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An Arsenal side on a swoon of sorts was able to pick itself up against QPR as Robin Van Persie once again showed how to finish an opportunity. The goal was RVP’s 35th, an Arsenal record for a calender year, and falling short of Alan Shearer’s prodigious output by a mere goal.
It took place in front of the latest example of Arsene Wenger’s abandonment of his principle to never sign a player who moved away from the club. Yes, Thierry Henry, signed on a two month short term loan, and the previous record holder, graced the Emirates with his presence. A bitter sweet reminder of those heady years when Arsenal had no equal. The lone goal continued the theme of where would Arsenal be, if not for RVP?
This to be ponderously considered when Theo Walcott, a prime example of arrested development, horrified the faithful by missing two absolute sitters. He was closely followed by Gervinho, a second half substitute, energizing instantly, but leading to a familiar pattern of head shaking errors in front of goal. Arsenal would have been five up easy but with just a goal to show for their efforts had to see out the last angst ridden minutes.
The win came on a day when Arsenal’s rivals fell short with Chelsea challenging for the final CL spot falling to a strongly counterattacking Aston Villa. Spurs riding high had their wings clipped by a wonderfully assured Swansea. Man Utd sweeping all opposition aside with a vehemence in the last few games was shocked by beleaguered Blackburn.
The old year ends with Arsenal in fourth. An amazing climb for a club adrift and untethered at the beginning in 17th position. But we now move to the crucial second half in the new year with a back four that is essentially all center backs with no pressing strength down the wings. A prayer that RVP keep healthy and productive to keep us competitive. A bench that has no game changers. What is Wenger’s solution? If Henry is the answer, it is pusillanimous short termism. At this stage, we really need to be going for a physical presence in the mould of a Demba Ba or Lukas Podolski.