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27 October 2012
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: A. Taylor
• Attendance: 60103
Queens Park Rangers
Thank you for tuning in to Goal.com's live Premier League coverage this afternoon! Be sure to join us again soon for all of the latest action from your club.
90' + 5'
Full-time! It's finished Arsenal 1-0 QPR. The gunners started slow and failed to make the most of their chances, and with the visitors also creating a number of opportunities themselves, they are perhaps fortunate to come away with the points. The Stephane Mbia red card made a huge difference to the match; no doubt Mark Hughes will be absolutely furious with the Cameroonian.
90' + 3'
Another chance for QPR! Mackie does fantastically down the right to shake off two Arsenal players and bomb into the box. He strikes for goal, but Mannone comes to the gunners' rescue with a good save. Nail-biting finish here at the Emirates!
90' + 2'
Ramsey finds Arshavin and the Russian races towards goal down the left. He has a lot of time to make a decision and opts for lashing a left-footed strike towards goal. To Cesar's relief, the ball only finds the side netting.
CHANCE FOR QPR! Granero times his run brilliantly to get in behind the Arsenal back line. His first touch kills the ball fantastically, but he drags his shot wide of the target.
After a less-than-convincing first-half display, Julio Cesar is keeping his team in with a chance here. Santi Cazorla does terrifically to make space for a shot, but the Brazilian gets down magnificently to his left and makes the save.
Yellow CardAdel Taarabt
And it's almost two! The ball is cleared by QPR, but can only find Ramsey on the edge of the area. He lashes a half-volley towards goal and Cesar has to make a save low to his right. A second goal could be on it's way at the Emirates!
And the hosts are more than happy to sit deep with the ball and draw the QPR players towards them here. Suddenly a gap opens, and Ramsey feeds Walcott on the right. Bosingwa does well to prevent the cross coming in.
GOAL! And it's Mikel Arteta who puts the ball in. Arshavin does well to beat Mackie, who was filling in at right-back in the absence of Mbia. The ball comes into the box and Cesar makes another fantastic save, but Arteta is there to follow up and nod the ball in. Ten-man QPR now have a mountain to climb.
Fantastic save from Cesar, as the ball bounces off almost every player in the box before heading goal-wards after hitting Onuoha. But the Brazilian gets down well to keep the ball out.
Substitution for Arsenal, as substitute Gervinho - who received treatment moments ago - is replaced by Andrey Arshavin.
Red CardStéphane M'Bia
RED CARD! And it's Stephane Mbia! Vermaelen chases the ball out to the corner flag and nudges the Cameroon international. A free-kick is given, but Mbia lashes out from the floor and kicks the Arsenal man. The referee has no choice, and QPR must play the remaining ten minutes with ten men.
And that's an absolutely incredible miss. The Gunners could be made to rue that chance, as it was certainly the best of the match so far. Wright-Phillips off for Jamie Mackie, as Arsenal prepare to take a corner.
CHANCE! And what an incredible one it is! Mbia fails to clear a Walcott cross and the ball falls to Cazorla on the penalty spot. With the goal at his mercy, the Spaniard blasts the ball high into the stands.
Wright-Phillips almost gets in behind the Arsenal defence, but makes his run a fraction too early and is caught offside.
And it's a double substitution for QPR. as Zamora makes way for Djibril Cisse and Armand Traore - who so many of you have been impressed by today - is replaced by Nedum Onuoha.
Gervinho does eventually come on and it's Podolski who makes way. He's had his critics this season, but he has scored 5 goals so far. Arsenal fans will be hoping that he can add to that this afternoon.
Arsenal are really knocking on the door now, as Cazorla keeps attempting to put his teammates through and keeps getting the ball back. Gervinho preparing to come on.
Walcott is being readied to come on now, and it looks as though it will be Wilshere that he's replacing. The Gunners faithful will be hoping that he can add a bit of impetus to a tiring attacking line. Great return to first-team action for Jack Wilshere.
CHANCE! QPR's first prolonged spell of possession this half, as Taarabt sends a 50-yard pinpoint pass to Wright-Phillips. The winger sends a good cross towards Zamora, but Mertesacker makes the clearance with a good header.
Wilshere looks as though he is tiring a little here, and you can't blame him after such a long absence. Arsene Wenger may just need to freshen things up to raise the intensity of this match.
Yellow CardOlivier Giroud
Giroud strikes with his left, but again it is straight into the wall. That's about the third free-kick in a dangerous position this afternoon that the Gunners have put into the wall. Arsene Wenger will not be happy with that.
Another Arsenal free-kick and the offender is Esteban Granero again! The former Real Madrid man remonstrates with the referee, but he really needs to be careful here. Arteta and Giroud stand over the ball...
Cazorla takes the resulting free-kick and tries to sneak the ball under the QPR wall. The ball takes a deflection and rolls harmlessly into the arms of Cesar.
Yellow CardEsteban Granero
Another challenge from Granero earns the Spaniard a yellow card. It looks a little soft, but the midfielder has made a couple of late challenges already this afternoon.
Warning for Arsenal here, as Junior Hoilett lobs Mannone and appears to have scored. However, the Canadian has been flagged offside. Replays show the decision to be spot on, but the visitors will be buoyed by this.
Crossing from both sides has been poor this afternoon, and Wright-Phillips continues the trend. The winger is in space down the right and has all the time in the world to pick out a man, but his ball sails out of play fora goal-kick.
CHANCE! The resulting free-kick is driven towards Mertesacker. The German glances a header which takes a deflection on it's way towards goal. Cesar does well to palm the ball away smartly to his right. Better tempo from Arsenal.
A chorus of boos erupt from the home support, as Granero makes a cynical challenge on Santos but is let off with just a warning. After his earlier challenge on Wilshere, you have to feel that his next one will bring a card.
Theo Walcott is warming up on the Arsenal touchline, much to the delight of the home support. He could be introduced soon if the Gunners can't find a goal.
It looks as though the youngster is fine, however, as he gets back to his feet and jogs it off. Relief for the Arsenal fans and bench!
Concern on the Arsenal bench, as Wilshere goes down holding his ankle after a challenge from Granero.
QPR get the second half underway! Neither side have made any changes.
There will definitely be some trophies in the Arsenal cabinet this year, as the club's women's team show off the trophies from their FA and Premier League double during half-time.
The tweets continue, with Ige Ife Hyper calling for Arsenal to try to dictate the pace of play a little more, while OMG_Its_6ix feels that QPR could take a point if they keep up their strong defensive display. The restart is minutes away, stay with us!
A quick stat for you all on the return of Jack Wilshere - so far the midfielder has completed all 33 of his attempted passes in the first half of his Premier League comeback vs QPR. Incredible feat after so long on the sidelines!
What are your thoughts on the first half? Would you make a change at half-time? Keep the tweets coming @alfiemeekings.
Your comments have been flying in all game, so keep them coming! Sen. A.G. Mohd is backing QPR to take the points today, while Dr. Samson has been impressed by Traore's display so far.
45' + 1'
Half-time at the Emirates! It’s 0-0 here, and Arsene Wenger will no doubt be the unhappier of the two managers as they enter the dressing rooms. His side have so far seen lots of possession, but shown little urgency often allowing their opponents to get 10 men behind the ball. There are still goals in this match, and securing the first one is going to be absolutely vital for both sides. If anything is going to happen for the hosts, it appears as though WIlshere will definitely be involved.
CHANCE! Wilshere and Cazorla combine well again, before Santos gets a chance to strike at goal. The Brazilian tests Cesar, but the keeper makes the save and holds on to the ball well. One minute of added time to play.
QPR enjoying more possession as half-time approaches. Mark Hughes' men would no doubt be happy with 0-0 at half-time, so at the moment they're happy to just sit tight and wait for a gap to open up.
Fantastic play from Hoilett, as he manages to evade the attempts of four Arsenal players and win a corner after running with the ball from the half-way line.
Arsene Wenger is looking more and more frustrated on the touchline. He knows that his side need a goal before half time to ease the nerves, but as of yet his side have been feeding off half chances.
Podolski and Arteta stand over it, and it's the German who strikes but cannot beat the wall.
Controversy here, as referee Anthony Taylor allows a strong challenge on Wilshere to go unpunished, before blowing for a foul on Giroud when Arsenal looked to be able to play on with the advantage. Nevertheless, the Gunners have a free-kick in a good position.
Another piece of suspect play from Cesar here, and you can't help but feel that QPR will be punished for one of these defensive errors eventually. The Brazilian keeps the ball in his feet for too long, and as Giroud closes him down he attempts a weak clearance but only finds Podolski on the left wing. Bosingwa does well to save his keeper's blushes and make the challenge.
The visitors giving the home side a taste of their own medicine here, as they string together a good 20 passes - much to the delight of the traveling support - before one goes astray.
Arsenal will have to up the tempo here, as their sluggishness in possession is allowing QPR to get 10 men behind the ball and crowd the hosts out. Lots of possession for the Gunners, but no clear chances coming from it at the moment.
The Hoops are working there way back into the game, as Granero is brought down by Podolski just inside the Arsenal half. The Spaniard takes the resulting free-kick, but Ryan Nelsen is adjudged to be offside.
QPR clearly want to play out from the back here, opposed to just punting it up the field. And this time it works for Mark Hughes' men, as Wright-Phillips eventually gets an opportunity to shoot on the edge of the Arsenal area, but drags his strike wide.
Taarabt gives the home side an early demonstration of the treat he can pose. Albeit deep inside his own half, the Moroccan shows neat footwork to skip between Cazorla and Arteta, with the latter bringing him down for a free-kick.
CHANCE! Almost a fairytale return for Wilshere, as he glides through the midfield, exchanging passes with Cazorla before unleashing a strike at the QPR goal. Cesar makes the parry, and manages to keep hold of the ball at the second attempt before Giroud can get to it.
Arsene Wenger's men are settling into a familiar rhythm here at the Emirates, pinging the ball casually around the midfield. They're starting to take control of the game now, but they must find a way to convert possession into goals.
Early mistakes from the visitors' defence here, as both full-backs are caught in possession in quick succession deep inside their own half. Fortunately for them, the hosts cannot make the most of the opportunities.
Half-chance for Podolski, as he finds himself with a lot of space 25-yards from goal. We've seen him put them in before, but this time it sails harmlessly wide to the right of Cesar's goal.
OFF THE CROSSBAR! Sagna delivers a great ball into the box and finds Ramsey's head. The Wales international gets his head to the ball, and it crashes off the top of the bar and out of play for a goal kick.
CHANCE FOR ARSENAL! Cazorla does really well to spin away from an opponent before feeding Santos on the left. The full-back drives the ball in which deflects goal-wards off a QPR defender, but Cesar is equal to it and makes the save.
It's an open contest at the moment, with both sides seeing a lot of possession early on. Arsene Wenger won't be pleased at how much time QPR are being allowed on the ball, as the Gunners have been slow to close down their men so far.
Wasted opportunity for QPR. Bosingwa does well to intercept a stray pas and finds himself in acres of space down the right-hand side. The former Chelsea man has as long as he wants to cross, but the eventual ball eludes everybody and rolls harmlessly out of play.
The hosts looking good early on, as the centre-backs roll the ball around comfortably before Sagna breaks away down the right. Diakite gets across well to make the challenge and stop the right-back getting a cross in.
Interesting to see that Anton Ferdinand today wore a 'Kick it Out' T-shirt during the warm-ups today, after he and a number of other players snubbed the organisation last weekend.
Arsenal get us underway!
More from Greg Stobart at the Emirates: “Enormous roar from the Arsenal supporters Jack Wilshere’s name is read out - they have been waiting for this moment a long time. We’re nearly ready to get underway at the Emirates.”
As ever, you can get your predictions, comments on today's match and thoughts about the lineups to me on twitter @alfiemeekings.
And Greg is right, it is a huge match for both sides this afternoon. The Gunners have lost their last two matches and, after a stormy shareholders' meeting midweek, must take three points today. QPR sit bottom of the Premier League at the moment, so Mark Hughes will also be doing everything he can to ensure his side take something from this match. We're minutes away from kick-off here, so stay tuned!
Our man at the Emirates, Greg Stobart, brings us an update: "The players have completed their warm-ups at the Emirates Stadium and it’s slowly filling up here save for an empty corporate tier, with the QPR fans in the clock end in good voice as the visitors look to climb off the foot of the table this afternoon."
No huge surprises in the QPR side, as Nelsen and Mbia continue at the back, leaving only a place on the bench for Anton Ferdinand.
So the big news for Arsenal is the return of Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna to the starting XI. Wilshere has been out of first-team action for over a year, while Sagna makes his first start since breaking his leg against Norwich last season.
QPR substitutes: Green, Ferdinand, Cisse, Onuoha, Mackie, Ephraim, Faurlin.
The away side: Cesar; Bosingwa, Nelsen, Mbia, Traore; Diakite, Granero; Wright-Phillips, Taarabt, Hoilett; Zamora.
Arsenal substitutes: Martinez, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Walcott, Arshavin, Gervinho.
The lineups are in. Let's start with the home side: Mannone; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Arteta, Ramsey; Cazorla, Wilshire, Podolski, Giroud.
Good afternoon, and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of this afternoon's Premier League encounter between Arsenal and QPR. I'm Alfie Meekings and I'll be bringing you all of this afternoon's action, play-by-play, from the Emirates.
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