First of all, yay points! Arsenal scraped a 1-0 against QPR at the Emirates this morning/afternoon, depending on where you are in the world, and in addition to the elation that a win always brings, there's a measure of relief. Arsenal aren't fixed yet, by a long shot, but three points are always welcome as they continue to repair themselves. It may not be night and day, but it's progress, and it's a little confidence, so that'll make for a nice boost going into the Capital One Cup match on Tuesday. Without further ado, and with the caveat that only Ted saw the whole match, let's Good Bad Ugly this thing!
Ted: The hold up play of Olivier Giroud. Giroud takes a lot of crap for not SCORING ALL TEH GOALZ, but those will come; he's playing really well, and today in particular he maestro'd things quite effectively, if that's a thing. Also, Jack Wilshere!
Paul: As mentioned in the intro, I didn't see most of the match, because I'm at the stage in my life where I'd rather sleep than watch early morning games that don't have a trophy at stake at the end of them (beware, young'uns, that day's coming for you too). Anyway, in the 30ish minutes I did see, I was impressed with three players for the most part: Cazorla, Arteta, and Arshavin. I never fail to be impressed by Arteta's positioning and ball distribution, and today was more of the same. That trio seemed to have a ton of energy and spark where the rest of the team seemed somewhat flat. I didn't see enough of Walcott today to judge, but he looked OK from the little I did see, even if his running seemed a little unfocused at times.
Ted: Cazorla's finishing. He had probably the best chance of the game before Arteta scored, and should have put away whatever the Spanish word for "sitter" is; on another day, he buries that ball, but this isn't another day. Podolski also didn't have his best day in an Arsenal shirt. In what might be called "optimism", though, Santos is hereby upgraded from "Ugly" on Wednesday to "Bad" today. Congratulations?
Paul: Arsenal going forward still seem scattered and unfocused. Nobody seems to want to score, or even to penetrate into a threatening position; the last 30 minutes saw Arsenal have a bunch of half-decent chances seemingly by accident, and fortunately Arteta converted one. The once-disciplined and smooth (if not always productive) Arsenal attack is all over the map right now, and I'm not sure why.
Ted: Granero's targeting of WIlshere. It's a common thing among professional athletes, in any sport, to exploit weaknesses; this is one reason why NHL injury reports, in particular, are almost comically vague. If an athlete knows that an opponent is nursing a bad left ankle, you can be damned sure that he will go after his opponent's left side mercilessly, not to re-injure necessarily but because that's the opponent's weak side. And Granero did this all day.
Paul: QPR's shirts. Seriously. Those things are hideous. Other than that, I didn't really see enough of the match to make a judgment about any one particular ugly thing.
Arsenal still aren't playing all that well, but they did just enough today to scrape a win, and hopefully that'll give them something to build on for next weekend against Manchester United.