It may have been seven games since it last happened – but individual defensive errors cost Arsenal at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday and such a crushing blow could really knock the fragile confidence at The Emirates.
Unusually, the culprit was Thomas Vermaelen – but the Belgian international was at fault for both of the goals in a 2-1 defeat – remember, Arsenal were looking to secure an eighth Premier League win on the spin at Loftus Road.
When you compare the two run-ins, Tottenham Hotspur have a significantly easier end to the season than the Gunners and it’s difficult to see Arsenal staying in front of their north London rivals.
Manchester City arrive at The Emirates on Sunday and it’s difficult to envisage Roberto Mancini’s men rolling over when there’s a league title to still fight for, while Chelsea arrive at Arsenal just two weeks later.
Arsène Wenger’s men are not the strongest mentally and if you look at their season so far – defeats have come in clusters – they seem to struggle to bounce back from adversity.
Such statistics are certain to fill Tottenham with confidence and after morale-boosting wins against Bolton Wanderers and Swansea City in just a week – Harry Redknapp’s men look back to their best and capable of finishing third.
Chelsea are not only capable of finishing fourth in the league this season but they’re also capable of winning the Champions League.
If they did win the Champions League but finished fifth – Chelsea would qualify for the Champions League at the expense of the team that finished fourth.
And with Barcelona currently being held 0-0 after the first leg against AC Milan – it only needs a fortuitous evening at the Nou Camp for the Italians, and the defending champions could be out of the competition.
Chelsea are capable of beating any other team in the competition and that’s why it’s crucial Arsenal finish third and not fourth.
It’s great to see a proven Championship goal scorer make the step up to the Premier League and cause an established team plenty of problems.
It was a pleasure watching Adel Taarabt torment Arsenal on Saturday.
Last season, the Morocco international scored 19 goals on his way to winning promotion for QPR and the Championship player of the year for himself.
And the nature of his first league goal this season suggests he isn’t going to be in the Kenny Miller or Sylvan Ebanks-Blake category of Championship talents who can’t cut it in the top flight.
Miller was Wolverhampton Wanderers’ darling back in 2003 and was touted as a 15-goal-a-season man for the top flight – he finished with a grand total of two league goals.
Ebanks-Blake was even more precocious and netted 25 league goals before going on to win player of the season for 2008-9 as well as the Golden Boot.
But, as subsequent seasons and Saturday proved, he can’t find the net for love nor money.
Taarabt is a physical specimen, much more so than Miller and Ebanks-Blake, and his athleticism should ensure he always finds space to run into and create chances for himself, QPR and Morocco.
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