Queens Park Rangers vs. Arsenal  0 - 1

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Szczesny pleased with Arsenal defence

6 May 2013 13:25

Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny believes the whole defence should take credit for their performance in the 1-0 win at QPR.

The Poland international produced a fine save from Loic Remy's curling strike to deny the Premier League's bottom side a point, but he believes a team effort was the key to a crucial victory.

He told the club's official website: "I don't think it's all about the save - it's about the team performance. We kept another clean sheet. We've not been conceding a lot of goals recently so that's very important.

"I think in the last 15 minutes when they put the pressure on we handled it quite well. We didn't have a lot of height in our defence today so set pieces were a big test and we handled it brilliantly.

"I think we should focus on how we defend as a team. It's not just the two centre backs and the goalkeeper who makes saves, it's the whole team and the way we defend."

Arsenal now sit two points clear of London rivals Tottenham in the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot, and Szczesny feels it is results, not performances, that are important at this stage of the season.

"I'd settle for another two 1-0s for the rest of the season and a place in the top three. Hopefully we can keep it going. Even if a game like this is boring at times, we couldn't care less at this time. We just want to get the three points and go back home."

Szczesny did not miss an opportunity to stick the boot into Tottenham, claiming Arsenal's north London rivals do not have the quality to finish ahead of them in the table.

"If we win our next two games it will be enough because either Chelsea or Spurs will drop points because they play each other," he said.

"If you look at Chelsea's fixtures, they have Tottenham and Everton left and they won't be easy games. And Tottenham do not have enough quality, so there you go."

Article

Premier League: QPR 0 Arsenal 1

4 May 2013 20:30

Theo Walcott scored after 20 seconds as Arsenal beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road on Saturday.

It was the fastest goal of the season in the Premier League and the quickest Arsenal have ever scored since the competition was formed in 1992, as they extended their unbeaten league run to eight games.

The game was settled by Walcott's strike, when he picked up a Mikel Arteta pass inside the area to fire beyond Rob Green. The England man twice came close to adding to his tally when in the first half he hit the post and in the second forced a good save from Green.

QPR made four changes to their starting line-up, with Tal Ben-Haim, Andros Townsend, Ji-Sung Park and Bobby Zamora coming in. Arsenal made one enforced change, as Nacho Monreal replaced the injured Kieran Gibbs.

Arsenal had never beaten QPR in the Premier League but they made the perfect start with Walcott's opener. Tomas Rosicky created space on the right-hand side, his cross found its way to Mikel Arteta on the edge of the area and the Spaniard played an intricate throughball, giving Walcott plenty of time to force his effort past Rob Green.

Despite having plenty of the ball, Arsenal struggled to fashion much after that opener in terms of opportunities, but in the 26th minute Rosicky found Walcott on the right-hand side of the box. He turned sharply but saw his effort turned onto the post by Green.

The home side had a great chance to level soon afterwards when a quick counter-attack led to the lively Townsend finding Park in the box, but he put his effort well over the crossbar when he should have at least hit the target.

Neat footwork by Zamora then led to another Park opportunity, although this time he could only force a corner.

The away side continued to dominate possession but they were almost caught out by a fierce 20-yard strike by Ben-Haim. Wojciech Szczesny made the save.

Townsend then bent a free-kick from the left of the area wide of the right-hand post.

QPR began the second half with greater intent and twice went close to drawing level. First, Townsend cut in from the right before unleashing a thunderous effort that Szczesny palmed to safety before Loic Remy turned inside Bacary Sagna but hit a tame effort at the goalkeeper.

Arsene Wenger's side were struggling to make much of their possession, but Arteta should have done better when he found space in the box only to hit his effort straight at Green.

Walcott then came close to doubling his tally, as he outmuscled Ben-Haim before producing a low drive from the left of the box that Green got down early to stop and force the corner.

Zamora felt that he should have had a penalty in the 78th minute when he controlled the ball facing away from goal and, after jostling for position with Laurent Koscielny, fell to the ground - although it appeared the striker had simply lost his balance.

Szczesny then produced to a terrific save to keep the scores level. The ball found its way to Remy on the left-hand side of the area and he hit a curling first-time effort that was destined for the far corner, but the Pole made a brilliant save to his left.

Arsenal hung on for a victory to move into third position as they look to claim a UEFA Champions League position.

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Premier League Preview: QPR v Arsenal

2 May 2013 15:20

QPR have nothing but pride to play for when they host Champions League-chasing Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

A goalless stalemate at Reading last week sealed QPR's fate, with the club set to play the likes of Peterborough United and AFC Bournemouth in the Championship next season.

The nature of that draw was indicative of why Harry Redknapp's side are going down, with a genuine lack of quality going forward – which has seen them score just 29 goals this season, the lowest in the league – costing them a potential victory.

QPR have won just two of their last 14 matches in all competitions and have failed to score in their last three.

The Loftus Road outfit are only ahead of bottom-placed Reading by goal difference and will be keen to salvage some pride by avoiding finishing last in the table.

But they will face a tough ask in this fixture, with Arsenal coming to the end of what seems a now-traditional end-of-season push.

In March, a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham saw Arsene Wenger's side slip seven points adrift of their rivals, and they were in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

An eight-match unbeaten streak since that loss to Spurs – which included a 2-0 away win at UEFA Champions League finalists Bayern Munich – has seen Arsenal climb to fourth in the table, although they do have a game in hand on Andre Villas-Boas' side and Chelsea.

QPR's record signing, Chris Samba, was left out of the squad that travelled to Reading last week, but the defender is sure to come into contention this week, while Tottenham loanee Andros Townsend (hamstring) could also return.

Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle) and DJ Campbell (metatarsal fracture) are not expected back any time soon for the strugglers.

Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (rib) and midfielder Abou Diaby (knee) will not play again this season and French striker Olivier Giroud is still suspended.

QPR did win last season's meeting at home, as goals from Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakite gave them a surprise 2-1 victory.

But a repeat of that is highly unlikely as a motivated Arsenal go in search of an essential three points in their bid for Champions League football next season.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25