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Match Analysis: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Arsenal

Sports Mole takes a look at the key talking points from Arsenal's 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Queens Park Rangers missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone as Arsenal claimed a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road this evening.

Second-half goals from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez secured the points for the Gunners, who were forced to survive long spells of pressure late on after Charlie Austin had reduced the deficit.

Below, Sports Mole takes a look at the key points from the London derby.

Match statistics

Shots: 10
On target: 3
Possession: 43%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 10

Shots: 20
On target: 9
Possession: 57%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 8

Was the result fair?

Yes, but it certainly wasn't a straightforward win for the Gunners. QPR were the better side for long spells of the first half, and perhaps only a lack of creativity from the hosts prevented them from taking a lead into the half-time interval. Arsenal were disappointing until they returned for the second half, and Arsene Wenger's side quickly looked like the team that have been so impressive in the Premier League in recent weeks. The difference between the creative players on each side was clear in the second half as the visitors did just enough to take home all three points.

QPR's performance

Chris Ramsey will certainly be frustrated with the result, but he will find it difficult to criticise his players. QPR started the match so promisingly, and they looked comfortable all over the pitch as Arsenal struggled to find their own rhythm. Bobby Zamora and Austin were linking up well as the latter further enhanced his reputation with another fine display.

However, QPR struggled to turn comfortable possession into chances, and failing to take the lead while on top came back to haunt them as the inevitable improvement from Arsenal arrived after the break. When the likes of Sanchez and Santi Cazorla started to get on the ball more often, QPR were unable to respond. The home fans will be proud of the performance, but it's another damaging defeat in their bid to avoid relegation.

Arsenal's performance

The first-half performance is something the squad and supporters will want to forget very quickly. Arsenal looked sluggish in attack as Sanchez, Cazorla and Mesut Ozil all failed to find the space they crave while QPR were on top. The aggressive Sandro and Karl Henry were dominating in midfield and the visiting defence looked to be struggling to cope with the movement of Austin.

Reaching the half-time interval level was crucial for the Gunners. The defence quickly improved thanks largely to a fine display from Per Mertesacker, and that provided the platform for an improved performance. Sanchez was suddenly the most dangerous player on the pitch, and he played a key role in the opener before scoring what proved to be the winner. Wenger's side found it easier to control the game after breaking the deadlock, and despite opening the door to QPR late on, Arsenal battled impressively in the closing stages to secure the win. It's not a surprise to see the Gunners finding momentum at this stage of the campaign, and they may have an eye on Manchester City, rather than simply settling for third or fourth place.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Francis Coquelin: Sanchez made the difference and Mertesacker answered a few critics with his performance, but Coquelin caught the eye once again. The Frenchman looks a completely different player to the one who had been shipped out on loan a number of occasions. He continued his excellent form with a performance full of vital tackles and interceptions. Coquelin was up for the fight when it was required, but he showed good composure in a congested midfield, too.

Biggest gaffe

A couple of vital contributions from Sanchez helped Arsenal to the win at Loftus Road, but the Chilean was guilty of wasting a golden chance when he sprinted clear before delaying what looked to be a simple finish to allow Robert Green to make the save.

Referee performance

Kevin Friend avoided any moments of controversy with a solid refereeing display. He will be happy not to be in the spotlight following a difficult few weeks for some of his colleagues.

What next?

QPR: Ramsey's side play their game in hand against Tottenham Hotspur at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon.

Arsenal: The Gunners turn their attention to the FA Cup when they meet Manchester United in the last eight on Monday night.

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Did you know...?
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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