On a day when rivals Manchester United and Chelsea succumbed to shocking home defeats to unfancied sides Blackburn and Aston Villa, Arsenal managed to secure all three points through a record-breaking strike from Van Persie against a stubborn QPR.

The 1-0 victory lifted Arsenal to fourth place and ensured that the Gunners ended 2011 on a good note while they will begin the new year in the top four once again and only nine points behind the league leaders.

Wenger made three big changes to his line-up today. Rosicky and Benayoun who had impressed in the draw against Wolves were withdrawn for a returning Walcott and Ramsey respectively while Gervinho lost his spot to Arshavin.

And it was the incoming Russian who set up the winning goal. After an hour of sheer frustration and with the match delicately tied at 0-0, Arshavin found Van Persie with a soft pass in the attacking third and the prolific Dutchman smashed home a low effort past QPR’s goalkeeper.

Van Persie’s 35th league goal of 2011 beat Thierry Henry’s previous club record of 34 in 2004, and sent the Dutchman only a goal shy of Alan Shearer’s all-time record in the Premier League.

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