Arsenal did just enough to get back to winning ways as a scrappy but precious goal from Mikel Arteta secured a difficult victory in the nick of time on Saturday.
Prior to that late goal, it had been a deja vu of the Schalke affair on Wednesday. Wenger’s men were once again uninspired in attack and their opponents’ ability to counter attack meant the two teams had canceled each other out up until the last ten minutes when QPR were reduced to ten men after a silly Mbia offense on Vermaelen.
The onus was now on Arsenal who had forced desperate saves from Julio Cesar while Cazorla had squandered a chance from no man’s land. But substitute Gervinho was withdrawn on the stretcher through injury and his replacement Andrey Arshavin had a vital contribution.
The Russian found Giroud with a cross and despite Cesar’s save from the Frenchman’s powerful header, QPR failed to clear their lines and so Arteta battled his way to place the ball home.
As the clock ticked in the late stages, the hosts looked to add some comfort to their lead as substitute Theo Walcott helped the chase for a second goal. A curling Cazorla effort was denied but Mark Hughes’ men also had a rattling fightback in them. Indeed, the Gunners had their backs against the wall as QPR’S ten men staged a tense finale, finding two unsuccessful one-on-one chances with Mannone.
Arsenal did hold their nerves for the final whistle and even though the performance was indifferent, there was a big difference in the numbers as Wenger’s men climbed all the way from 9th to 4th on the table. Also, with today’s clean-sheet, the Gunners boast the Premier League’s best defense in terms of goals conceded.