Arsenal remain within touching distance of the Premier League’s top four after victory over QPR – but only after being reduced to 10 men and conceding a second-half penalty. With the win Arsenal moves above Spurs to sixth and within 2 points of 4th place. Arsene Wenger’s 400th in the Premier League saw Giroud sent off for headbutt on Onuoha in the 53rd minute. Alexis Sanchez missed a spot kick but later headed Arsenal into the lead. Tomas Rosicky doubled their advantage after Giroud was sent off. Then, in a nervy climax, Mathieu Debuchy felled Junior Hoilett and QPR’s Charlie Austin converted from the spot.
Harry Redknapp men’s somehow soaked up wave after wave of attacks until, eventually, they caved in seven minutes before the break. A lovely move, featuring Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs, was finished off by Sanchez to give his team a deserved lead. That made up for the Chilean’s miss from the penalty spot after he was challenged clumsily by Armand Traore, with the diving Robert Green saving Sanchez’s tame effort. Although Giroud gifted the QPR a lifeline, the visitors were unable to test the Arsenal back four before Rosicky scored. Sanchez was the creator, elegantly weaving his way towards the box before releasing the equally impressive Czech, who swept home on his first league start of the term. Until Debuchy was penalised for bringing down Hoilett – though replays showed the defender did make contact with the ball – QPR were unable to test Arsenal.
That set up a dramatic final 10 minutes, but QPR were unable to breach Arsenal’s defence for a second time. The Gunners have nine points fewer than at the same stage last season, when they were level with league leaders Liverpool. Even after victory, which was Wenger’s 400th in the league, Arsenal remain 15 points behind leaders Chelsea and two points adrift of fourth-place Southampton, with every team in the top four also enjoying wins.