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Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
31 March 2012
• Loftus Road Stadium, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 18033
Queens Park Rangers
Wayne Veysey Live at the Emirates: Great scenes here as QPR's players, who were outstanding to a man today, celebrate a second consecutive home victory. There was not the drama of the stunning comeback against Liverpool 10 days ago but this was an even more impressive performance. They were resilient in defence, never allowed Arsenal to settle and attacking with menace and quality. Adel Taarabt was at his flamboyant best, Bobby Zamora held the ball up superbly but the star of the show was Samba Diakite, an absolute beast in central midfield and the matchwinner with his emphatically struck goal.
It's FULL TIME at Loftus Road. Mark Hughes' side have combined a robust performance led by hold-up play of Bobby Zamora and the combative Samba Diakite with moments of quality from Adel Taarabt to come away with a crucial victory as they battle relegation. After a bright start the Moroccan playmaker gave them the lead with an expert turn and finish past Thomas Vermaelen. Arsenal went on to gain control of the game after a fortuitous Walcott equaliser, but QPR defended well throughout the match and grabbed a winner courtesy of a well-worked move to give Arsenal their first defeat after seven consecutive league wins.
90' + 5'
The freekick comes in from van Persie and goes all the way through the defence. Nedum Onuoha does the job needed in the last act of the game as he makes a tackle inside the box and advances the ball up the pitch in the last act of the game.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Samba Diakité
90' + 4'
Diakite carelessly gives away a freekick on the left flank which keeper Szczesny comes up for. It's the last act of the game and there's a long wait for the kick as a linesman is struck by an object from the crowd.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Joey Barton
90' + 2'
Shouts for handball ring out as Gervinho hits the ball into Nedum Onuoha from the left flank. It was definitely unintentional.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Zamora is subbed off to a rousing ovation from the home fans after a powerful display and is replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Yellow Card Anton Ferdinand
Robin van Persie takes a freekick from the left edge of the box but it fails to beat the wall.
Joey Barton goes off for a moment to receive treatment after falling awkwardly in an aerial challenge with Rosicky.
Diakite blasts wide from 40 yards and soon after wins the ball off Tomas Rosicky before distributing to Joey Barton. Barton passes to Mackie on the right wing and gets the ball back before shooting first time firmly towards goal forcing a good save from Szczesny. He had the option of the low cross to Zamora inside the six yard box.
Arsenal send on the aerial threat of Marouane Chamakh and direct threat of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in an attempt to trouble the QPR defence who have so far successfully weathered the storm having got the team behind the ball in defence.
Gervinho wins a corner after his shot is pushed out by Paddy Kenny at the near post. Van Persie wins the header at the back post from Arteta's corner but cannot direct his effort towards goal.
QPR manager Mark Hughes can be heard screaming 'keep it' from the touchline and his team fulfil his wishes, with left back Taiwo eventually winning a throw-in, then a corner after wonderful skill from Taarabt.
Arsenal have another spell of possession around the QPR box and Anton Ferdinand first stops a through ball reaching van Persie doen the left edge of the box and then heads away a dangerous cross from the left flank.
Vermaelen is caught in possession and QPR have a string of players trying to line up the shot but including Zamora, Taarabt, and Mackie who has the final effort.
Onuoha this time intercepts to prevent a one two between Rosicky and van Persie, and Anton Ferdinand confidently advances out of defence to find Zamora. Arsenal win the ball back to launch another attack however. The Gunners are threatening going forward.
Winger Gervinho appears in place of Aaron Ramsey on the left flank.
Taiwo makes another inteception to block a through ball into Walcott.
Taye Taiwo makes a crucial interception but gives away a corner which Paddy Kenny can only palm away into the path of Koscielny. The ball does not neatly fall for the centre back and danger is averted.
Assist Jamie Mackie
Goal Samba Diakité
GOAL SAMBA DIAKITE. Joey Barton floats a long ball to Jamie Mackie down the right flank, and the home side appeal for a foul after Kieren Gibbs hauls down the Scotsman. Play continues however and the winger finds Mali international Samba Diakite running into the edge of the box, and he thumps the ball into the net to give the home side the lead.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Alex Song is yellow carded for a foul on Joey Barton.
Koscielny breaks up an attack launched by Taarabt and spreads the ball to Walcott, who drives an early cross low into the box.
Yellow Card Jamie Mackie
Yellow Card Thomas Vermaelen
Jamie Mackie and Thomas Vermaelen are shown yellow cards after squaring up to each other.
Wayne Veysey LIVE! Arsenal are in control here in the second period, with QPR increasingly locked in defence mode. Robin van Persie has drawn two fine saves from Paddy Kenny but his failure to finish an excellent one-on-one opportunity could come back to haunt him.
Van Pesie takes the corner but it is cleared and Mackie works the ball to Taarabt who shoots firmly at goal from well outside the box for Szczesny to save comfortably.
Alex Song slides an excellent through ball to van Persie, and Paddy Kenny makes a spectacular save from the Dutch striker's powerful shot across goal.
Kenny palms away van Persie's powerful freekick and Arteta chooses to retain possession rather than shape another shot.
Laurent Koscielny nearly finds Walcott with an ambitious through ball out of defence, but it is intercepted and Sagna has to be alert to prevent Zamora latching on to the hopeful clearance.
Walcott dances around Taye Taiwo and steams down the right flank, but Shaun Derry shepherds the winger away from goal and his cross floats out behind the goal.
Arsenal have controlled the majority of the possession early in the second half and now have a freekick 35 yards out in the centre of the pitch. Vermaelen's thumping effort is blocked however.
Samba Diakite demonstrates his box-to-box quality as he runs the ball up the pitch to help create an attack, but the final ball to Taarabt is intercepted.
Kieran Gibbs heads narrowly wide after coming in to the far post from the left flank to head a right wing delivery back across goal.
QPR appeal for a freekick inside the box after Koscielny slides in to tackle Mackie and get the ball back to Szczesny.
The second half gets underway at Loftus Road.
45' + 1'
And It's HALF TIME at Loftus Road. The Hoops deserved to take the lead after a robust display prevented Arsenal from generating any attacking threat, while Bobby Zamora harried up front and Diakite, Derry and Barton hassled in midfield. Adel Taarabt's turn displayed considerable skill and power and required a calm finish for the goal, but just as the Moroccan was starting to exhibit his swagger in midfield the Gunners got a fortunate goal. Walcott luckily received the ball after good work from van Persie and followed up his precise first time shot for the tap-in equaliser.
Walcott advances down the right side and passes to Alex Song who finds van Persie inside the box with a calm through ball. The forward's shot is saved but he was rightly called offside in any case.
Mackie wins a freekick after initially trying to stay on his feet. Taarabt's excellent delivery flies through the entire defence but no one can divert it towards goal.
Kenny dives to his right to save a Tomas Rosicky effort that resulted from a neat exchange with Alex Song.
Wayne Veysey at Loftus Road: Just as Adel Taarabt was beginning to showboat for Rangers, Arsenal get a lucky break and equalise with their first attack of note. After the ball fell fortuitously for Theo Walcott in the box his first shot cannoned into the post but the in-form winger kept his composure to steer in the equaliser.
Aaron Ramsey fires narrowly wide from the right edge of the box.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Theo Walcott
GOAL WALCOTT. Van Persie receives the ball on the left edge of the box and looks to work space for a shot, but instead the ball squirms through the QPR defenders where Walcott is on hand to put a shot to keeper Kenny's left. The precise shot comes back out off the post but the winger makes no mistake from the rebound to equalise for his side.
QPR are not looking like an 18th place side with a string of passes around the centre circle including a backheel from Taarabt.
Zamora holds the ball up again, winning a throw-in after receiving the ball from a pass that is hopeful at best. He is doing an excellent job at relieving pressure on the home defence effectively on his own, and has so far successfull bullied the Arsenal back line with his strength.
Jamie Mackie's promising run behind the defence from the right side comes to nothing after the Arsenal back line successfully catch him offside.
Mikel Arteta passes to Walcott on the right wing and the winger's ball to van Persie is just prevented from reaching its target by Anton Ferdinand.
Mackie flashes the ball across goal after receiving the ball on the right wing and advancing towards goal behind Kieran Gibbs.
QPR get most of their team behind the ball as the Gunners look to mount attacks, but Bobby Zamora proves an effective outlet as he holds the ball up after a hopeful clearance for the home side to retain possession.
QPR have shown greater attacking intent so far, with physical play from Zamora laying the foundations for a string of Adel Taarabt set pieces. Arsenal have had a spell of possession since conceding and it now falls on them to build some attacks as QPR look to consolidate.
Yellow Card Adel Taarabt
Assist Clint Hill
Goal Adel Taarabt
GOAL TAARABT. Clint Hill finds Adel Taarabt with a searching pass from defence and the Moroccan surprises Vermaelen, turning the centre back with agility and power, before slotting into the bottom corner of the net to the diving Szczesny's left.
Samba Diakite advances down the left flank and passes to Zamora on the edge of the box but his effort his saved by Szczesny diving to his right.
Arsenal get the ball forward down the right through Sagna and enjoy a spell of possession in and around the right flank as QPR get men behind the ball. The move breaks down when Walcott is called offside.
Zamora wins a freekick from Thomas Vermaelen after pressuring the centre back from a long clearance. It's another Taarabt freekick but the low delivery is cleared by Vermaelen this time.
Bobby Zamora heads over the bar after an excellent delivery from a deep freekick from Taarabt.
QPR win a free kick taken by Taarabt on the right flank, which Laurent Koscielny heads back for a corner. The delivery goes all the way to the other flank and Mackie wins a second corner, which Arsenal clear for another Hoops throw-in. QPR have enjoyed a good spell of pressure so far.
Alex Song makes a crucial challenge in the Arsenal penalty area to thwart Adel Taarabt as he attemts to work a shot.
Jamie Mackie raises a cheer from the crowd but is called offside after receiving the ball on the left edge of the box.
Clint Hill, playing at centre back, gives away a freekick with a sliding challenge on Walcott. Robin van Persie takes the kick from the right edge of the box and keeper Paddy Kenny stops the shot at the near post and gathers it at the second attempt.
QPR take a quick freekick and look to put Bobby Zamora through clear on goal but the big striker is called offside.
The Hoops nearly get Jamie Mackie through to the by-line down the right flank but the midfielder is called offside for Joey Barton's floated ball over Kieran Gibbs.
Theo Walcott wins a corner for Arsenal after receiving the ball from Bacary Sagna on the right flank. He cuts to the by-line and his low cross is cut out by Clint Hill.
The crowd cheers as Adel Taarabt looks to craft a one-two with Bobby Zamora, but the Arsenal centre backs avert danger.
And we're underway at Loftus Road!
We're just minutes from kickoff and it's a crucial match for each team, with Arsenal seeking their eighth consecutive league win to qualify for the Champions League in third place ahead of London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea. QPR meanwhile are in the relegation zone a point below safety and look to claw back the points needed for survival.
Wayne Veysey Live at Loftus Road: Strong words from QPR chief executive Philip Beard in his 'From The Boardroom' programme notes today. With the club battling relegation and strong rumours of impending financial disaster should the R's end the season in the bottom three, Beard has moved to reassure fans that all is under control. Beard writes: "QPR is in safe hands. We have owners who care and know what they are doing. They are exceptionally successful business people and to be clear, QPR carries absolutely no debt. I am getting fed up with some of the media and so-called experts having a pop at us on how the club is run. Whatever happens as a result of the next eight games we will get ready for the next campaign knowing we have an ownership structure and fan base in place that want, and are committed to building, long-term success."
The newly-returned QPR captain Joey Barton has responded to supporters booing him in the 3-2 win over Liverpool 10 days ago. Writing in today’s programme for the match against Arsenal, he says: "I don't feel at one with all of the fans at the moment...you want the supporters to be with you." The midfielder goes on to write: "I can't wait to get out there and prove all my doubters wrong. Over time, I'm convinced I'll do that."
Goal.com's own Wayne Veysey Live: Good afternoon from an expectant Loftus Road for a London derby that is of great consequence to both teams. For Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey replaces Gervinho midfield and Laurent Koscielny is fit to return after a knee problem. Andre Santos, out since early December with ankle ligament damage, is named among the substitutes to provide genuine competition for Kieran Gibbs. QPR will have to make do without the suspended Djibril Cisse while Joey Barton, captain of both club and controversy, returns to skipper the R’s.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Ramsey, Rosicky; van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Santos, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Gervinho, Chamakh, Benayoun.
QPR: Kenny; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo; Barton, Derry, Diakite, Taarabt; Mackie, Zamora. Substitutes: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Young, Wright-Phillips.
Hi I'm @arthurvirgo and welcome to Goal.com's Live commentary of QPR's match against Arsenal at Loftus Road. You can make your voice heard via @GoalUK or the comments section below.
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