Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: QPR 2 Arsenal 1

There has always been something of the Tommy Cooper about Adel Taarabt – some of his tricks work, most do not – but QPR’s Moroccan magician took comparisons to a new level by donning a red fez after he scored his first Premier League goal.

Taarabt set QPR on their way to an invaluable victory over a subdued Arsenal, who were criticised for their poor attitude by Arsène Wenger afterwards.

Despite getting back into the game when Theo Walcott equalised Taarabt’s superb opening goal, Arsenal were second best for most of the match. The only surprise about QPR’s victory in the end was that the winning goal came from Samba Diakité, better known for breaking up play than breaking opposition hearts.

The result ended Arsenal’s run of seven successive league victories, while also giving QPR three points in their battle against relegation. Although they are still third from bottom, this win, following a draw with Everton and victory over Liverpool 10 days ago, has inspired optimism in manager Mark Hughes. “The bigger the challenge, the better we are,” he said. “Against Everton we did enough to win, Liverpool we overcame, and today was the best of the lot. To a man I thought we were exceptional, against a team who had brushed everyone aside in recent weeks. We thoroughly deserved the victory.”

Wenger paid tribute to the commitment of Hughes’s side, but was not so generous with his own players. “It was very frustrating because they left us the ball and waited for our mistakes. We took the ball, didn’t do a lot with it, and made mistakes.

“Our performance was not good enough to win this kind of game. In the duels they had a little bit of extra special commitment. We can only congratulate QPR for their attitude and be unhappy with our own performance.”

Pressed on whether his side looked complacent, he added: “It is difficult to say but why not? We played against a team fighting for survival. I felt subconsciously something was missing today. In the Premier League, if you miss something on the commitment front you are beaten.”

Wenger refused to criticise Thomas Vermaelen, who was at fault for both goals: “I do not want to single anybody out but we made defensive mistakes today.”

Vermaelen was beaten far too easily when Taarabt put QPR ahead in the 22nd minute. The Moroccan took a pass from Clint Hill with his back to goal, turned past Vermaelen with a clever flick and ran on to curl a delicious shot past Wojciech Szczesny from the edge of the penalty area. It was his first goal in 32 games at this level. His exuberant celebrations, which were capped by team-mate Joey Barton plonking a fez from the crowd on his head, earned Taarabt a booking from referee Mike Dean.

Rangers were well on top at that stage, with Bobby Zamora putting a free header over from close range and firing a shot straight at Szczesny. But the visitors equalised in the 37th minute when Robin van Persie flicked the ball to Walcott, whose first shot hit the post but rebounded kindly for him to drill the ball high past Paddy Kenny.

Rangers regained control and the lead when Diakité scored his first goal for the club. The Mali international, on loan from Nancy, had been dominant in his midfield holding role, but got forward to superb effect in the 66th minute. Barton released Jamie Mackie down the right, Vermaelen slipped and the ball was cut back for Diakité to place it high into the corner of Szczesny’s goal.

Chances came and went. Kenny punched away a fierce free-kick from Van Persie, then made an even better save from the Dutchman, tipping his drive away spectacularly.

Rangers could have scored more. Taarabt and Mackie set up Zamora but the striker dithered and his shot was blocked, Diakité shot just wide from the centre circle and a Barton shot was tipped over by Szczesny.

There was an agonising delay in stoppage time for QPR’s fans after one of their number threw what appeared to be a coin at an assistant referee as Van Persie prepared to take a free-kick. They greeted the final whistle with raucous acclaim.

Barton, who had been dropped for last weekend’s defeat at Sunderland having been booed by QPR fans the previous week, had written in his programme notes about the need for supporters to get behind all the players and make Loftus Road “a fortress”. He returned to the team and played a vital part in the victory, drawing praise from Hughes for his strength of character.

“Joey was different class and led from the front,” he said. “He got a lot of stick last time out because his performance level wasn’t high and he acknowledged that. The crowd willed him into a top-class performance. It was an outstanding performance from him and every one of them.”

It was a terrific collective performance from QPR, with Zamora leading the line bravely despite missing chances, while Hill and Anton Ferdinand held firm against a subdued Van Persie, who has now gone more than five hours of football without a goal.

Taarabt had the extra touch of class, as he showed in the Championship last season. “It was too easy for him at times last year, when he scored goal after goal. But his goal today was excellent and will do him the world of good,” said Hughes, who believes his side can get out of trouble. “If we play like that from now until the end of the season we will win more games – it’s a given.”

Tags: ,

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.