Arsenal 1-0 QPR – Match Review
Consecutive defeats to Norwich and Schalke set the tone for the clubs annual general meeting on Thursday that saw supporters question the Gunners hierarchy over their ambitions for the future.
But that was all forgotten as Arteta poked home six minutes from time to break the resistance of Mark Hughes’ well drilled Rangers side, who had Stephen M’Bia sent off in the second half, and propel the hosts in the top four.
Much of the pre-game discussion centred around Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in the starting lineup and he played 67 minutes on his first start in 17 months after his comeback from injury.
Wilshere’s first touch was greeted with cheers by the home support and he stung the palms of Julio Cesar with a fierce 20-yard drive just after Aaron Ramsey had looped a header over the bar.
The visitors posed a significant threat down the right side, with the pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jose Boswinga giving full back Andre Santos a difficult afternoon, but they failed to fully test Vito Mannone during the first half.
Opposite number Cesar was the far busier of the goalkeepers, pulling off a number of fine saves to maintain parity for his side frustrate the Gunners.
Ultimately the turning point in the match came when M’Bia was shown a second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining after stupidly kicking out at Thomas Vermaelen. QPR unravelled after that and Arteta took advantage to stab the ball home from close range after hitting the bar to break the deadlock.
Esteban Granero and Jamie Mackie spurned two excellent chances to bring the R’s level in injury time as they made it nine games without a Premier League win this season.