Theo Walcott scored within 20 seconds of play as Arsenal recorded a 1-0 win away to relegated QPR yesterday evening. The Gunners got off to the perfect start when a poor header from former Gunner Armand Traore went straight to an Arsenal shirt. Tomas Rosicky’s cross found Mikel Arteta, who played in Theo Walcott to score his 20th goal of the season. Walcott’s strike was the fastest goal Arsenal have scored in the Premier League era and the quickest goal in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal continued to look dangerous going forward, playing the ball nicely, but they still struggled to get chances in on goal. Theo Walcott again went close as his shot was saved by Robert Green and onto the post.
QPR began to threaten more towards the end of the first half as Ji-Sung Park and Bobby Zamora wasted chances that were created by Andros Townsend.
Townsend forced a good save out of Szczesny with a swerving shot early on in the second half.
Laurent Koscielny’s effort was saved comfortably by Green before Santi Cazorla’s was saved less comfortably by the keeper. Theo Walcott tested Green once again as the Gunners tried to make the game safe late on.
A curling effort from Loic Remy went very close to finding the back of the net. It was going in, but Szczesny pulled off a fantastic save as Arsenal were closing in on three points.
Arsene Wenger made 3 substitutions in the last 5 minutes to help run the clock down and kill the game off. In the end, the Gunners did just about enough to hold on for the win. It wasn’t a fantastic game of football, but at this stage of the season all that matters is getting 3 points on the board.
With both Tottenham and Chelsea winning this weekend, it was vital that Arsenal won too and that is what they did. Most Arsenal fans were eyeing up a more comfortable win after Walcott put them ahead after just 20 seconds, but as it turned out, it was only 1-0 and that one was enough.
QPR gave a good account of themselves. They were sloppy in the early stages of the game, particularly the opening 20 seconds, but early on they allowed the Gunners to dominate the possession and it was like a training ground fixture the way it was being played by Arsenal.
The hosts did eventually show up and make a game of it though. On another day, QPR could have stolen a point and Arsenal would be looking back on this game with huge regret. Thankfully they did not concede an equaliser, otherwise the top four would be looking much more of a challenge for them.
Arsenal’s next game is at home to Wigan on 14th May. The most crucial game in determining who will qualify for the Champions League will be played at Stamford Bridge this Wednesday as Tottenham travel to Chelsea in what is both team’s game in hand over Arsenal. A draw would be a good result for Arsenal in that, a Chelsea win would make catching them very difficult, but the top four would still be very much within Arsenal’s grasp and back in their control.