QPR 0 Arsenal 1 - Hanging on for the points
Report of match 4th May 2013
Theo's early goal earned us a very valuable three points.
It's going down to the wire - that's clear. We just have to keep winning and hope for the best.
Here's the report:
Theo Walcott struck his 20th goal of the season after 20 seconds as Arsenal beat relegated QPR to return to third place in the Barclays Premier League.
Arsenal's quickest Premier League goal and the swiftest of the season secured Arsene Wenger's side a straightforward win over hapless QPR, who are now without a goal in four games and six hours.
Loic Remy was denied by a fine Wojciech Szczesny save as the Gunners held on for a fifth successive away win saw to move two points clear of Chelsea, having played two games more, and Tottenham, who play at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Walcott, playing in the central role he has long coveted, troubled Rangers throughout and hit the post midway through the first half, but the visitors played well within themselves ahead of matches with relegation-threatened Wigan and Newcastle which will help decide whether they finish in the top four.
The build-up focused on the future of the respective managers as both Wenger and Harry Redknapp confirmed this week they would be staying put.
Frenchman Wenger dismissed suggestions of a departure to Paris St Germain, while Redknapp reaffirmed his commitment to Rangers, insisting he would be a npower Championship boss next term.
Wenger's immediate focus is guiding the Gunners - without Kieran Gibbs due to a slight thigh strain - into the Champions League and they began the match in fifth following Tottenham's win over Southampton.
Arsenal were seeking their first away win over QPR in the Premier League era and struck with the first attack.
Tomas Rosicky crossed towards Aaron Ramsey, who headed down to Mikel Arteta.
Arteta then threaded the ball through a static defence to Walcott, who had ghosted in behind and fired in a shot across goal and under Robert Green.
Walcott's 13th Premier League goal of the season was quicker than Van Persie's effort against Sunderland in October 2011 and the Dutchman's strike for Manchester United against West Ham last November.
The chances of QPR responding to claim a fifth win of the season did not appear good as Arsenal had surrendered just six points from winning positions this term and were one of two teams - alongside champions Manchester
United - not to have lost after taking the lead.
Arsenal's intricate play continued, but a QPR defence without the injured Christopher Samba and Jose Bosingwa - omitted from the squad a week after he was seen laughing at the end of the Reading draw - repelled their visitors' efforts.
QPR were also fashioning openings, but the final ball was often lacking as Arsenal survived and Rangers' wait for a goal extended into a sixth hour.
Walcott came close to his second when he breached the defence once more to latch on to a Rosicky pass and saw his shot turned on to the post by Green.
Bobby Zamora, back from suspension as one of four changes, then set-up QPR's best chance of the half, but Park Ji-sung blasted over and then saw another effort blocked.
Szczesny was kept on his toes for much of the first half, but rarely called into action, before holding Tal Ben Haim's long-range strike as QPR finally managed to put an effort on target.
Stephane Mbia fired over and Andros Townsend curled a free-kick wide as Arsenal allowed QPR opportunities.
Townsend was Rangers' most lively player and twice troubled Szczesny early in the second half.
The goalkeeper first had to stretch to claw away a cross before Townsend's 25-yard shot stung his hands.
Monreal was then booked for tugging back the on-loan Spurs winger, but the Gunners managed to deal with the limp threat from Rangers' nine other outfield players.
Shaun Derry, who replaced the ineffective Mbia at the interval, was booked for bringing down Rosicky, after 64 minutes as Arsenal pushed forward, but the Gunners rarely had to exert themselves.
Green parried clear a swerving Santi Cazorla drive from the left channel and then turned a Walcott shot around the post after the forward had wriggled around Ben Haim.
Arsenal continued to threaten and Clint Hill cut out Lukas Podolski's dangerous cross towards Walcott, who then shot straight at Green.
Seven minutes from time, QPR broke, with Zamora crossing for Remy, whose shot on the turn appeared destined for the far corner, only for Szczesny to save at full stretch.
That was as good as it got for QPR as Arsenal saw out victory.
|Competition: Barclays Premier League Kick Off: 17:30 Venue: Loftus Road Attendance: 18,178|
||0 - 1||Arsenal
|90+3||Fabio Da Silva replaces Armand Traore.|
|90+1||The referee blows for offside against Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Thomas Vermaelen on for Tomas Rosicky. Rob Green takes the indirect free kick.|
|87||Effort on goal by Bobby Zamora from long range goes harmlessly over the target. Jack Wilshere on for Santi Cazorla.|
|87||Aaron Ramsey takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Rob Green.|
|83||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Lukas Podolski. Loic Remy is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|82||Shot by Loic Remy. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny. Inswinging corner taken by Andros Townsend from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Nacho Monreal.|
|81||The assistant referee flags for offside against Theo Walcott. Rob Green takes the indirect free kick.|
|80||Andros Townsend crosses the ball.|
|79||Effort from 18 yards by Aaron Ramsey. Clint Hill gets a block in.|
|77||Jermaine Jenas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tomas Rosicky. Jermaine Jenas receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. (QPR) makes a substitution, with Adel Taarabt coming on for Ji-Sung Park.|
|76||Loic Remy is caught offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the indirect free kick.|
|76||Theo Walcott produces a drilled right-footed shot from 20 yards. Save made by Rob Green.|
|74||Santi Cazorla takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Clint Hill.|
|73||Free kick awarded for a foul by Ji-Sung Park on Santi Cazorla. Lukas Podolski shoots direct from the free kick, Nedum Onuoha gets a block in.|
|73||Lukas Podolski has a drilled shot. Nedum Onuoha gets a block in.|
|72||Unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey by Nedum Onuoha results in a free kick. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.|
|71||Volleyed right-footed shot by Theo Walcott. Blocked by Clint Hill.|
|70||Outswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla, Shaun Derry makes a clearance.|
|70||Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save made by Rob Green. Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott to the near post, clearance by Clint Hill.|
|67||Drilled left-footed shot by Santi Cazorla. Rob Green makes a save.|
|66||Santi Cazorla takes the inswinging corner, Unfair challenge on Rob Green by Lukas Podolski results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Rob Green.|
|64||Laurent Koscielny takes a shot. Save by Rob Green.|
|63||Tomas Rosicky fouled by Shaun Derry, the ref awards a free kick. Shaun Derry receives a caution. Free kick crossed right-footed by Theo Walcott, Tal Ben Haim manages to make a clearance.|
|60||Corner taken by Andros Townsend from the left by-line played to the near post, Nacho Monreal makes a clearance.|
|58||Foul by Nacho Monreal on Andros Townsend, free kick awarded. Nacho Monreal booked for unsporting behaviour. Andros Townsend crosses the ball in from the free kick, Per Mertesacker manages to make a clearance.|
|57||Lukas Podolski is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Rob Green.|
|55||Nedum Onuoha gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lukas Podolski. Lukas Podolski takes the free kick.|
|54||Loic Remy has a drilled shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|53||Drilled left-footed shot by Andros Townsend. Save by Wojciech Szczesny. Jermaine Jenas takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Laurent Koscielny gets a block in.|
|49||Ji-Sung Park takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a comfortable save.|
|47||Foul by Lukas Podolski on Clint Hill, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Rob Green.|
|45||Handball decision goes against Aaron Ramsey. Free kick crossed right-footed by Jermaine Jenas from left channel, Tomas Rosicky manages to make a clearance.|
|45||Shaun Derry is brought on as a substitute for Stephane Mbia.|
|44||Foul by Loic Remy on Nacho Monreal, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|41||Unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park by Bacary Sagna results in a free kick. Shot comes in from Andros Townsend from the free kick.|
|40||Theo Walcott fouled by Clint Hill, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Tomas Rosicky.|
|40||Shot from long distance by Stephane Mbia misses to the right of the goal.|
|38||Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott from the left by-line to the near post, save made by Rob Green.|
|37||Unfair challenge on Loic Remy by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Stephane Mbia restarts play with the free kick.|
|36||Drilled right-footed shot by Tal Ben Haim. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|34||The offside flag is raised against Loic Remy. Wojciech Szczesny takes the indirect free kick.|
|31||The referee gives a free kick against Lukas Podolski for handball. Rob Green takes the free kick.|
|30||Ji-Sung Park takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny. Corner taken left-footed by Andros Townsend, Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.|
|28||The assistant referee signals for offside against Theo Walcott. Rob Green takes the indirect free kick.|
|27||Shot from deep inside the area by Ji-Sung Park clears the crossbar.|
|25||Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Rob Green.|
|20||Effort from outside the box by Loic Remy goes wide right of the target.|
|18||Corner taken short by Theo Walcott.|
|18||Theo Walcott handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Armand Traore takes the direct free kick.|
|17||Andros Townsend takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny. The assistant referee flags for offside against Bobby Zamora. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|16||Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Clint Hill.|
|14||Santi Cazorla has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Clint Hill gets a block in.|
|11||Corner from the left by-line taken by Theo Walcott, comfortable save by Rob Green.|
|9||Foul by Lukas Podolski on Jermaine Jenas, free kick awarded. Armand Traore takes the free kick.|
|8||Bobby Zamora is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.|
|8||The assistant referee signals for offside against Lukas Podolski. Free kick taken by Clint Hill.|
|1||Stephane Mbia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta. Direct free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.|
|-||A goal is scored by Theo Walcott from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. QPR 0-1 Arsenal.The assist for the goal came from Mikel Arteta.|