Arteta gets Arsenal back on right track
Midfielder's late goal breaks QPR resistance and ends run of two defeats in a row
Mikel Arteta's 84th-minute goal saw Arsenal beat bottom club Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in the Premier League yesterday to snap a two-game losing streak and crown Jack Wilshere's comeback with victory.
Beaten by Norwich City and Schalke in their last two outings, Arsene Wenger's side looked destined for a third disappointing result in a row until Arteta finally found a way past QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Victory lifted Arsenal to fourth place, although they trail leaders Chelsea by seven points and will fall 10 points off the pace if the Blues prevail against Manchester United today.
Arsenal welcomed back Wilshere - who missed the whole of last season through injury - and Bacary Sagna at the Emirates and despite controlling the game, they squandered a number of chances in the first half.
Julio Cesar saved twice from Olivier Giroud, while Aaron Ramsey found the top of the crossbar with a header and Wilshere stung the Brazilian goalkeeper's palms from the edge of the box.
The QPR shot-stopper got down quickly to repel a Per Mertesacker header early in the second half, before Junior Hoilett had a lob correctly ruled out for offside at the other end.
Wilshere was substituted in the 67th minute and 10 minutes later, Santi Cazorla spurned a glorious opportunity to put Arsenal ahead when he blazed over from 12 yards after the ball fell kindly for him.
QPR centre-back Stephane Mbia was sent off for lashing out at Thomas Vermaelen and Julio Cesar brilliantly saved Samba Diakite from scoring an own goal before Arteta tapped in from close range following a goal-mouth scramble.
QPR came close to equalising three times in injury time - Esteban Granero shooting wide, Jamie Mackie firing straight at Vito Mannone after an enterprising run, and Mannone touching a Granero free-kick around the post - but Arsenal survived.
Fulham climbed to sixth after sharing six goals with Reading in an extraordinary 3-3 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
After falling behind to a stunning long-range strike by Mikele Leigertwood, Fulham hit back through substitute Bryan Ruiz and pulled ahead in the 77th minute when Chris Baird glanced home a header from Ruiz's corner.
Gareth McCleary equalised for Reading in the 85th minute before Dimitar Berbatov restored Fulham's lead three minutes later, only for Hal Robson-Kanu to snatch a share of the spoils in the last minute.
Elsewhere, a superb volley by Ivan Ramis set Wigan Athletic on their way to a 2-1 win at home to West Ham United, while Stoke City and Sunderland drew 0-0 at the Brittania Stadium. Earlier, Norwich City punished former coach Paul Lambert by holding Aston Villa to a 1-1 draw.