Yes, it was Mikel Arteta who scored the goal for a struggling and lacking of confidence Arsenal team, but the man who made this win matter more than it should was Jack Wilshere, returning to the game of football after over a year of rehabbing and waiting. While it might be some sort of boost to a sluggish side, it’s definitely not the answer to all the problems.
The only thing that could actually excite Arsenal fans was Wilshere making his return to the Emirates, seeing a lot of new faces that weren’t there the last time he played in an Arsenal jersey. No Samir Nasri, no Robin van Persie, no Cesc Fabregas. A whole new team, a weaker team, with only Aaron Ramsey, Bacary Sagna (also on the comeback trail) and Thomas Vermaelen as familiar faces.
And if a player that has so far been more hype than actual quality performances on the pitch is such a huge influence on the mood of the fans and possibly the team, than everything Arsene Wenger has been doing is failing miserably. So now he has another central midfielder to throw in the formation, juggling around the fact that he has no capable striker. Olivier Giroud, with another disappointing display and a record of 1 goals in his nine appearances, is currently not someone you’d call anything but a failure. Too soon to judge? Maybe, but there’s not much about his play either to offer too much of hope.
So it’s now Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby, once he’s healthy again. That are of the pitch isn’t Arsenal’s problem. The problem is upfront, with Lukas Podolski, all over he’s brilliant start, infected by the weakness of his teammates (Giroud and Gervinho) whenever they’re 15-20 meters in the range of the goal. There aren’t that many teams that can afford to play without a striker, and Arsenal aren’t Barcelona or the Spanish national side last time I checked. Not even close.
On days like these, it’s good to have QPR, the worst team in the Premier League at the moment, without a single victory to their name, coming into town. As low in confidence as the Arsenal players were coming into the match; in themselves and possibly in their manager, things are much worse for Mark Hughes and his players. No method, no system, no belief in doing and achieving anything.
For Arsenal, it was just about playing with metal balls attaches to their legs, keeping them back and refrained, except for Wilshere, who couldn’t run too much anyway, coming off after 67 minutes, feeling exhausted from his first match in 15 months. Arteta scored the goal 17 minutes later, with a little bit of luck. On a day when nothing works and no one seems to have the confidence to step up and do something special, it’s a good thing that fortune hasn’t deserted the gunners completely, giving the players and especially Arsene Wenger a few more days without any sort of buzz and criticism.