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Arsenal vs QPR: 6 Things We Learned

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2016

Arsenal vs QPR: 6 Things We Learned

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    Arsenal's 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers provided many talking points.

    The Gunners picked up a deserved three points, but it wasn't without luck. Mikel Arteta's offside winner leaves Mark Hughes and his team in a difficult situation.

    What did we learn from this London derby? Read on to find out.

Jack Wilshere Is Key to Arsenal's Season

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    Arsenal fans know all about the qualities of Jack Wilshere.

    For the rest of the league, it's been too easy to forget exactly what he brings to Arsene Wenger's side.

    Wilshere posted an excellent 67 minutes in his comeback game.

    His pass success rate was 100 percent in the first half, indicating that he doesn't need much time to regain his confidence. That rate dipped then to a team-best of 94 percent before he was given a well-deserved rest.

    Immediately neat and tidy, the Englishman also showed desire to get forward.

    The likes of Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski went anonymous for long periods of the game and failed to impose themselves on the ball.

    Wilshere demanded possession.

    He took up useful positions behind the forwards. Arsenal consistently met a wall of QPR defenders in the first half. Interchanges between Wilshere and his midfield colleagues controlled the match when Mark Hughes' side looked for an escape route.

    After one match, it seems Wilshere is ready to help Arsenal in their assault on the Premier League.

    Indeed, Jack is back.

Sagna Deserves to Start for Wenger's Side

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    Another player made his Arsenal return against QPR.

    Wilshere will make the headlines, but Bacary Sagna also reminded fans exactly why he's regarded as one of the best right-back's in the world.

    The Frenchman showed boundless energy to get forward and support his team.

    Wenger's decision to start without recognised wingers ensured the Gunners were uncharacteristically narrow in the first half.

    Sagna aided Arsenal's bunching with some excellent runs. He provided decent crosses into Olivier Giroud, who was on the periphery for most of the game.

    The defender was unlucky not to get an assist when his whipped cross found Aaron Ramsey. Arsenal's Welshman looped his header onto the bar, although questions may be asked as to whether he was offside.

    Carl Jenkinson has provided excellent cover for Sagna. The youngster is a natural deputy to the former Auxerre defender.

    Right now, Sagna remains king.

Steve Bould Has Work to Do with Arsenal's Defence

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    Steve Bould received plenty of plaudits at the start of the season.

    His work on Arsenal's defence looked to have shored up a squad that is known to concede poor goals.

    Although the Gunners claimed a clean sheet against QPR, it's clear that Bould's work is far from done.

    QPR only created chances when Arsenal's concentration lapsed. Adel Taarabt's footwork often provided an outlet for the visitors to get forward.

    He looked to get the ball towards Bobby Zamora at every opportunity.

    The powerful Englishman found space across the back line. This gave him time to hold the ball up and provide a breather for his stretched defence.

    Mark Hughes' team had opportunities to score, even when they were reduced to 10 men. Esteban Granero wasted a vital chance, and Vito Mannone was forced into a decent save from Jamie Mackie at the death.

    Improvements need to happen quickly.

    Arsenal journey to Old Trafford in their next Premier League outing. Robin van Persie isn't likely to be so kind if Wenger's men lack focus.

Julio Cesar Can Keep QPR in the Premier League

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    To tap into an old cliche, it really was a game of two halves for Julio Cesar.

    He was terrible in the opening 45 minutes.

    The Brazilian failed to grip a number of soft shots and regularly dropped the ball into danger.

    The former Inter Milan goalkeeper completed 29 percent of his passes.

    For comparison, Vito Mannone successfully completed 75 percent at the other end.

    Even so, Cesar managed to produce some stunning saves in the second half. I'm talking world-class.

    The 33-year-old didn't deserve to be on the losing side. He brilliantly turned away a shot from Santi Cazorla before conceding the vital goal.

    Cesar's efforts were rendered pointless when Mikel Arteta poked in from an offside position. He made two excellent saves before the Spaniard grabbed the winner.

    The qualities of Cesar are known across the world. If QPR are to retain their place in the Premier League beyond this season, the former Champions League winner needs to continue defying the odds.

QPR Will Continue to Improve

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    QPR's spending spree in the summer transfer market hasn't lead to improved results.

    The team is making progress, though.

    Mark Hughes will feel his side played maturely at the Emirates.

    Possession was always going to be at a minimal against Arsenal, but QPR combated this with decent shape and a determined attitude.

    Arsenal poured forward in the second half. Each time, they were met by two rigid lines of QPR defence. Players such as Samba Diakite and Adel Taarabt worked tirelessly to win the ball back and mount a counterattack.

    Esteban Granero is undoubtedly key to this team.

    His display was amongst the worst QPR had to offer. The Spaniard completed one dribble and was dispossessed three times. He also failed to make a tackle and only completed 78 percent of his passes.

    A lack of cohesion is starting to subside. Small improvements are being match with each match. The team from Loftus Road cannot afford to keep playing well without gathering three points.

Individual Mistakes Could Cost Mark Hughes His Job

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    Mark Hughes didn't do much wrong against Arsenal.

    He warned his side of a potential backlash from the Gunners (via The Guardian). The experienced boss set his side up in a manner that suggested they would defend doggedly and counter with force.

    It almost worked.

    Stephane Mbia's decision to lash out on Thomas Vermaelen was an idiotic one. Not only did he contribute to QPR's downfall, but he also placed additional pressure on his manager.

    A point against Arsenal would have been a massive boost for QPR's next fixture against Reading. Both sides are without a win.

    The next match is undoubtedly a six-pointer, even at this stage of the season. How costly could Mbia's dismissal be if Hughes' team fail to beat their relegation rivals?

    An under-fire manager needs his team to work for him. For the most part, QPR did that against Arsenal.

    The minority could cost Mark Hughes his job.


    Do you agree with my analysis? Let me know in the comments section below and follow me on Twitter:

    All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.

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