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17:07 31st March 2012
By  @OfficialQPR


Rangers boosted their survival hopes with a magnificent 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Loftus Road. 

Goals from Adel Taarabt - his first of the Barclays Premier League campaign - and Samba Diakite won it for Mark Hughes's charges, with a Theo Walcott equaliser sandwiched in between. 

Taarabt opened the scoring in this pulsating affair with an outstanding individual effort in the 22nd minute, before Walcott replied for the visitors eight minutes before half-time. 

The R's had to withstand large spells of pressure throughout, but Hughes's men held firm and were eventually rewarded to record an excellent victory. 

Jamie Mackie benefited from a Thomas Vermaelen slip on 66 minutes before feeding Diakite, who made no mistake from ten yards to win it for the Hoops. 

Djibril Cisse's four-match ban paved the way for skipper Joey Barton to return to the starting XI, as Rangers reverted to a 4-5-1 formation. 

Clint Hill, meanwhile, came back into the side at the expense of Luke Young. 

Paddy Kenny was in goal for Rangers, behind a back four of Nedum Onuoha, Anton Ferdinand, Hill and Taye Taiwo. Barton, Shaun Derry and Diakite made up a three-man central midfield for QPR. 

Mackie and Taarabt started wide of the main striker, Bobby Zamora, in attack. 

There was little in the way of clear-cut opportunities inside the opening ten minutes. 

Rangers looked bright going forward, although visitors Arsenal who were probably on top in terms of possession. 

It was the Gunners who yielded the first opportunity of the contest - that after Robin van Persie saw a low drive gobbled up at the second attempt by Kenny. 

The R's grew in confidence as the half wore on, and it was the hosts who fashioned their first attempt on 11 minutes, after Hill's deflected header went just past the upright. 

Three minutes later, the Loftus Road faithful were again off their seats. 

Taarabt played architect once more, seeing his out-swinging free-kick headed over by an unmarked Zamora. 

And the former Fulham man was soon in the thick of the action once again, seeing a tame drive comfortably held by Wojciech Szczesny. 

It really had been an encouraging start from QPR. Maybe it was duly warranted, therefore, when the home side led on 22 minutes. 

It was a moment of magic from our very own Moroccan matador, with Taarabt latching on to Hill's pass from deep before shifting his way past Vermaelen with a superb piece of footwork to put himself through on goal. 

And the finish was equally as impressive, with the R's playmaker coolly slotting a shot past Szczesny from just inside the box. 

The opening goal, however, appeared to rejuvenate the Gunners. 

The visitors began to enjoy more possession and, as a result, more pressure was placed on the home rearguard. 

Despite that point, Rangers continued to hold firm but - thanks to a kind rebound off the post - Arsenal levelled eight minutes before the half-time break. van Persie found Walcott in the box, who saw his initial effort cannon back off the post before the England ace was on hand to slam home at the second attempt. 

The visitors even went close to finding a second five minutes short of the interval, with Aaron Ramsey's shot creeping just wide of the post. 

Arsenal carried that positive momentum into the second half. 

Kieran Gibbs had the first Gunners' first chance of the closing period, heading Bacary Sagna's cross wide of the target in the 48th minute. 

Ten minutes later, van Persie forced a smart block from Kenny with a stinging free-kick. 

And it was the R's number one who soon had to be at his very best to keep out the Premier League's top scorer once again. van Persie capitalised on a ball from deep to break the offside trap, before his resultant shot forced a fine save from Kenny, who tipped the effort wide. 

Arsenal were now on top in terms of territorial dominance - but it was Rangers who would stun their visitors when they regained the lead in the 66th minute. 

Barton's clipped ball forward was won thanks to the sheer perseverance of Mackie, forcing a slip from Vermaelen before the Scot - in time and space - laid a pass back to Diakite. 

And the Mali international didn't need any second invitation, side-footing a lovely effort into the top right-hand corner of the net from close range.

Following Rangers' second, the away side continued to enjoy a large chunk of possession - but the R's discipline and organisation limited Arsenal's creativity to a weak Tomas Rosicky drive. 

QPR's will-to-win was there for all to see, with a crunching Derry tackle on Walcott typifying the hunger and spirit of the R's in the closing stages. In fact, it was Rangers who even had chances to extend their lead late on. 

First, the relentless Diakite fired an effort wide of goal, before Barton forced a stunning stop from Szczesny. 

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