Although the most important thing for Arsenal in the Boxing Day game against QPR was to get all three points in front of the Emirates stadium crowd, Arsene Wenger did take two big positives from the performance as well. And we will need to show both of those qualities again away to West Ham today.
It was a very nervous finish to the game after Olivier Giroud saw red for a headbutt and QPR got one back from the penalty spot, but the Arsenal boss took a lot of pride in the resilience we showed to hold firm under pressure towards the end. The Frenchman was also very pleased with the quality and class his team had showed before that, even though we should have had more than just two goals to show for it.
Wenger told Arsenal Player, “It was a combination of class and resilience. The class first, the resilience came in when we were down to 10 men, and the score was 2-1.
“We have shown another aspect that I like as well, because we did throw our body in today, and overall the defensive commitment was great.”
I think we will need to show those two qualities again today but probably in the reverse order. I expect West Ham to start strongly and with great belief, despite their loss to Chelsea on Boxing Day. They will get at Arsenal and put us under real pressure, so the fitness of Laurent Koscielny could be vital.
But if we can stay strong and see that through, then our class can come into play. And with players like Alexis and Cazorla, and with Walcott waiting on the bench, the Gunners do have the quality to hurt the home team.
But will we be able to resist an early onslaught?