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Live Commentary: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Arsenal - as it happened

Take a look back on how Arsenal claimed a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
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Arsenal continued their fine form in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

After struggling to cause problems for the hosts in the opening 45 minutes, Arsenal took control in the second half thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez.

Charlie Austin pulled a goal back to set up a dramatic finish, but Arsenal held on to remain third ahead of their rivals for Champions League qualification.

Read below to find out how the action unfolded.


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Good evening everyone! The treat of midweek Premier League football continues tonight as Arsenal make the trip to Loftus Road to take on Queens Park Rangers. Arsenal are on a good run in the league, but can relegation-threatened QPR cause a shock tonight?

There's not many teams in better form than Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's side have won six of their last seven league games, with only that damaging Champions League defeat to Monaco halting their progress in recent weeks. In the Premier League, they currently sit third, and the Gunners could put more pressure on second-placed Manchester City tonight.

It's a very different story at the other end of the table. Aston Villa's win last night means that QPR have slipped back into the relegation zone, and only a win will take them out of the bottom three tonight. They've lost five of their last six games, so Chris Ramsey needs to produce a response soon. A positive result tonight could be a key moment in their season.

QPR: Green, Furlong, Caulker, Onuoha, Suk-Young, Phillips, Sandro, Henry, Hoilett, Austin, Zamora

SUBS: McCarthy, Hill, Wright-Phillips, Isla, Kranjcar, Zarate, Vargas


Good news for QPR fans as Sandro makes his first appearance since November to replace the suspended Joey Barton in the centre of midfield. Nedum Onuoha is back from a hamstring problem to partner Steven Caulker at the back, while there is also a recall for Junior Hoilett.

ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Rosicky, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud

SUBS: Martinez, Koscielny, Chambers, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Welbeck


There's a change in defence for the Gunners as Per Mertesacker replaces Laurent Koscielny to partner Gabriel. Francis Coquelin starts despite fracturing a bone in his nose against Everton, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drops to the bench to make way for Tomas Rosicky. Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott are all on the bench.


Will a break help QPR tonight? Tottenham Hotspur's involvement in the Capital One Cup final handed Ramsey's men the weekend off, and presumably allowed the coaching staff to prepare more thoroughly for this test. They've stuck with playing two up front in Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the hosts adopt more of a direct approach tonight.

Austin has been the star man so often for QPR this season, but it could be in midfield where the battle is won tonight. The return of Sandro is important for the hosts, who must find a way of stopping the creative quartet of Rosicky, Sanchez, Cazorla and Ozil. Sandro and Henry will be aggressive, and they simply cannot afford to offer too much space to the visitors tonight.


Arsenal may be firm favourites tonight, but Welbeck is fully aware how tough this meeting with QPR will be, and he expects the hosts to be positive as they continue their fight to avoid the drop.

"QPR are going to come out at us and try to get the points that they need to stay in the Premier League but we're still third in the Premier League and that's something we want to build on to get further up," the forward told Arsenal's website.


A quick reminder that you can follow live text coverage of all seven Premier League games tonight on Sports Mole. All you need to do is click on the fixture in the live scores box to keep updated.

Arsenal have won their previous three meetings with QPR, but the home fans can take confidence from their side's record in the fixture at Loftus Road. The Gunners have found it tough in West London, winning just one of their last seven away league games against QPR.


When these two sides last met in December, Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky were the heroes as Arsenal held on for a 2-1 victory after Olivier Giroud had been sent off.

Queens Park Rangers' English defender Nedum Onuoha goes down after a confrontation with Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud in front of referee Martin Atkinson (C) after which Giroud is sent off during the English Premier League football match between© Getty Images


PREDICTION: QPR need to start picking up wins as soon as possible, but this promises to be a tough night for the hosts. I'm expecting an impressive fight from Ramsey's side. However, a 2-1 victory for Arsenal is my prediction.


QPR, Burnley and Leicester are all in action against top-six sides tonight. It's not necessarily an evening when the bottom three clubs will be expected to pick up points, but a positive result for one of them could quickly raise their hopes in the bid to beat the drop. Can it be QPR who jump out of the relegation zone again?


Here we go then. Per Mertesacker and Bobby Zamora lead the two sides out at Loftus Road. We're just a few minutes away from kickoff!

QPR will get the game underway...

Quiet start to the match at Loftus Road, with neither side able to control possession in the early stages. QPR have already sent one long ball forward to Zamora.

Good early signs for QPR as Phillips goes past Gibbs on the wing, but his cross is poor with Austin and Zamora waiting in the box.

Coquelin isn't known for his driving runs forward, but he does well to create space with Giroud before being caught offside. Austin then sees a low effort blocked at the other end.

Austin is looking very lively in the early stages, but Arsenal are doing a good job of limiting the space on offer. He'll surely be key tonight.

Bellerin is gifted the room to sprint forward on the right wing, but much like Phillips earlier, his cross is poor as a promising attack breaks down.

Good goalkeeping from Ospina. Hoilett gets involved in the game for the first time with a couple of tricks before delivering a low cross which is well held by Ospina.

Excellent football on show from Austin as he collects a high ball before turning to fire a shot straight at Ospina from 20 yards.

Coquelin has gone with the part-time superhero look tonight.


Coquelin is furious with a tackle from Sandro, but in truth, there wasn't much wrong with the challenge. It's a free kick to Arsenal as the referee steps in to calm both players down.

Furlong may be inexperienced, but he looks very comfortable at this level. He gets forward to find space on the wing, and only some good goalkeeping from Ospina prevents Austin from connecting with his cross.

There hasn't been many chances yet, but Ospina has been busy. He's forced to punch clear another cross as the lively Furlong continues to get involved on the wing. Yun's deflected strike is then easily held by the goalkeeper.

Ramsey will be very happy with how his side have started this game, but he'll be eager to see QPR make better use of the possession they are enjoying in the final third. Arsenal are in for a battle tonight. The first goal could be crucial.

CHANCE! Great move from the hosts as Zamora holds off a couple of challenges before teeing up Austin, whose half-volley from the edge of the box is kept out by Ospina. Impressive from the hosts.

SAVE! Better from Arsenal as Giroud finally gets involved in the game to sprint into the box before forcing Green into a low stop.

That Giroud strike is just a sign that this game can change very quickly. QPR have certainly been the better of the two sides, but they need to capitalise while they are on top.

Henry delivers a superb ball into the path of Austin to release the striker. It looks like the forward is being played on by Bellerin, but the assistant referee disagrees.

Phillips is enjoying a run in the side under Ramsey, and he's looked lively once again tonight as he wins the hosts a corner which is cleared away by Arsenal. The Gunners have been sloppy in possession, and they don't look comfortable at the back.

Arsenal are just beginning to look a bit more relaxed on the ball. A dangerous cross from Gibbs is cleared at the front post, but the Gunners retain possession well. They need to get Sanchez and Ozil involved more often.

YELLOW CARD! Henry and Bellerin have both picked up yellow cards for late tackles in the last couple of minutes.

A low cross from Phillips threatens to turn into a shot from the right, but Ospina is able to get a vital hand on the ball as another promising move breaks down.

SUBSTITUTION: Gabriel has picked up a knock and he's forced off before the break. Laurent Koscielny is his replacement.

CLOSE! What an effort from Austin. A clever piece of skill earns him space 25 yards from goal and his swerving half-volley drifts a few inches wide of the post. Roy Hodgson is in the crowd. He'll be keeping a close eye on the striker.

Arsenal enjoy a spell on top with a couple of corners, but QPR twice do well to clear the danger. Onuoha and Caulker clashed while attempting to head the ball away, and the former needs treatment for a cut just below the eye.

SAVE! Much better from Arsenal. A clever piece of build-up play ends with Cazorla connecting with a volley in the box, but Green reacts well to make the save.

SUBSTITUTION: Bad news for the hosts. The cut to Onuoha is obviously worse than first feared and Clint Hill is on to join Caulker in defence.

The fourth official confirms that there will be three minutes added on.

HALF TIME: QPR 0-0 ARSENAL

Arsenal finished the first half strongly, but neither side were able to make a breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes. QPR have looked the more threatening, despite allowing the Gunners to come back into the game before the break. The first goal is going to be huge.

Arsenal were starting to find their rhythm before the interval, but surprisingly, they've lacked a cutting edge. We've seen very little of Sanchez. That will be a concern for Wenger, but QPR will be expecting the Chilean to make an impact at some stage.

BENCH WATCH: Both managers have already been forced into changes, so I'm sure they'll be reluctant to turn to their bench again too quickly. QPR have the likes of Mauro Zarate, Eduardo Vargas and Niko Kranjcar in reserve if they want to change their approach, but Zamora and Austin have done pretty well. Welbeck, Ramsey, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all options for the Gunners.


Arsenal will get the game back underway.

Arsenal are looking to get onto the front foot immediately. Their first-half display simply wasn't good enough, but they've started brightly.

Excellent work from Rosicky as he finds the space to deliver a cross which is just too strong for Ozil, who complains that he was pulled back. Sanchez then finds the space to cut inside and unleash a low shot to force Green into a decent save.

Arsenal are on top now, and it's no surprise to see Sanchez making an impact. A clever pass sets up Ozil, whose low effort creeps just past the post, before Caulker is forced into a vital clearance after Sanchez had combined with Giroud.

QPR are struggling to get Austin involved as much as they were in the first half as Hoilett's hopeful cross into the box takes a deflection to give Ospina an easy catch.

Arsenal are dictating the tempo of the game, but they must improve the quality of their end product. Bellerin slices a cross onto the roof of the net to the frustration of his teammates. This game needs a goal.

SUBSTITUTION: Ramsey makes his second change of the night as Kranjcar comes on to replace Sandro, who did pretty well on his first appearance since November.

Lovely football from Sanchez as he cuts past a couple of defender before firing an effort just past the post. The Chilean is starting to make an impact. Will he be the match winner?

CLOSE! Phillips is inches away from breaking the deadlock with a half-volley which drifts just wide. Ospina was at full stretch, but I don't think he would have got to that had it been on target.

Can that Phillips effort get QPR back on track? Arsenal have dominated possession for much of the second half, but crucially for QPR, they're still level. With Burnley and Leicester both losing, it could be a very important night for the hosts.

GOAL! QPR 0-1 ARSENAL (GIROUD)

Moments after Rosicky had tested Green, Arsenal take the lead. Sanchez leads the attack before picking out Gibbs on the wing. His cross is blocked, but Giroud reacts quickest to fire home.

SAVE! Green keeps QPR in the match with a fine save after Sanchez had targeted the far corner with a low effort.

SAVE! Superb goalkeeping. Green has been excellent all season, and he makes another vital contribution to get a strong hand on the ball after Sanchez had sprinted clear of the QPR defence. The Gunners are in complete control now.

GOAL! QPR 0-2 ARSENAL (SANCHEZ)

He couldn't get involved in the first half, but Sanchez is playing a key role in another Arsenal win. The Chilean scores his first goal in seven games by cutting in from the left before picking out the bottom corner with a powerful finish.

It's going to be very difficult for QPR to get back in this game. They've paid the price for not creating more chances while on top in the first half. Arsenal are refusing to take a step backwards now and there could be more goals late on.

SUBSTITUTION: Hoilett has really struggled to make an impact in the second half and Isla is off the bench as his replacement.

SAVE! Bellerin pulls the ball back for Rosicky, whose effort is blocked. Ozil picks up the loose ball before evading a couple of challenges to force Green into another fine save.

QPR are finally starting to see a bit more of the ball, but Arsenal look much more comfortable at the back. It's difficult to see how the hosts can set up a dramatic finish. Austin has been unable to get involved since the break.

GOAL! QPR 1-2 ARSENAL (AUSTIN)

Well, you can shut me up. QPR weren't looking dangerous, Austin hadn't been involved for a long spell, but the hosts are back in this game. It's a stunning strike from Austin as he turns into space on the edge of the box before beating a helpless Ospina.

Can QPR find a late equaliser? They need to get the ball back first. Arsenal are attempting to take the sting out of the game with a long spell of possession.

SUBSTITUTION: Arsenal make another change as Aaron Ramsey comes on to replace Rosicky.

QPR are pushing the visitors back late on, but Arsenal are clearing everything at the moment. Mertesacker, in particular, is playing a key role. Time is running out for the hosts.

There will be four minutes added on at Loftus Road. Will there be a late twist?

QPR are launching long balls forward, but nothing will stick. Arsenal deserve credit for the way they've defended since Austin's goal. It looks like they will hold on for all three points.

SUBSTITUTION: Wenger wastes a bit of time by sending on Welbeck to replace Ozil.

FULL TIME: QPR 1-2 ARSENAL

It's disappointment for QPR as Arsenal collect all three points thanks to an improved second-half display. QPR remain in the relegation zone, while Arsenal hold onto third spot.

That's all from me tonight. I hope you've enjoyed the coverage tonight. Make sure you keep an eye out for analysis and ratings from every one of tonight's Premier League games. Goodnight.

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Rio Ferdinand of QPR tackles Danny Welbeck of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers at Emirates Stadium on December 26, 2014
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