Arsenal 1 QPR 0: Robin van Persie ends the year for Arsenal on a high
Arsenal played its last game of 2011 knowing that a win coupled with results elsewhere could propel the club into 4th place. The club had the chance to cement a place in the top four in midweek but Wayne Hennessey’s heroics in goal was enough to deny the Gunners maximum points on the night.
Robin van Persie had one more chance to break Alan Shearer’s record that stood at 36 goals but scoring a hattrick against Queens Park Rangers was certainly asking too much from the Flying Dutchman. Van Persie threatened the QPR back line from the right hand side, twisting and turning but Radek Cerny in goal was on hand to intercept the ball.
Aaron Ramsey was restored back to his starting berth and his cross was headed wide by the predator in the box called van Persie. Johan Djourou had a brief surge into the opposition before feeding van Persie but his toe poke went over.
Van Persie was a constant threat to the QPR defense and he was on the end of a Thomas Vermaelen over the top pass but his effort was skewed over the bar. Martin Atkinson came into the spotlight when he failed to award Arsenal a penalty when Laurent Koscielny’s shot hit Luke Young on his arm.
The ref compounded his inconsistency when he brandished a yellow card to Thomas Vermaelen for a foul Koscielny committed on QPR’s elf Short Wright-Phillips. Aaron Ramsey had a volley that was cleared off the line by Joey Hilter and that was it for the first 45 minutes.
At the start of the second half, QPR had a rare stint at Arsenal’s goal and a cross from the left hand side was parried by Wojciech Szczesny to another QPR forward but Arsenal’s goalie did well to save the follow up.
Arsene Wenger brought in Francis Coquelin for Thomas Vermaelen but Arsenal’s best chance of the second half came when Ramsey sent Theo Walcott through with a lovely through ball but the forward lacked composure as he fired a tame shot wide.
Wright-Phillips was having a good time down the right but he gifted Arsenal a goal when he handed a pass to the much criticized Andrey Arshavin that did well to tee up van Persie early enough for the Flying Dutchman to slot home his 35th Premier League goal of 2011.
Adel Taarabt tested Szczesny with a curling effort but his shot was topped away for a corner kick. Wenger brought on Tomas Rosicky and Gervinho for Arshavin and Walcott and the Ivorian had a clear cut chance to put Arsenal two up but he spurned van Persie’s superb pass from three yards out.
Late on, van Persie created another lovely chance for Gervinho but the Ivorian probably had the African Cup of Nations in his mind as he wasted another chance yet again. Despite a late QPR rally, Arsenal held on to end 2011 on a high.
Szczesny (7.0) was relatively untroubled but he put up a good shift.
Djourou (7.0) made a jinking run forward that saw him evade many markers.
Vermaelen (6.5) was wrongly booked for an offense a teammate committed.
Koscielny (6.5) had a boring day at the office but ventured forward a few times.
Mertesacker (6.5) had a relatively untroubled evening.
Song (7.0) was efficient in midfield.
Arteta (7.0) was heavily involved in attacking play.
Ramsey (7.0) made some good passes over the course of the game.
Walcott (6.0) was a bit disappointing in his overall play.
Arshavin (7.0) provided the only assist of the game.
Van Persie (8.0) huffed and puffed at the QPR and got what he truly deserved, a goal worth its weight in gold.
Coquelin (7.5) played in an unfamiliar left back role and put up a very impressive performance.
Rosicky (6.5) showed his sleek movement in the left hand side.
Gervinho (6.0) could have scored a hattrick on another day but his profligacy in front of goal didn’t let that happen.
Manchester United was a happy club on the Boxing Day fixtures as all fellow title hopefuls dropped points but Blackburn’s Yakubu Aiyegbeni gave Sir Alex Ferguson the blues on his 70th birthday with a 3-2 reverse scoreline. Chelsea’s Andre Villas-Boa Constrictor looked like a very concerned figure in the touchline as his side lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.
This was a year Gooners would never forget.
The year of the Robin,
Robin van Persie.
You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Feel free to visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page and click on the like button.
You can also join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List to get notifications of new posts by email by clicking on the Follow button