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18:00 31st December 2011
By  @OfficialQPR


Robin van Persie's 60th-minute strike was enough to hand Arsenal victory, despite a brave QPR showing at the Emirates Stadium. 

The Dutch hot-shot was on target with his 17th Barclays Premier League goal of the season, on an afternoon when the R's far from disgraced themselves in North London. 

Both sides enjoyed chances to lead but it was van Persie who took the initiative 15 minutes after the half-time break, following Aaron Ramsey's sublime through pass. 

Further chances arrived at either end - but it was van Persie's solitary strike that ultimately proved decisive. 

R's boss Neil Warnock made some five changes to his R's side for the trip across the capital, following Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at Swansea City.

Paddy Kenny missed out owing to a knock picked up in training yesterday (Friday), while Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and Heidar Helguson dropped to the bench. Fitz Hall sat out altogether. 

That meant Radek Cerny, Danny Gabbidon, Jay Bothroyd, Matt Connolly and Shaun Wright-Phillips deputised for Rangers.

Cerny was in goal for the R's, who stuck with a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Luke Young, Gabbidon, Connolly and Armand Traore made up QPR's back four. Captain Joey Barton and Ale Faurlin were deployed in defensive midfield, behind the more advanced trio of Jamie Mackie, Adel Taarabt and Wright-Phillips. 

Bothroyd spearheaded Rangers' attack. 

The R's made a positive a start and appeared to be far from overawed by the calibre of their hosts - the North London giants just a point off the top four prior to kick-off. 

In fact, it was QPR who were first to test their opposing keeper on nine minutes. 

Bothroyd did well to control Young's high ball, before the former Gunners front-man rode two challenges to blast a low drive straight at Wojciech Szczesny. 

Two minutes later, Rangers again when close. 

It was a moment of magic from Taarabt, who showed tremendous vision to pick out Wright-Phillips on the left-hand side of the box, before the diminutive wide-man forced an excellent point-blank block from Szczesny. 

The Gunners mustered their first opportunity on 16 minutes. van Persie twisted and turned Connolly down the right, before seeing his fizzed drive across goal gobbled up by Cerny. 

But the R's were soon back on the attack. Taarabt dispossessed Andrey Arshavin before the ball eventually found Barton on 25 yards, who dragged a shot well wide of the left-hand post. 

The natives were starting to grow restless but Arsenal, in truth, improved as the half wore on. 

Van Persie was unlucky not to do better with a header on 24 minutes, after Ramsey's pinpoint cross deep from the left picked out the unmarked Dutch forward at the back post. 

And just a minute later, the Premier League's top scorer spurned another chance, brushing aside Young before smashing an effort over the onrushing Cerny - and the bar - from six-yards out. 

Van Persie was now beginning to have much more of a say in this contest. 

His free-kick from deep sparked confusion in the R's ranks and when Cerny was unable to come and claim, Theo Walcott could only drag an effort wide of the target. 

The Gunners were now on top, going close once again on 30 minutes. Van Persie - now Arsenal's tormentor-in-chief - muscled his way past Connolly following a ball over the top of the QPR defence, before firing his shot over the bar from 20 yards.

Two minutes before the break, Arsenal went their closest yet. 

Van Persie's corner eventually fell into the path of Mikel Arteta on the edge of the box, before the Spaniard's subsequent effort was headed off the line by Barton. 

Arteta was again involved on the stroke of half-time, with his blast from distance forcing a smart two-fisted clearance from Cerny. 

The Gunners were undoubtedly the stronger force come the end of the first half - but it was Rangers who should have done better with a great opportunity shortly after the interval. 

A fine passing move from the R's ended in Traore feeding Bothroyd down the left before his cross was blocked by Szczesny into the path of Faurlin on 18 yards, whose tame drive was comfortably collected by the Arsenal custodian. 

Soon after, the home side missed an even better chance to opening to scoring. 

Ramsey's pass put Walcott in the clear and, when the England attacker strode towards the edge of the box, he could only slide a low effort agonisingly wide of the target. 

The first goal of the afternoon finally arrived on 60 minutes. 

Wright-Phillips' misplaced pass fell to Ramsey midway into the Arsenal half and, when the Welsh midfielder guided a fantastic ball past Connolly into the path of van Persie, he made no mistake from ten yards to slide the home side in front. 

Despite falling behind, the R's didn't despond. Indeed, Taarabt was unfortunate not to do better when he cut in from the left to force a wonderful fingertip save by Szczesny, with an effort from 25 yards. 

And Rangers soon went close again. Gabbidon's flick-on from a Taarabt corner fell into the path of Connolly, who could only a lash an effort over from 12-yards out. 

Arsenal had chances of their own to double the advantage. 

Ramsey flashed a shot just over the bar following a counter attack. Substitute Gervinho, meanwhile, should have done better with an effort shortly after his arrival, smashing van Persie's cross wide of the right-hand post from close range. 

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