Soccer / English Premier League / Misfiring Gunners edge past QPR
Manchester City climbs to second place with nervy 1-0 win over Swansea.
LONDON - Mikel Arteta struck with six minutes remaining to give unconvincing Arsenal a 1-0 win over Queen's Park Rangers in the Premier League yesterday.
Champion Manchester City, meanwhile, was 1-0 winner over Swansea City; Wigan Athletic beat West Ham United, while Reading and Fulham shared six goals in a thriller.
Arsenal struggled for rhythm and penetration and looked like going a third straight game without a goal when Stephane Mbia was sent off with 11 minutes remaining after he kicked out at Thomas Vermaelen.
Julio Cesar made an extraordinary reaction save as a clearance cannoned goalwards off Nedum Onuoha and he made another superb block in the build-up to the goal, the ball also striking the bar before Arteta forced it in from close range.
"When you lose two games the confidence goes quickly, for us today the most important thing was to win the game and it was a fight against a good QPR side and a fight against the nerves as well," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
"You could see the confidence was not completely there. We were serious and it was important not to make mistakes and to take one of our chances, and that's what happened.
"It became easier when Mbia was sent off. Apart from that, I feel the team sometimes has to go through that and come out with the points, and that's what we did today."
Jack Wilshere returned for Arsenal, making his first appearance since May 2011 after a series of ankle and knee injuries, and survived 67 minutes unscathed before being substituted. Gervinho, though, had to be stretchered off with an ankle injury.
QPR are still without a win this season, as are Reading, who drew 3-3 at home to Fulham.
Mikele Leigertwood put Reading ahead midway through the first half with a superb finish from Jobi McAnuff's lay-off, but Bryan Ruiz smashed an even better strike in off the underside of the bar to level after 61 minutes.
Chris Baird headed in a John Arne Riise corner to put the away side ahead, then Garath McLeary leveled with five minutes remaining.
Dimitar Berbatov, playing on after fracturing a rib, put Fulham back ahead with a typically excellent finish but in injury-time Hal Robson Kanu bundled in another equalizer from a free-kick.
City had struggled to break down Swansea City but eventually got the only goal just after the hour, Carlos Tevez capitalizing on Gael Clichy's surging run to sweep a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Both Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm and City defender Micah Richards were stretchered off.
Wigan, meanwhile, beat West Ham 2-1. Ivan Ramis volleyed Wigan into an eighth-minute lead and a James McArthur strike from just inside the box doubled that advantage two minutes after the break. James Tomkins pulled one back in injury-time.
"Before the game we knew it was a must-win game, and that's always difficult to cope with," said Wigan manager Roberto Martinez. "It brings extra expectations and all of a sudden you start wanting to win and you don't really know how to win."
In Birmingham, Michael Turner headed a 78th-minute equalizer as Norwich City drew 1-1 at Aston Villa.
Although Norwich had most of the early play, it was Villa who took the lead after 27 minutes, Christian Benteke converting a cross from Joe Bennett.
Bennett was sent off after collecting a second yellow card seven minutes into the second half, allowing Norwich to take even more control.
Stoke City and Sunderland drew their sixth games of the season in a 0-0 stalemate at the Britannia Stadium.