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Arsenal vs. QPR: Gunners eke out 1-0 win

Arsenal weren't at top form against relegated QPR, but they got the win they needed to keep pace with the European qualification race.

Clive Rose

1-0 Walcott 1'

Arsenal did their job Saturday, beating relegated Queens Park Rangers by a score of 1-0 that probably should have been more in Arsenal's favor, but frankly at this point in the season I don't give a damn about anything outside of getting the three points. Two more wins and a favorable result or two should now see Arsenal into the Champions League next year, for what must be like the 48th consecutive year or something.

The first half started well, as Arsenal were able to score basically on the first kick of the game. The ball was played around the outside of the box, and eventually fell to Mikel Arteta, who played a through-ball to Theo Walcott. Walcott finished cleanly, and Arsenal had a 1-0 lead after about thirty seconds. It was a bit reminiscent of the beginning of last week's game against Manchester United, only this time the goal was slightly earlier, and slightly less offside.

The rest of the first half was mostly uneventful. Walcott had another chance saved, in the 26th minute, after a Tomas Rosicky throughball. Rob Green was barely able to reach the shot and tip it just into the post and out. Aside from that, Arsenal had a lot of possession but a lot of build-up ended up breaking down before it could end in a real chance. Rangers were mostly unable to get the ball, and when they did the defense was mostly up to the task of breaking it up. Arteta had some particularly good takeaways, and generally Arsenal were...fine. Not great after the goal, but not terrible either, and looked to be in charge of the game for the most part. But they failed to get a second goal.

After the half QPR came into the game. They were able to get some possession together and put the Arsenal goal under some strain, forcing several saves from Wojciech Szczesny. One late save in particular, off a Loic Remy shot, was nice, but overally Szczesny was more than up to the task, and never really seemed like he was letting a goal in. Bacary Sagna recovered from a...sub-par game against United and the Koscielny-Mertesacker pairing seems to be improving on a weekly basis. Nacho Monreal wasn't spectacular on the left, letting Andros Townsend by him far too easily several times. But overall the defense was adequate from Szczesny on up, and now are on a bit of a run. They haven't given up multiple goals in a game since the first week of March, and this was Arsenal's fifth shutout in the same span (ten games).

Overall there are some things to complain about here, but I'll probably leave that for the Bad and the Ugly later (and probably someone else). It's May. We're fighting for Champions League qualification. If Tottenham get to be happy playing like ass against Southampton and getting a late goal, then I'm going to be happy playing okay against QPR and getting an early goal. Both games count for three points. And that's what we need to worry about.