LONDON: Arsenal snapped back to winning ways after two defeats in a week in Premier and Champions League but it was not until six minutes from time that they ended the dogged resistance of Queens Park Rangers in north London.
Arsene Wenger’s men edged it 1-0 after having been frustrated for most of the game by poor finishing – Lukas Podolski shot wide early – and some fine saves from Julio Cesar, one particularly notable from Per Mertesacker in the first half.
Midway through the second half Podolski was replaced by Gervinho who was, in turn, injured and replaced by Andrei Arshavin who provided the assist which led to Mikel Arteta scrambling home the late winner from close range. By then QPR had been reduced to 10 men with Stephane Mbia having been sent off in the 80th minute for kicking out at Thomas Vermaelen.
QPR could have equalised in a thrilling finish but Esteban Granero and Jamie Mackie were out of luck against an Arsenal side welcoming back England midfielder Jack Wilshere after more than a year out. He was substituted midway through the second half.
Manchester City emerged from their own European hangover to maintain their unbeaten league record with a 1-0 win over Swansea at the Etihad Stadium.
Second-best for 45 minutes as a subdued home support took stock of their side’s Champions League troubles, City improved after half-time and took the points thanks to a Carlos Tevez goal in the 61st minute.
The striker’s first in nine games delivered just a second win in five home games, and the impression remains that Roberto Mancini’s champions are some way from hitting last season’s stride despite sitting just a point off top spot.
There was further discomfort for the manager when Micah Richards followed Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm in departing on a stretcher with what appeared a serious injury.
Winless Reading led 1-0 and then came from behind twice in the final six minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw at home to Fulham.
Mikele Leigertwood fired Reading ahead in the 26th minute only for Bryan Ruiz to level four minutes header. Chris Baird’s 77th-minute header put Fulham ahead but Garath McCleary made it 2-2 in the 85th minute. Dimitar Berbatov to appear to have won it for the Cottagers three minutes later but in the final minute substitute Hal Robson-Kanu rescued a point for Reading.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert failed to put one over on his old side as Norwich were well worth a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
Lambert, who left the Canaries in the summer, saw his new side go ahead in the 27th minute when Christian Benteke punished poor defending but the hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute when Joe Bennett received a second booking.
Norwich secured a deserved equaliser with Michael Turner’s 79th-minute header and had the chances to have won.
Wigan collected their first win in seven league matches by 2-0 at home to West Ham who thus missed the chance to move – temporarily at least – into a European spot.
Ivan Ramis volleyed home in the eighth minute and James McArthur doubled the lead two minutes after the break. James Tomkins headed a stoppage-time consolation but it was too little too late.
The match between Stoke and Sunderland finished goalless.
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