Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on QPR in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were presenter Dan Roebuck and Daniel Cowan of North London Is Red.
Read on for their verdict on the QPR game.
DAN ROEBUCK, PRESENTER
After losing two in a row, it was imperative for Arsenal to get back to winning ways and Arsène Wenger will be delighted they did that. QPR didn’t play badly and with Julio Cesar seemingly unbeatable, it looked like being one of those days. It says a lot about the character of the team that they kept going and found the breakthrough late on. The victory will boost confidence levels ahead of the game against Manchester United on Saturday.
The biggest positive for Arsenal was the return of Jack Wilshere. He was impressive in the first half, but will need more games before he can regain full match sharpness. Bacary Sagna also made his comeback and looked like he had never been away. It was tense and tight and times, but this was a much-needed three points for the Gunners.
I don't think any of us expected Arsenal to suffer back-to-back defeats on the strength of their performance at West Ham - and they need to find that Upton Park level again soon. Norwich was a real disappointment, I kept expecting them to raise the tempo but it just didn't happen. As a result a solid start to the season suddenly looks far less convincing but that can change quickly with a couple of good results.
QPR are difficult to predict because they have lots of decent players but Mark Hughes hasn't got the best out of them yet. The likes of Junior Hoilett can cause problems on the counter-attack while Bobby Zamora has a good record against Arsenal. Hopefully Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will return - we need his spark and pace in the side after two flat performances. I'm confident Arsenal can turn it around, I reckon they'll win 2-0. Fingers crossed.
DANIEL COWAN, NORTH LONDON IS RED
As predicted it was a reasonably scrappy match that neither team really dominated, but I’m happy we got the clean sheet I thought would elude us. It wasn’t a great performance but a win is a win and hopefully these precious three points will inject some confidence back into the side.
Santi Cazorla was restricted once again and I fear that we rely too heavily on him for creativity. Teams seem to think that to stop Arsenal, you need to stop Cazorla and in the last few matches it has worked - so maybe there’s something in that. QPR were unremarkable in both defence and attack and maybe Arsenal’s mostly pedestrian performance masked the frailties that other teams have exposed so easily this term. Julio Cesar in the QPR goal put in an excellent performance, and without him we could have won by four or five goals.
The introduction of Theo Walcott seemed to stretch the QPR defence and gave us some much-needed pace which, with the sending off of Stephane M’Bia, changed the game. QPR gained a little confidence towards the end and we had a few tense moments at 1-0. We need to be much better than we were today when we go to Old Trafford this weekend, but maybe the presence of a certain Dutchman will give us all the incentive we need.
When the fixture calendar was released this match probably wasn’t seen as a crucial match but it is now. With QPR propping the rest of the table up and Arsenal 10 points off Chelsea this is a must-win match for both sides. After watching Norwich beat us last week QPR be under pressure to do the same and I expect them to start pressing us as soon as the match kicks off. The last few matches for Arsenal have been disappointing and I believe this has been due to the loss of Diaby. We’ve failed to emulate his presence with replacements in this formation so maybe a slight change in formation will help until he returns.
Arsenal seem to be a little short on creativity at the moment, and finishing ability when we do create a chance. Gervinho started the season well as a false nine but has dropped his level so a little more faith in Giroud up front may be required, especially against the physical tactics Hughes likes to deploy against us. Arsenal have never found it easy to play a Hughes team and I think we may be in for a tight and scrappy match. I like the idea of a clean sheet win but I think we’ll have to settle for leaving it late with a 2-1 win.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband LtdCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 26 Oct 2012