Giroud, Sanchez score as Arsenal beats struggling QPR 2-1 to stay 3rd in Premier League



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LONDON — Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez guided Arsenal to a 2-1 victory at Premier League struggler Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday.

Giroud's fifth goal in as many games came in the 64th minute before Sanchez ended a seven-game drought.

"It's good because when you don't score for seven or eight games it is on your mind even if you say it's not," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger of Sanchez's neat finish. "But he took his chance well and he's tricky and has a short back-lift and scored a good goal.

"He never gives up and that's the strength of a good striker as well. He's resilient and he showed that he has the mental strength to respond."

Charlie Austin set up a fraught finish for Arsenal by scoring with a fine 20-yard (meter) strike on the turn for QPR in the 82nd.

Arsenal clung on for a 10th win in 12 games in all competitions to stay third in the league despite spending the entire first half at Loftus Road struggling for any kind of control.

QPR wasted little time squeezing Arsenal right across the pitch, with stand-in captain Bobby Zamora offering a talismanic performance.

Zamora teed up strike partner Austin for two promising 20-yard efforts, but he could not provide a telling enough finish on either occasion.

Arsenal was restricted to just one significant goal-scoring opportunity in the first half, with Santi Cazorla hitting the target but failing to test goalkeeper Rob Green.

The Spain midfielder will no doubt have been frustrated not to catch his effort cleanly enough to blast past Green.

Arsenal finally found its missing fluency in the second half, with Rosicky immediately carving in behind Sandro to tee up the onrushing Mesut Ozil.

The Germany playmaker could not convert Rosicky's cross from close range, and wound up complaining he was pulled back by Karl Henry. QPR's defensive midfielder certainly made contact, and was fortunate not to cost his side a spotkick.

Sanchez weaved and stepped his way to another Arsenal chance as the early part of the half unfolded, but the forward curled his effort comfortably wide.

Austin had another 20-yard effort blocked as QPR attempted a rally, before Phillips fired just the wrong side of the near post.

When Arsenal finally went in front it came from a counterattack.

Ozil fed Sanchez to saunter from halfway to the edge of QPR's area, and the home defense backed off and allowed the Chilean to set Gibbs through on the overlap.

Even if Sanchez's reverse pass was neat, it should have been obvious. Instead QPR let Gibbs steam through and produce a low cross that Giroud turned home via a deflection.

"He can take criticism and respond, and he's shown that," Wenger said of Giroud.

Sanchez then doubled Arsenal's lead inside 10 minutes, turning Darnell Furlong inside out before dispatching an accurate low shot past Green.

Just when Arsenal expected to coast home, up popped Austin to blast home on the spin for his 15th goal of the campaign.

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