London - Mikel Arteta's 84th-minute goal saw
Arsenal beat bottom club Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in the Premier League
on Saturday 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 on
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
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.
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.
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.
Like Arsenal, Manchester City also
succumbed to a damaging Champions League loss in mid-week, going down
3-1 at Ajax, but they can close to within a point of Chelsea if they
beat Swansea City in Saturday's late kick-off.
Fulham climbed to sixth after sharing six goals with Reading in an extraordinary 3-3 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
falling behind to a stunning long-range striker by Mikele Leigertwood,
Fulham hit back through substitute Bryan Ruiz and then pulled ahead in
the 77th minute when Chris Baird glanced home a header from Ruiz's
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 for the hosts by
bundling home from close range in the last minute.
superb volley by Ivan Ramis set Wigan Athletic on their way to a 2-1 win
at home to West Ham United that lifted the Latics up to 15th, while
Stoke City and Sunderland drew 0-0 at the Britannia Stadium.
Norwich City punished former coach Paul Lambert by holding Aston Villa
to a 1-1 draw that left Villa one place above the relegation zone.
Benteke, preferred to Darren Bent, put Villa ahead in the 27th minute
but the hosts had Joe Bennett sent off for a second bookable offence
early in the second half and Michael Turner equalised with 11 minutes to
Lambert, who made an acrimonious departure from Norwich in
the summer, has overseen just one win in his first nine league games at
the Villa Park helm.