QPR succumb to Van Persie goal

Arsenal 1 QPR 0

Robin van Persie’s second-half goal was enough to settle a largely one-sided London derby.

QPR, without a win in seven games, battled hard and rode their luck before Van Persie slotted home after being put through by Andrey Arshavin.

It was the Dutchman’s 35th goal of the calendar year, beating Thierry Henry’s Arsenal record and leaving him one behind Alan Shearer’s Premier League record.

He was unable to find the net again as Rangers dug in, but Arsenal’s victory was more comfortable than the scoreline might suggest.

Rangers were pinned in their own half for most of the first 45 minutes, but would have taken the lead against the run of play but for a smart save by Wojciech Szczesny.

The Polish keeper did well to deny Shaun Wright-Phillips, who had been put through by Adel Taarabt’s clever pass.

At the other end, Joey Barton came to Rangers’ rescue by heading Aaron Ramsey’s volley off the line.

Theo Walcott should have put Arsenal ahead early in the second half but dragged his shot horribly wide after being set up by Ramsey.

However, it was only a temporary reprieve for Rangers, who went behind on the hour mark.

The visitors, with Radek Cerny back in goal for Paddy Kenny, and Jay Bothroyd, Matt Connolly and Armand Traore all facing their former side, seemed to lack any real belief that they could cause an upset on the club’s first visit to the Emirates Stadium.

But they did make a fight of it and rallied near the end, with Taarabt bringing a save from Szczesny and an unmarked Connolly volleying over.

They also appealed in vain for a penalty after Taarabt went down under a challenge from Francis Coquelin.