Arsenal one up on QPR
Written By: Robert Halter
Yet to register a win in the Premier League, rock bottom club Queens Park Rangers made the short trip across London to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium end of October with the Gunners reeling from two consecutive defeats a 1-0 loss away at Norwich City in the Premiership followed by a 2-0 defeat at home to German outfit FC Schalke 04 in the UEFA Champions League. Arsenal were boosted by the long awaited return of Jack Wilshere to the starting line up and the comeback of Bacary Sagna while the R’s Armand Traore faced his former club. On eight minutes Stephane Mbia was close to steering the ball into his own net from an Andre Santos cross while Olivier Giroud was unable to follow up the rebound. Two minutes later the Gunners went close with an Aaron Ramsey header that struck the top of the Hoops crossbar from Sagna’s right wing cross. In the nineteenth minute, Santi Cazorla combined with Wilshere, whose low strike from outside the area, brushed the finger tips of Julio Cesar as the ball broke clear in the penalty box. On the half hour mark a low stinging strike by Giroud on the left flank forced Cesar into a full length dive as the R’s shot stopper averted the danger. On fifty one minutes a foul by Esteban Granero on Andre Santos presented Mikel Arteta with a free kick which was floated in to the box and met by a header from Per Mertesacker which brushed the shoulder of Bobby Zamora as Cesar produced an instinctive save on his goal line. Another Gunners player made a return as Theo Walcott replaced Wilshere midway through the second half. In another substitution Gervinho took over from Lukas Podolski while the Hoops brought on Djibril Cisse for Zamora and Nedum Onuoha came on for Traore. When Cazorla blasted over the bar with twelve minutes of normal time remaining, Arsenal edged closer after Cisse had handed the ball on a plate for Cazorla from Walcott’s cross in. As the R’s Jamie Mackie took over from Shaun Wright-Phillips, they were soon reduced to ten men after Mbia was given a straight red card for kicking out at Thomas Vermaelen. A pin point save by Cesar kept out a deflection off his own player as Mackie cannoned the ball against Onuoha from a Cazorla corner. With time running out for Arsenal, the introduction of Andrey Arshavin for Gervinho resulted in a Gunners goal when Arshavin crossed over for Giroud whose header was saved by Cesar and when Ramsey tried to scramble the ball in, Arteta’s header rebounded off the bar and then from close range Arteta got the all important touch to force the ball over the line and break the deadlock in the eighty fourth minute. Three minutes later a low drive by Ramsey at distance produced another save from Cesar and he was soon back to his best again as Cesar kept out Cazorla’s strike from Ramsey’s ball in. But at the death, Granero missed a great chance to level the score after Adel Taarabt’s ball over the top had opened up the Arsenal defence. The R’s went even closer in stoppage time as Mackie ran past Arteta, Santos and then Vermaelen before being stopped in the final furlong by Vito Mannone’s block. Rangers saved the best for last as Granero’s free kick was pushed behind by Mannone following a foul by Sagna on Onuoha but it was too late in the game to make a difference as the Gunners registered a 1-0 victory.