Arsenal proved they would fight for a Champions League slot all the way with Saturday’s victory at Loftus road. The victory over Queens Park Rangers means they’ve taken 20 points from a possible 24 since losing at Tottenham in March.
It was not the best game of football considering the time of the season, though the Gunners took their lead just 20 seconds into the game.
A Theo Walcott opener in the first 20 second of the game made the record of the fastest goal of the 2012/13 season, with the remaining part of the game set for a mediocre performance. They could have had one more goal towards the end but lacked the finishing touch.
Equally, though, they were indebted to Wojciech Szczesny on several occasions, most notably on the 84th minute when he made an excellent diving save to turn away Loic Remy’s powerful driven shot from 20 yards.
For QPR, they stood to lose nothing after they already lost their relegation battle a week ago and, as such, largely successful, even if they had not conceded that way too early into the game.
Only Armand Traore had managed to have his feet on the ball for Rangers before they were a goal down.
Per Mertesacker sent a speculative long ball that was headed down to Thomas Rosicky. His sprint and cut back was nodded down by Aaron Ramsey from Mikel Arteta, whose poise was superb as he took a touch, aimed to shoot but then played in Walcott. A clean through pass that had Walcott at close range with Rangers goalkeeper Rob Green, the Englishman simply pulled the ball past the goalkeeper for his 20th goal of the season.
It seemed as though it was going to be QPR final humiliation but as it was, thereafter, they had their own. But with Arsenal’s style of football, the home team had to settle back and admire the passing game at times. But slowly took control of the midfield through Jermaine Jenas and Stephanie Mbia. Andre Townsend, who was on loan from Tottenham, proved his worth as he persistently became a thorn in Nacho Monreal’s flesh.
Arsenal had another chance in the 27th minute when Theo Walcott dragged the ball to create space after a lovely pass from Thomas Rosicky for his well- struck shot to be deflected by Green on to the post. But Rosicky’s follow- up amounted to nothing as he failed to turn the ball into an unguarded net.
But despite that, QPR were growing in confidence and competence. A neat touch from Townsend played in Ji- sung Park but the South Korean shot over in the 28th minute. In the 31st minute, Townsend’s cross to Bobby Zamora was tapped to Park, only for his shot to be deflected wide this time around.
Tal Ben Haim drove into Szczesny’s hands in the 37th minute before Townsend curled a free- kick just wide in the 43rd minute. It was not an interesting half but credit must be given to both teams for putting up a show.
Townsend produced yet another great run in the 49th minute, sending in a deep cross goal wards that required Szczesny to stretch out a hand and divert the ball away.
Walcott had another chance in the 50th minute when Rosicky again fed him to sprint away towards goal, but his first touch allowed Green to collect the ball.
Townsend tested Szczesny again in the 53rd minute with a well driven shot that the Polish keeper had to put away and Monreal was so amazed by the right- winger’s performance that he had to prompt a yellow card in the 58th minute for pulling him back.
Arsenal finally had a purposeful attempt at goal in the 65th minute, when Santi Carzola drove forward and shot from 25 yards out, for Green to parry the shot away, with Clint Hill required head away clear of goal.
Walcott then wrestled his way clear of Ben Haim in the 71st minute and struck a fierce low shot that Green had to push away smartly.
In the 75th minute, Podolski drove a free- kick into the defensive wall, for Hill to hack away a low and dangerous Podolski cross later on.
Walcott then hit a swerving shot from 20 yards in the76th minute for Green to calmly collect the ball; it was however Arsenal’s best moments in the game, to have gone two goals up.