Giroud and Sanchez strike to secure Arsenal victory in London derby at QPR

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates his goal at Loftus Road

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates his goal at Loftus Road - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Second half goals from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez secured Arsenal three points in their London derby against QPR at Loftus Road.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates putting Arsenal 1-0 up at Loftus Road.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud celebrates putting Arsenal 1-0 up at Loftus Road. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Despite the return of Mauricio Isla from injury, QPR boss Chris Ramsey handed Darnell Furlong his first start at Loftus Road having made his Premier League debut in the 2-1 defeat at Hull.

Nedum Onuoha returned to partner Steven Caulker at the heart of the Rangers defence with Rio Ferdinand missing through injury. Junior Hoilett and Sandro were handed their first starts since Harry Redknapp departed the club in February.

With Bobby Zamora partnering Charlie Austin up front, QPR went direct and Arsenal’s back four of Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs struggled to deal with the physical strength of the QPR strike-force.

On 22 minutes Austin fired off a shot after Zamora bumped over Gabriel with minimum contact but his effort was dealt with by David Ospina.

Queens Park Rangers' Nedum Onuoha (right) and Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (left) battle for the ballh at Lo

Queens Park Rangers' Nedum Onuoha (right) and Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (left) battle for the ballh at Loftus Road, - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Down the other end Giroud was found by Sanchez but his low drive from the left hand side of the peanalty area was easily saved by Rob Green.

Just after the half hour marl Karl Henry was booked for a foul on Tomas Rosicky and from the resulting free kick Giroud’s header was well cleared.

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The lively Matt Phillips’ briefly swapped wings with Hoilett and his cross from the left headed towards the goal but Ospina pushed the ball away to safety.

On 33 minutes Héctor Bellerín received a yellow card for a foul on Hoilett and three minutes later Gabriel was forced off and replaced by Koscielny and moments later Austin fired in a low drive which just missed the bottom right hand corner but it remained 0-0 at the break.

The visitors started the second half much better than the first and Green had to be alert to deny Ozil.

Having only recently returned from injury, Sandro was replaced by Niko Kranjcar on 55 minutes with the Croatian slotting in alongside Henry in central midfield.

A long punt forward from Hill towards Zamora fell for Phillips just outside the penalty area but his powerful strike fizzed wide of Ospina’s goal.

With 30 minutes reamaining a corner from Mesut Ozil took a touch off Giroud and fell to Rosicky but his shot was easily stopped by Green low down to his left.

It was a sign of things to come as the Gunners made the breakthrough thanks to Giroud’s strike on 63 minutes.

Kranjcar lost possession on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area and as Arsenal broke at pace the ball eventually fell for Giroud six-yards out and he smashed the ball low beyond Green.

With their tails up the Gunners didn’t hang about getting their second goal thanks to Sanchez who beat Furlong before shooting past Green at his near post.

It was harsh on Green who pulled off a number of superb saves to keep the score down.

Rangers were handed a lifeline when Austin gscored his 15th goal of the season on 82 minutes. The clinical forward was given time to turn on the edge of the box after controlling a cross from the left wing by Phillips, before smashing his shot beyond the dive of Ospina.

Rangers pushed forward looking for an equaliser but were unable to get level and will now switch their attentions to Saturday’s London derby against Arsenal’s fierce rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.

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