Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League and welcomed back Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere as they beat QPR 1-0.
The first half was pretty quiet, Arsenal started quite well and dominated the ball in the early part of the game. An Andre Santos cross in the 9th minute almost presented a chance to Olivier Giroud but Julio Cesar hooked the ball clear before the Frenchman could react.
Wilshere and Sagna then combined to create a half chance for Aaron Ramsey, but the Welshman’s smart header looped onto the top of the bar. Podolski then shot from distance but it was always going wide.
Santi Cazorla was the next to combine with Wilshere, and the Englishman got the edge of the QPR before firing in a shot which Cesar parried away and collected before the Spaniard could tuck home the rebound.
Olivier Giroud was next to have a go, smashing a low shot from side of the area, the angle was tight but it was on target and forced Cesar into a save before QPR hacked it clear.
Almost everything good Arsenal did came through Wilshere and he was involved again in a move which saw Andre Santos shoot with his right foot from the corner of the QPR area, again Cesar dealt with it easily enough.
QPR had good spells of possession as Arsenal struggled to find their real rhythm but Mannone wasn’t tested anywhere near as often as his opposite number and Arsenal defended well to deny them goalscoring opportunities or the chance to shoot from distance.
Arsenal dominated the second half, but took a while to really start troubling the QPR defence. An early Mertesacker header from an Arteta free kick was well saved by Julio Cesar, the Brazilian picking up where he left off in the first half and he would go on to frustrate Arsenal time and again.
It got a bit scrappy and Arsenal did have to defend – Bacary Sagna making a vital tackle on Shaun Wright Phillips after Vermaelen was caught out of position.
Arsene Wenger replaced Wilshere with Walcott and Podolski with Gervinho (the Ivorian picked up a quick injury and was himself replaced by Arshavin), and Arsenal began to create chances.
Santi Cazorla should have put Arsenal ahead in the 76th minute, but with the goal at his mercy he fired over the bar from the penalty spot. It looked like it would be a very costly miss as Cesar made a string of impressive saves, and the visitors were then reduced to 10 men after Mbia’s petulant kick at Vermaelen.
Eventually though the goal came. Andrei Arshavin’s cross was headed firmly on target by Olivier Giroud, again Cesar made an outstanding save, Mikel Areteta headed the rebound onto the crossbar and when it fell to his feet he poked it in to make it 1-0. There was a hint of offside but, you know, who cares?
There was late danger when Jamie Mackie ran through the Arsenal defence, over some challenges, into the box and only a good stop by Vito Mannone prevented the visitors equalising.
In the end, however, Arsenal hung on through 5 minutes of injury time to take three points they probably deserved.
And Mark Hughes is sad but Mark Hughes is a cunt so fuck Mark Hughes. It makes for a better weekend folks, even if it wasn’t convincing, so enjoy it!