Nice win to round up 2011, looking forward to a glorious 2012   Leave a comment


Arsenal ended 2011 in the top
four of the Premier League
thanks to a hard-fought 1-0
win over QPR at Emirates
Stadium on Saturday.
The crucial goal came on the hour
whenRobin van Persie swept
home a delightful through ball
fromAndrey Arshavin.
It was the Dutchman’s 35th
Premier League goal of the year –
one above the Arsenal record of
the watching Thierry Henry but
one short of Alan Shearer’s
competition best.
This afternoon, however, it was
enough.
Until Van Persie’s strike, this
looked like déjà vu all over again.
Like Wolves four days earlier,
QPR started well but they were
soon overrun by Arsenal, who
might have bagged the points by
half time.
They got their win but, in truth,
Wenger’s side were never
comfortable this afternoon
against another well-organised,
determined side fresh from the
Championship. However, while
Arsenal were seeing out this
vital, vital win, Chelsea were
letting in late goals to lose
against Aston Villa at Stamford
Bridge.
It all means Arsenal have a two-
point cushion in fourth.
A comfortable way to reach the
halfway point of the campaign.
There were three changes from
the side that was held to that
1-1 by Wolves.Theo Walcott had
recovered from illness while
Arshavin started his first
Premier League game for more
than a month.Gervinho and Yossi
Benayoun dropped to bench. The
other change saw Aaron Ramsey
return to central midfield at the
expense ofTomas Rosicky.
Due to injuries at full-back,
Arsenal had four centre halves
strung across their defence once
more. Just before kick-off, one
the Club’s greatest exponents in
that particular position – Tony
Adams – was presented to the
crowd. The former captain was
here to view the newly-unveiled
statue of him at the northern
end of the ground.
Adams had played in the last
fixture between the sides – a 6-0
Arsenal win at Loftus Road in the
FA Cup 10 years ago. QPR were
during well in the first foray into
the top-flight since then but
came into this game on a bad run.
Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat
at home to Blackburn had
finished around half an hour
before kick-off. It proved the
point Wenger had made pre-
match – that the Premier League
was in the middle of an
unpredictable spell.
And QPR fancied their chances in
the early exchanges this
afternoon. In the opening
minutes, Adel Taarabt prodded
Shaun Wright-Phillips through on
the left of the area.Wojciech
Szczesny raced out to make a
fine block. Before that the Pole
had saved a long-range effort
from Jay Bothroyd.
It took Arsenal a full 15 minutes
to muster an attacking
opportunity. Van Persie turned
Matthew Connolly inside out on
the right before flicking a shot
across goal. Radek Cerny
gathered with ease.
The keeper was more concerned
when the Dutchman met
Ramsey’s left-wing cross with a
backpeddling header shortly
afterwards. Unfortunately for
Arsenal, it drifted wide.
Djourou danced through a couple
of tackles in midfield before
finding Van Persie on the left of
the area. The captain muscled
past Luke Young, but in dinking
his effort over Cerny, he also
lifted the ball over the bar.
Arsenal had taken the tempo to
a different level now. Walcott
wastefully fired wide after
Laurent Koscielny won Van
Persie’s free-kick in the air.
Then, on the half-hour, the
Dutchman did wonderfully well to
get round the other side of
Connolly and collect Vermaelen’s
curling through ball. However, he
cracked his effort over the bar.
Arsenal had a claim for a penalty
when Koscielny met Van Persie’s
corner with a fierce drive. It
certainly cannoned off the arms
of the flying Young but it had
been hit with pace and the QPR
defender was only a couple of
yards away when the ball was
struck.
Three minutes from half–time,
Arteta was convinced his left-
wing cross had brushed the arm
of Barton en route to the box.
Given the QPR captain was much
further away than Young,
Arsenal probably had more of a
case.

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Posted December 31, 2011 by arsenalwonder in Uncategorized

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