (I hope this guy does not score any more goals this season). Song should turn Barton’s tricks against him so I believe this time it will be (Joey) shown orange-oh sorry red. DJ and Varminator should do well, I do not expect a lot of trouble from the QPR attackers. I also think we play 4 3 3 formation that lays out as a 3 3 3 1 on the pitch – ie kosch, verm, song- sanya, arteta, gibbs – walcot roscky gevin and finally van p. i illustrate this


    kosch verminator song

    sanya arteta gibbs

    walcot rosicky gerv

    van persie

  15. John says:

    The fact you think Ramsy is an option and a valid player shows how stubborn and stupid you are !
    Ramsy is nothing more than a bastard using an old leg injury and pitty to come on and ruin any game arsenal play!
    The fact the last 7 games have been won without Ramsy on an average scale shows how shit he is!
    Ramsy dead is the best option.
    Now take your head out of your ass an go support spurs !!
    Any fan promoting Ramsy means he hates the best for arsenal !!

    Bastard !!!

    • tateezee says:

      Your post tells a lot about you than Ramsey. Not wanting him at Arsenal is one thing, wishing him dead is another. Well, I can’t be arsed with people like you. Mr Wenger rates him, that’s fine by me. Get a life…football is meant to be fun.

    • Odhis KenyanGunner says:

      @JOHN. Maybe we should just play you in his place then. Whats your name again? And how much do you think Wenger should buy you at, uh? Look, whoeveryouare, bitter ‘fans’ like you have their special reserved places in Anti-Arsenal Arsenal (AAA) blogs like Le-Grove. Go comment there, where you belong. Here, we are sensible, something that clearly isnt your strong point. Here, we debate things objectively. People who find that too hard for their small brains to handle are at liberty to go strut their moronic stuff in those other blogs. LOSER!

    • are you a fan /supporter or one of those WENGER MUST GO twigs who have had their stems broken coz of the fluidity in the team. the good run has been as a result of players like RAMSEY who have kept ROSISCKY et al on their toes. competition for places is good for the team, you just need a plumper to repair your gut it is blocked and full of macabre worms and stench.

    • kins says:

      How can you call someone a bastard?why do you choose to write that way? football is fun and entertainment its not a do or die!!

  16. goonerboy says:

    i have a small concern about kosser. should he pick up a booking today, which is possible if sparky gets his team too revved up and it turns nasty, then he will be suspended for the city game next week due to totting up. is it worth a risk as joe could do a job?

  17. garyf says:

    aresnal to win easily today would be upset with even a draw.

    R.I.P. Rocky

  18. dropgoal says:




  19. this gonna be a banana skin kind of a match, a derby with two teams with everything to play for,isnt it a kind of a match to throw surprise players like PARK and latter give RVP the last 20 minutes after the BARTON venom would have subsided? there is need to put pressure on their wingbacks so that they wont throw any crosses into our area. SONG should have been given a day off so as to recharge his cells for the gruelling matchup with YAYA next week.

  20. Sabo dalhatu says:


  21. Draper-Corleone says:

    That sad person at 8.00 is best ignored. Any response is what people like him are looking for. Request everyone to show absolute indifference to make them feel what they are worth – nothing, not even a response.

    It is ironic that I am in a way responding but what would be worse is lots of well meaning people like most on this blog get riled and start responding. That will fulfill what he is looking for.

    I have a feeling this will be a tough game. Barton for all his shortcomings seems a good motivator. “we are playing for our livelihoods” is as good a clarion call as any even though it comes from footballers earning amounts each week that many in the world will not earn in a lifetime.

  22. i foresee a SNATCH AND GRAB kind of a match,more of moneygame type we used to play when we were in our early ages.winner takes all.

  23. We wil beat QPR very bad !!!!!!
    I predict 4 goals to nil.
    Up gunners

  24. Dianjuh says:

    Love coming ton this analysis as they are my favourite.

    One word (ok two….)…….THREE POINTS!!!!!!

    With our current form and confidence not to mention momentum, then Enough said!!

  25. nickinportugal says:

    Difficult game, not an easy place to go to. I would open with gervinho instead of Ramsay and bring Aaron on should we need more bodies in the middle at say, 2 up. Players like Arteta and Van Persie need to keep their temper as does Song, we know all about Barton but he has single handedly sucked us in to stupidities and lost points before so he needs to be treated with the kind of nuanced and subtle football he is not capable of understanding, so that HE loses his temper and gets himself sent off rather than one of us. The contributor who called Ramsay a bastard in an earlier post should go back to the pond he obviously inhabits.
    Arsenal by 1-2

  26. Shiv says:

    Had this been last year’s outfit i’d think that the law of averages may catch up and we would’ve lost. But i have a feeling that this team has something more and they’ll scrape through.
    Here’s to a boozy house warming.

  27. Mike Shawyer says:

    Hello, 2-1 to the RRRRRRRRR’ssssssss

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