Gunners make the routine difficult

A St Stephen’s Day derby on an arctic winter’s evening was just what the doctor ordered to walk off some of the Christmas Day calories and to blow off the cobwebs of cosy domestic bliss.

Gunners make the routine difficult

Especially against a QPR side that are so accustomed to being trounced on the road that they turned out at our place as understandably timid fodder.

Yet in this Jekyll and Hyde campaign, you never know which incarnation of the Arsenal the opposition are going to encounter. Mercifully the horrifically lacklustre creature that we’d witnessed at Anfield last weekend had been replaced by the high-tempo entertainers that I’d been hoping for.

It all looked like it was going to script and we were to be blessed with a stress-free, enjoyable game, when Traore made the mistake of going to ground in the area in the opening minutes. But when Alexis fluffed his lines with his resulting penalty, I feared we might be in for one of those days.

Thankfully Alexis made amends before the break, aided by Rosicky’s energy in the middle of the park and everything was hunky-dory, until Giroud lost the plot.

With Redknapp going “all in” with his substitutions, suddenly sensing that there might be something to be gained with their extra-man advantage, from what was previously a forlorn effort, Rosicky’s goal was extremely timely.

With Alexis influential, as ever, in the build-up, there was a massive wave of relief when Tomas popped up in the space that Traore had vacated a couple of minutes earlier.

Yet if we were thinking a two-goal cushion might afford us an opportunity to conserve some much needed energy for our outing to East London in 48hours, we couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d been hoping for the clean sheet that might instil a little more composure in our defence, but with Charlie Austin in such impressive form, I knew he wasn’t about to miss.

The Gunners recent track record of throwing points away, with our woeful inability to see out a game in a poised and unflappable fashion, ensured we were on the edge of our seats for a nail-biting last 10 minutes.

Largely thanks to our guests incompetence, for once we managed to achieve this objective.

Roll on West Ham.

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