WHEN ARSENAL opened the scoring after just 20 seconds at Loftus Road on Saturday, many R’s fans would have been forgiven for thinking it could turn into one of those days.
In the end, that solitary goal from Theo Walcott was all that separated the teams. The Rangers backline of Armand Traore, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill and Tal Ben Haim regrouped, and managed to keep the shackles on the Gunners forward line for the remainder of the afternoon.
“It was the type of start that you never expect to happen, and when it does it knocks you for a second,” Onuoha admitted to www.qpr.co.uk
“Thankfully we were able to get ourselves together and make a decent game of it because in times gone by I think we would have gone under there and conceded a second and a third.
“We managed to stay in the game and, by the end, I think we probably deserved something from it.”
Arsenal are currently battling with Chelsea and Tottenham for third spot in the Premier League. Only champions Manchester United and Rafa Benitez’s Blues have scored more goals than the Gunners this season, and Onuoha added: “I was pleased with how we coped defensively. I thought it was an entire team effort.
“We defended really well from the front which meant we won the ball in better areas and were able to attack them more. And when we were attacking, it gave us a breather at the back so we could be ready when the time came again to defend.”
Signed from Manchester City in January 2012, Onuoha has found opportunities to play at the heart of the QPR defence limited, often used as a right back instead.
So the chance to feature alongside Hill in a central role at the weekend was one he enjoyed. “I loved it,” he admitted. “That’s my preferred position. You always just want to be in the side but if you can be in the side and playing in the position you want to play in, it makes a big difference.”
Coming up against a forward line that has twice plundered seven goals this season (against Reading and Newcastle), Onuoha is full of appreciation for the talents of the Arsenal strikeforce.
“They’re not bad at all, are they?” he said. “I think the stats show that over the course of the season.”
Onuoha reserved special praise for the QPR supporters who were incredibly vociferous despite the club’s relegation from the top flight.
“They were just excellent,” he added. “In the second half we started to put Arsenal under a lot of pressure and the fans could see that and were right behind us.”