Arsenal end 2011 with victory against QPR

Arsenal 1 QPR 0

Robin van Persie may have been thwarted in his hunt for a Premier League goalscoring record but was on hand to help Arsenal end 2011 with victory against QPR today.

The Gunners captain had 90 minutes to net twice against the Rs to equal Alan Shearer's record of Premier League goals in a calendar year.

Having wasted four decent chances in the first period, van Persie swept home his first opportunity of the second half after latching onto Andrey Arshavin's neat ball.

However, the Holland international failed to add to his 60th minute effort and missed the chance to equal the former Blackburn striker's 36-goal haul from 1995.

Van Persie was not the only Arsenal player left ruing missed opportunities, with Theo Walcott and substitute Gervinho both guilty of failing to convert gilt-edged chances.

The Gunners' futility led to a nervy ending against spirited QPR, although resolute defending saw the majority of the 60,067 crowd go home happy.

Before kick-off Arsenal legend Tony Adams was given a standing ovation on the Emirates pitch.

The former captain's appearance failed to boost today's side, though, with QPR dominating the opening exchanges.

After Per Mertesacker thwarted an Adel Taarabt through ball, ex-Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd soon found space to get away a 20-yard effort on goal in the ninth minute.

Wojciech Szczesny held with ease but looked less comfortable when an exquisite Taarabt pass put Shaun Wright-Phillips behind the Gunners' backline a minute later, forcing the Polish goalkeeper into a quick block.

QPR were playing with confidence in north London, although a moment of van Persie magic could have easily seen the home side break the deadlock.

The Arsenal skipper jinked back and forth on the right-hand side, before sneaking past his marker and toe-poking an effort on goal from close range, but without success.

Former Tottenham playmaker Taarabt was fortunate to escape punishment from referee Martin Atkinson in the 19th minute when he seemingly caught Arshavin with a stray arm.

Joey Barton fired a shot across the face of goal with the Russia international still grounded, before van Persie twice came close at the other end.

The Dutch striker first backtracked furiously to head just wide, before wriggling past Luke Young in the box and lifting the ball just over the bar.

The Gunners were in the ascendancy and van Persie fired just over the bar after being put through by a long ball from the back.

Arsenal twice had penalty shouts rejected as half-time approached, before a goalbound Aaron Ramsey effort was cleared off the line by Barton and Cerny parried a fierce Mikel Arteta drive.

QPR looked rejuvenated after the break and Jamie Mackie found the net within two minutes, although the whistle had already been blown for offside.

Armand Traore's dangerous left-wing cross caught Arsenal off guard five minutes later, but Alejandro Faurlin's miscued shot allowed Szczesny to gather comfortably.

Wenger's side were looking most dangerous on the break and Walcott should have scored the afternoon's opening goal in the 56th minute.

Ramsey put the former Southampton man through one on one with Cerny and, despite the goalkeeper diving the wrong way, Walcott somehow pulled his shot wide.

Fortunately that lack of composure did not haunt the Gunners, who broke the deadlock through van Persie four minutes later.

Arshavin found time and space on the left flank to find the Arsenal skipper, who swept a left-footed drive past Cerny inside the box.

Young's block stopped Arshavin doubling the north Londoners' advantage, before Taarabt forced Szczesny into a low save to prevent a curling effort finding the net.

The shot began a bright spell for the west Londoners, who saw Connolly blaze over and felt aggrieved not to receive a penalty when Taarabt went down under substitute Francis Coquelin's challenge.

Arsenal, having seen a rasping Ramsey effort come close, were close again through Gervinho.

The indomitable van Persie showed strength and skill to lose his marker and cross for the Ivory Coast international, who somehow put wide from close range.

Arsenal continued to press for a second as the game drew to a close but were thwarted, with Ramsey and van Persie both unable to find the net.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London