Steve Kean hopes Blackburn win silences critics

Blackburn boss Kean hopes stunning United win can silence Ewood Park critics

Blackburn manager Steve Kean is hoping his side”s stunning victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford will result in a cease fire in the fans” hostility towards him.

Kean was the subject of ferocious abuse at Ewood Park before Christmas, when Blackburn lost to Bolton, a result that condemned them to the Barclays Premier League basement.

Since then Rovers have picked up a point at Anfield and now registered the most surprising result of the entire Premier League season so far.

Party time: Steve Kean celebrates as Blackburn beat Manchester United

Party time: Steve Kean celebrates as Blackburn beat Manchester United

“I hope, in time, the fans who have been negative will turn as well and be with us and make a real intimidating atmosphere at Ewood Park,” he said.

“If the players carry on playing without fear, as we did today, we will climb the table.

“I have always respected the fans.

“I have had mail telling me to keep going. Obviously, in the ground and in the local media, it has been negative, which has been disappointing.

Hero: Grant Hanley (centre) celebrates scoring the winning goal

Hero: Grant Hanley (centre) celebrates scoring the winning goal

“It is a time where we need to get behind what we are trying to do.”

That Blackburn achieved today”s success despite the absence of 11 senior players just emphasised the magnitude of their victory.

It also underlined why Kean believes it is imperative for Rovers to act fast in the transfer market when it opens tomorrow.

Yet there are fears Venky”s will order further sales before they will sanction any purchases, having revealed annual losses in excess of 18million earlier this week.

Pumped up: Mark Bunn can

Pumped up: Mark Bunn can”t hide his delight at Blackburn”s famous win

“I hope not,” said Kean.

“It has not been said that is the case. We will try and keep together and bring bodies in.

“We lost key players in the last transfer window. We don”t want to do that again.

“We have targets and are moving forward with them. That will be an ongoing process like everyone else.

“I am sure we will bring people in.”

Sir Alex Ferguson labels Manchester United loss "a disaster"

Disaster! Ferguson hits out at United flops but refuses to blame De Gea for Blackburn loss

Sir Alex Ferguson has branded Manchester United”s stunning 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn this afternoon as “a disaster”.

United fell two behind to a couple of Yakubu efforts either side of the interval but quickly replied through Dimitar Berbatov, whose brace took his tally to five in two games.

However, as the pressure for a winner intensified, Blackburn broke and when David de Gea failed to collect a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner 10 minutes from time, Grant Hanley nodded the winner from close range.

Where

Where”s the “keeper David de Gea was culpable for Blackburn Rovers” winner

“It is a disaster,” said Ferguson, whose side failed in their quest to mark his 70th birthday by claiming top spot in the Barclays Premier League. “I never expected it. We lost two terrible goals and you can”t do that.”

After successive clean sheets from Anders Lindegaard, questions will now be asked over De Gea, who appeared to have recovered from his early season worries to reaffirm his status as United”s No 1.

The Spain Under 21 star”s culpability for Blackburn”s winner seemed obvious, although Ferguson refused to apportion blame.

Unhappy birthday: United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Unhappy birthday: United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

“We all could have done better,” he said, when asked about De Gea. “It was a bad goal to lose.”

Ferguson”s annoyance was rammed home in even more forceful fashion by former Blackburn defender Phil Jones, who was facing his former club in a fixture he lost 7-1 with Rovers last term.

“I am gutted,” he said. “The manager”s birthday as well. We weren”t at the races. Too slow, too laboured. Not quick enough. The injuries don”t help. But they are no excuse. We were nowhere near good enough.”

In fact, Jones felt United had not done themselves any favours by getting back on level terms so quickly.

“That was our downfall, coming back too soon,” he said. “I think we thought we had won it. We got two back, we thought we had won it and we eased off.

“They punished us. They thoroughly deserved their win. We weren”t at the races today. It will be a bad New Year”s Eve.

“I feel worse today than when we got smashed 7-1 last season playing for Blackburn. That puts into perspective how disappointed I am.”

For Blackburn boss Steve Kean it represented a stunning change in fortunes less than two weeks after it appeared certain he would be sacked after a terrible home defeat to Bolton.

“To come to a place like this and get a result is up there with our best wins,” he said. “As soon as it went to 2-1, we were thinking it was going to be tough. And at 2-2, it would have been a good point.”

Emmanuel Frimpong joins Wolves on-loan

Arsenal youngster Frimpong joins Wolves on-loan for rest of the season

Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong will join Wolves on loan from January 1 until the end of the season, the north London club have confirmed.

The 18-year-old has forced his way back into the reckoning after a serious knee injury on the eve of the 2010/11 season saw him sidelined until April, when he returned for the reserves.

On the move: Emmanuel Frimpong will join Wolves for six-months

On the move: Emmanuel Frimpong will join Wolves for six-months

The Ghanaian-born player returned to the first team this season and has made 14 appearances in all competitions.

Frimpong will join up with Mick McCarthy”s team tomorrow for the remainder of the campaign in order to get more first-team action.

He will be looking to make up for lost time which forced him to look on as the likes of Jack Wilshere, who he played with in the Gunners youth team, prospered and even forced his way into the England team.

Frimpong joined Arsenal as an 11-year-old and was a key part of the youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2009 and the Academy League title a year later.

Making his mark: Frimpong has played 14 times for Arsenal this season

Making his mark: Frimpong has played 14 times for Arsenal this season

He was first called up to the first team when he was named as a substitute in the 2008/09 Carling Cup aged just 16 but due to his injury last season, Frimpong did not make his full competitive debut until August 2011 in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

While he has represented England at youth level, Frimpong is still eligible to represent Ghana at senior level although manager Arsene Wenger has urged the former to secure the player”s services.

A statement from Arsenal said: “Everyone at Arsenal wishes Emmanuel the best of luck during his time at Molineux.”

Glodie Tudiesche says Teddy Tamgho Olympic victory would be "medal of shame" after ban

Tudiesche says Tamgho Olympic victory would be “medal of shame” after ban

Glodie Tudiesche, the female athlete involved in the altercation which saw triple jumper Teddy Tamgho banned by the French Athletics Federation, has hit out at the leniency of the sanction, which will allow Tamgho to compete at the London Olympics.

Tamgho was banned for six months, with another six suspended, and ordered to pay a fine of 1,500 euros andcomplete 50 hours” community service over the clash with Tudiesche at atraining camp.

The latter”s identity was not disclosed at the time but she conducted an interview with Radio Monte Carlo today in which she labelled the suspension meaningless and argued that Tamgho should miss the summer”s Games.

In trouble: But Teddy Tamgho will be able to compete at the London Olympics

In trouble: But Teddy Tamgho will be able to compete at the London Olympics

“It”s not normal or logical that this man should represent France at the Olympic Games,” said Tudiesche.

“I don”t want to end his career, which is a brilliant one, but that doesn”t give him the right to do anything. (If he is on the podium) I will feel bitter because justice will not have been done.

“I am not here to hope he fails, but it would be a medal of shame. He could at least look me in the eye and apologise.”

Much of Tamgho”s six-month absence will be occupied by his rehabilitation following a broken ankle, adding to Tudiesche”s frustration.

“It is a false penalty because he is returning from injury and had decided to skip the winter and not resume until early summer for the World Championships in France,” she said.

“His suspension ends just before that. There is no justice.”

Newcastle 14 Northampton 32: Saints go third after Foden brace clips Falcons" wings

Newcastle 14 Northampton 32: Saints go third after Foden brace clips Falcons” wings

Northampton moved up to third place in the Aviva Premiership with a five-point bonus win against beleagueredNewcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.

England full-back Ben Foden scored two cleverly worked tries at the start of each half to put the Saints in the driving seat.

Giant prop Soane Tonga”uiha was driven over for the visitors” third while former Falcons man Tom May delivered the fourth try – and the bonus point – four minutes from time with his first touch after coming on as a late replacement.

Double trouble: Northampton

Double trouble: Northampton”s Ben Foden, who scored twice against Newcastle, is held up

Victory sees Northampton leapfrog from sixth to third and leaves Newcastle firmly anchored at the foot of the table which makes next weekend”s home game against Exeter a must-win for the Falcons.

Ryan Lamb kicked two conversions and two penalties and substitute Stephen Myler also landed a conversion while Jimmy Gopperth kicked three penalties for Newcastle.

Suka Hufanga scored a first half try Northampton were 10-0 up in as many minutes against a Newcastle side who are notoriously slow starters and the Saints scored their first try with embarrassing ease after Lamb”s fourth-minute penalty.

On target: Ryan Lamb kicks a penalty for Northampton

On target: Ryan Lamb kicks a penalty for Northampton

The try came from Newcastle”s inability to win hardly anything at the line-out – they lost five out of eight of their own throws in the first half – and the real surprise was the Saints only made it really count when a slick move saw George Pisi push an excellent rolling kick behind the Falcons defence and the ball stood up nicely for Foden to cruise in at the corner, Lamb converting.

Gopperth”s inside break and Hufanga”s fast feet had Saints backpedalling and Ally Hogg”s drive brought a penalty which Gopperth knocked over in the 14th minute.

Another Gopperth inside break sent Hufanga racing in for a 20th-minute Falcons try.

Gopperth surprisingly missed the conversion but, trailing by just two points, Newcastle were back in the game.

No way through: Newcastle prop Taiasana Tu

No way through: Newcastle prop Taiasana Tu”ifua is tackled by Northampton”s Courtney Lawes

However, their inability to win any consistent line-out ball was a persistent problem and Newcastle spent most of the time in their own half.

Despite that, all Northampton had to show for all their possession was Lamb”s 31st-minute penalty and in a rare period of Falcons pressure, winger Scott Armstrong was in his own 22 and conceded a 36th minute penalty which Gopperth kicked to bring the hosts to within two points again.

Newcastle edged into the lead for the first time when Gopperth landed his third penalty early in the second half – but it did not last long with Foden grabbing his second try in the 49th minute.

Bad end to the year: Newcastle boss Alan Tait looks on

Bad end to the year: Newcastle boss Alan Tait looks on

It was almost a replica of his first half score, with Lamb this time pushing a rolling kick through and Foden surged after it – leaving flanker Richard Mayhew trailing to touch down in the corner.

Lamb squeezed over the conversion for the Saints to lead 20-14. It was the signal for Northampton to turn the screw and from a lineout Soane Tonga”uiha was driven over in the 56th minute for 25-14.

Had Vasily Artemyev been able to hang on to Lamb”s lovely crossfield kick it would have been another try just a few minutes later.

Gopperth”s 66th-minute penalty miss just about summed up Newcastle”s afternoon and they lost Tim Swinson to the sin-bin for a high tackle – and in the last 10 minutes Northampton did pretty much as they pleased.

There were plenty of gaps appearing and Northampton”s fourth try came from some slick inter-passing down the right, Tom May scoring with his almost his first touch after coming on as replacement in the 77th minute.

It was enough to secure the four-try bonus point – and Stephen Myler converted.

Gary Cahill will join Chelsea, says Owen Coyle

Coyle remains convinced Cahill will join Chelsea as he denies transfer snag

Bolton manager Owen Coyle denied there had been a hitch in Gary Cahill”s proposed move to Chelsea after the defender played possibly his last game for the Trotters in a 1-1 draw with Wolves.

Coyle revealed a fee had been agreed for the England international but his Chelsea counterpart Andre Villas-Boas then described the two parties as being “miles apart” in their negotiations.

Cahill received a great reception as he captained Bolton on Saturday and made a point of clapping all sides of the Reebok Stadium after the game.

Giving his all: Gary Cahill played what will likely be his last game for Bolton

Giving his all: Gary Cahill played what will likely be his last game for Bolton

Coyle, who denied another club were involved, stressed there had been only one meeting between Cahill”s agent and Chelsea, and insisted the deal was progressing as expected.

He said: “I heard what Andre Villas-Boas said the other day that they were a bit apart. He”s obviously heard from the one meeting.

“They”ve only had one meeting with Gary”s representative and then, with the games coming up, I had to make sure Gary was focused. Gary hasn”t spoken to Chelsea yet.

“It”s like anything else, if I got into a meeting with you, we”re not going to shake hands after two seconds and agree, you”re going to be apart, that”s how negotiations work.

“Whatever comes in the next few days, it”ll come, but if it doesn”t then Gary remains a Bolton player.”

Coyle also said he had had no doubts about playing Cahill, adding: “I know his character, he was focused, I thought his performance was terrific. I knew mentally he”d be fine.”

Bolton 1 Wolves 1: Super Fletcher grabs the equaliser as Wolves hang on against Wanderers

Bolton 1 Wolves 1: Super Fletcher grabs the equaliser as Wolves hang on against Wanderers

Sam Ricketts marked his return from more than 10 months out injured with a superb goal for Bolton but it was not enough to prevent the Trotters beginning 2012 at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table as Wolves hit back to earn a point.

The full-back, making his first appearance since rupturing an Achilles in February, had never scored for Bolton before but he showed a striker”s eye for goal in the 22nd minute with a fine curling shot into the far corner from 25 yards.

Bolton deserved their half-time lead despite Stephen Ward”s thunderbolt against the bar but Wolves levelled less than four minutes into the second period when Steven Fletcher headed home Matt Jarvis” free-kick.

Back in business: Steven Fletcher celebrates his equaliser for Wolves

Back in business: Steven Fletcher celebrates his equaliser for Wolves

MATCH FACTS

Bolton: Jaaskelainen,Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Ricketts, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Ngog (Kevin Davies 88) Klasnic (Tuncay 77). Subs not used: Bogdan, Robinson, Eagles, Wheater, O”Halloran.

Scorer: Ricketts 22

Wolverhampton:Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi (Edwards 46), Hunt (Foley 81), Henry, Ward, Jarvis, Fletcher (Doyle 68), Ebanks-Blake. Subs not used: De Vries, Hammill, Doherty, Guedioura.

Scorer: Fletcher 49

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Attendance: 20,354

Defender Gary Cahill captained the side despite a fee having been agreed with Chelsea, and he received a warm reception from fans when his name was read out.

Bolton had looked nervous and short on confidence in their 2-0 defeat by Newcastle on Boxing Day, making this really a must-win game, particularly given Blackburn”s shock victory at Manchester United, which left the Trotters bottom at kick-off.

Manager Owen Coyle had called for his side to show more character following Monday”s loss and this time they came up with the goods, playing with greater assertiveness and attacking at speed down the flanks.

They still did not create too many opportunities early on, and when they did David Ngog shot tamely at Wayne Hennessey and Ivan Klasnic was denied by good defending from Richard Stearman.

Bolton got the goal their play deserved midway through the half, and it was a moment of real quality from Ricketts, who picked up the ball in space 35 yards out and drove forward before curling a brilliant effort past Hennessey.

Turn up: Sam Ricketts scores the opener for Bolton, his first goal for five years

Turn up: Sam Ricketts scores the opener for Bolton, his first goal for five years

Wolves had offered little in attack but they came within a whisker of equalising 12 minutes before the break when Ward let fly from 25 yards and his shot smacked against the crossbar.

Petrov was proving a key figure down the left for Bolton and another surging run took him to the byline before he cut the ball back for Klasnic, whose shot into the ground produced a smart stop from Hennessey.

Tough times: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy

Tough times: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made a substitution at half-time, sending on Dave Edwards for George Elokobi, and within four minutes the visitors were level.

Wolves won two free-kicks in quick succession and from the second Jarvis sent in a wicked ball that Fletcher headed in from close range with Jussi Jaaskelainen rooted to the spot.

Heading practice: Steven Fletcher scores for Wolves

Heading practice: Steven Fletcher scores for Wolves

It was an eighth goal of the season for the Scot, who was brought to England in 2009 by Coyle when he was at Burnley.

The hosts would have been back in front in the 55th minute but for a super save from Hennessey, who got down brilliantly to keep out Fabrice Muamba”s well-struck volley.

No seasonal cheer: Bolton boss Owen Coyle looks on

No seasonal cheer: Bolton boss Owen Coyle looks on

Bolton had not let their heads drop but Wolves were protecting Hennessey pretty well and the only shots the keeper had to deal with were a couple of poked efforts from Mark Davies.

Bolton were getting closer and, after Christophe Berra had almost diverted the ball into his own net under pressure from Ngog, Steinsson drew another clawing save from Hennessey with a header from Petrov”s corner.

Farewell: Bolton defender Gary Cahill

Farewell: Bolton defender Gary Cahill

Both managers made changes up front, with Kevin Doyle coming on for Fletcher while Tuncay Sanli replaced Klasnic, and it was the Wolves man who almost made the breakthrough in the 81st minute but his header from Stephen Hunt”s cross was well blocked by Jaaskelainen.

Bolton had not drawn a Barclays Premier League match since February and it was not the result they wanted today, but it could have been worse had a combination of Mark Davies and a post not kept out Tuncay”s wayward header in front of his own goal.

Slick: Bolton

Slick: Bolton”s Mark Davies holds off Wolves” Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

Tensions were growing and Jaaskelainen and Zat Knight had a set-to after the keeper declined to come out to collect a throughball, while Jaaskelainen then did well to get a hand to the ball as Doyle found himself through one-on-one.

Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 3: Boos across the Bridge as Blues slip out of top four

Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 3: Boos across the Bridge as Blues slip out of top four

Chelsea”s habit of conceding late goals returned to haunt them again as defeat to Aston Villa saw them suffer the worst possible end to 2011.

The signing of Gary Cahill cannot come quickly enough on the evidence of the final 10 minutes today, which saw Villa exploit some horrible defending to snatch an unlikely victory, much as Arsenal and Liverpool had done earlier in the season.

Stiliyan Petrov and substitute Darren Bent both scored in the final seven minutes, putting another nail in the Barclays Premier League title hopes of the Blues, who have now taken just three of the last 12 points on offer and have dropped out of the top four.

Didier Drogba”s penalty – his 150th Chelsea goal – had given the home side the lead but Stephen Ireland put his off-field problems behind him to equalise before the late drama.

Disappointing defeat: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side beaten in their final game of 2011

Disappointing defeat: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side beaten in their final game of 2011

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira (Bosingwa 75), Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu (Lampard 57), Meireles, Sturridge (Torres 62), Drogba, Mata. Subs not used: Turnbull, Malouda, Kalou, Hutchinson.

Booked: Terry.

Scorer: Drogba (pen) 23.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Albrighton (Gardner 78), Petrov (Bannan 84), Clark, N”Zogbia (Bent 78), Ireland, Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Marshall, Hutton, Delfouneso, Weimann.

Booked: Cuellar.

Scorers: Ireland 28, Petrov 83, Bent 86.

Referee: Mark Halsey.

Attendance: 41,332.

They had been boosted before kick-offby the news of Manchester United”s shock home defeat to Blackburn as they sought to end a run of three straight draws and keep their fading championship hopes alive.

They were immediately on the attack and James Collins stopped Juan Mata testing Brad Guzan from close range.

But the hosts were soon grateful themselves when David Luiz did enough to prevent Gabriel Agbonlahor getting a clean header on Marc Albrighton”s cross.

Both sides began giving the ball awaybefore Ireland wasted a great chance to slide in Albrighton, with Villabelying their recent run of one win in seven.

But they shot themselves in the foot in the 22nd minute when Richard Dunne lunged in on Drogba and referee Mark Halsey awarded a penalty.

Drogba stepped up to score straight down the middle, going level on 150 Chelsea goals with Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood, who is buried under the Shed End penalty spot.

But as against Fulham on Boxing Day, the Blues conceded less than 10 minutes after taking the lead.

Up and running: Didier Drogba hits his 150th goal for Chelsea

Up and running: Didier Drogba hits his 150th goal for Chelsea

Charles N”Zogbia got to the byline and cut the ball back for Ireland, whose shot was blocked on the line byJohn Terry – possibly by a hand – straight back to the midfielder, who slotted home his first goal for Villa and first for more than two years.

It was the perfect response by the midfielder to his Twitter troubles after manager Alex McLeish admonishedhim for being pictured apparently smoking a Shisha pipe.

Level pegging: Stephen Ireland converts from close-range

Level pegging: Stephen Ireland converts from close-range

Terry was then booked for clattering into Agbonlahor on the halfway line before Stephen Warnock threw himselfforward to block Mata”s shot.

Chelsea started the second half as they did the first, Daniel Sturridge close to connecting with Mata”s low cross.

Silencing the crowd: Aston Villa rejoice after Ireland

Silencing the crowd: Aston Villa rejoice after Ireland”s equaliser

But Villa remained a threat and Collins almost inadvertently bundled home N”Zogbia”s free-kick before Agbonlahor missed a glorious 53rd minute chance on the break.

The visitors burst forward after a Chelsea attack, perfectly exploiting a three-on-one to release Agbonlahor, whose finish was too close to Petr Cech.

Crisp strike: Stiliyan Petrov fires Aston Villa intot he lead

Crisp strike: Stiliyan Petrov fires Aston Villa intot he lead

Villas-Boas threw on the axed Frank Lampard for Oriol Romeu four minutes later, moments before Agbonlahor dragged another chance wide.

Mata almost conjured up a chance for Sturridge with some magical wing play, with the latter immediately replaced by Fernando Torres.

Sealing the deal: Darren Bent makes it 3-1 to ensure Villa take home all three points

Sealing the deal: Darren Bent makes it 3-1 to ensure Villa take home all three points

The Spaniard, who had also been dropped, was desperately unlucky not to make an instant impact, crashinga 30-yard shot against the crossbar – possibly via a deflection.

Ashley Cole had a handball appeal against Dunne waved away by Halsey, who did then book Carlos Cuellar fora robust tackle on Drogba.

The pain game: John Terry grimaces after Ireland

The pain game: John Terry grimaces after Ireland”s tackle

There was some light relief when a fan invaded the pitch and proceeded to hug Terry before being ejected asChelsea poured forward.

Drogba fired Torres” through ball wide, with Jose Bosingwa then replacing Paulo Ferreira for the final 15 minutes, the substitute immediately testing Guzan from 25 yards.

Meeting your hero: A pitch invader greets John Terry with a kiss

Meeting your hero: A pitch invader greets John Terry with a kiss

Villa sent on Bent and Gary Gardner for N”Zogbia and Albrighton but remained on the back foot until dramatically taking the lead seven minutes from time.

Ciaran Clark was allowed to carry theball forward and Petrov ran into what was mammoth gap between Terry andLuiz to clip the ball over Cech.

Sacre bleu: Charles N

Sacre bleu: Charles N”Zogbia looks flabbergasted as Drogba and Stephen Warnock share a moment

Petrov limped off injured with Barry Bannan coming on and it was game over three minutes later, Lampard”s pass intercepted by Ireland, who burst forward and squared for Bent to beat the onrushing Cech.

Chelsea were jeered off by their own fans, who will be hoping for much better in 2012.

Arsenal 1 QPR 0: Robin van Persie misses out on record

Arsenal 1 QPR 0: Dutch of class settles it as Van”s the man for the Gunners again

Robin van Persie may have been thwarted in his hunt for a Premier League goalscoring record but was on hand to help Arsenal end 2011 with victory against QPR today.

The Gunners captain had 90 minutes to net twice against the Rs to equal Alan Shearer”s record of Premier League goals in a calendar year.

Having wasted four decent chances in the first period, van Persie swept home his first opportunity of the second half after latching onto Andrey Arshavin”s neat ball.

Dutch of class: Robin van Persie once again proved the difference for Arsenal

Dutch of class: Robin van Persie once again proved the difference for Arsenal

Dutch of class: Robin van Persie once again proved the difference for Arsenal

Dutch of class: Robin van Persie once again proved the difference for Arsenal

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen (Coquelin 54), Song, Arteta, Walcott (Gervinho 74), Ramsey, Arshavin (Rosicky 67), Van Persie. Subs not used: Almunia, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Benayoun.

Goals: Van Persie 60

Booked: Vermaelen, Djourou

QPR: Cerny, Young, Connolly, Gabbidon, Traore (Orr 77), Faurlin, Barton, Mackie (Smith 74), Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Bothroyd (Campbell 64). Subs not used: Murphy, Hill, Derry, Helguson.

Booked: Young, Barton

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

However, the Holland international failed to add to his 60th minute effort and missed the chance to equal the former Blackburn striker”s 36-goal haul from 1995.

Van Persie was not the only Arsenal player left ruing missed opportunities, with Theo Walcott and substituteGervinho both guilty of failing to convert gilt-edged chances.

The Gunners” futility led to a nervy ending against spirited QPR, although resolute defending saw the majority of the 60,067 crowd go home happy.

Before kick-off Arsenal legend Tony Adams was given a standing ovation on the Emirates pitch. The former captain”s appearance failed to boost today”s side, though, with QPR dominating the opening exchanges.

After Per Mertesacker thwarted an Adel Taarabt through ball, ex-Arsenal striker Jay Bothroyd soon found space to get away a 20-yard effort on goal in the ninth minute.

That

That”s for you boss: After last week”s frustration, Arsene Wenger was delighted with his captain

Wojciech Szczesny held with ease but looked less comfortable when an exquisite Taarabt pass put Shaun Wright-Phillips behind the Gunners” backline a minute later, forcing thePolish goalkeeper into a quick block.

QPR were playing with confidence in north London, although a moment of van Persie magic could have easily seen the home side break the deadlock.

The Arsenal skipper jinked back and forth on the right-hand side, before sneaking past his marker and toe-poking an effort on goal from close range, but without success.

Not quite yet: Van Persie did have a host of other opportunities to get the record

Not quite yet: Van Persie did have a host of other opportunities to get the record

Former Tottenham playmaker Taarabt was fortunate to escape punishment from referee Martin Atkinson in the 19th minute when he seemingly caught Arshavin with a stray arm.

Joey Barton fired a shot across the face of goal with the Russia international still grounded, before van Persie twice came close at the other end.

Getting to grips: Theo Walcott struggled to make much impact on the game

Getting to grips: Theo Walcott struggled to make much impact on the game

The Dutch striker first backtracked furiously to head just wide, before wriggling past Luke Young in the boxand lifting the ball just over the bar.

The Gunners were in the ascendancy and van Persie fired just over the bar after being put through by a long ball from the back.

Arsenal twice had penalty shouts rejected as half-time approached, before a goalbound Aaron Ramsey effortwas cleared off the line by Barton and Cerny parried a fierce Mikel Arteta drive.

Fighting fire with fire: Arsenal showed plenty of fighting spirit in the face of firm opposition

Fighting fire with fire: Arsenal showed plenty of fighting spirit in the face of firm opposition

QPR looked rejuvenated after the break and Jamie Mackie found the net within two minutes, although the whistle had already been blown for offside.

Armand Traore”s dangerous left-wing cross caught Arsenal off guard five minutes later, but Alejandro Faurlin”s miscued shot allowed Szczesny to gather comfortably.

Head boy: The Gunners even posed a threat from set-pieces, with Per Mertesacker doing well

Head boy: The Gunners even posed a threat from set-pieces, with Per Mertesacker doing well

Wenger”s side were looking most dangerous on the break and Walcott should have scored the afternoon”s opening goal in the 56th minute.

Ramsey put the former Southampton manthrough one on one with Cerny and, despite the goalkeeper diving the wrong way, Walcott somehow pulled his shot wide.

Star quality: Thierry Henry was in the stands, and the fans gave him a heroes welcome

Star quality: Thierry Henry was in the stands, and the fans gave him a heroes welcome

Star quality: Thierry Henry was in the stands, and the fans gave him a heroes welcome

Fortunately that lack of composure did not haunt the Gunners, who broke the deadlock through van Persie four minutes later.

Arshavin found time and space on the left flank to find the Arsenal skipper, who swept a left-footed drive past Cerny inside the box.

Captain Fantastic: Gunners legend Tony Adams was also in attendance as he visited the statue made his honour

Captain Fantastic: Gunners legend Tony Adams was also in attendance as he visited the statue made his honour

Young”s block stopped Arshavin doubling the north Londoners” advantage, before Taarabt forced Szczesny into a low save to prevent a curling effort finding the net.

The shot began a bright spell for thewest Londoners, who saw Connolly blaze over and felt aggrieved not to receive a penalty when Taarabt went down under substitute Francis Coquelin”s challenge.

On Song: Other results across the country made it all the more important for Arsenal to fight for the points

On Song: Other results across the country made it all the more important for Arsenal to fight for the points

Arsenal, having seen a rasping Ramsey effort come close, were close again through Gervinho.

The indomitable van Persie showed strength and skill to lose his marker and cross for the Ivory Coast international, who somehow put wide from close range.

Arsenal continued to press for a second as the game drew to a close but were thwarted, with Ramsey and van Persie both unable to find the net.

Andy Murray appoints Ivan Lendl as his coach

Murray appoints eight-time grand slam winner Lendl as full-time coach

Andy Murray has appointed former world No 1 Ivan Lendl as his full-time coach.

World No 4 Murray will begin working with Lendl immediately as they prepare for the Australian Open next month.

“Ivan”s impact on the game is unquestionable and he brings experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments,” said the 24-year-old Scot.

New year, same target: Murray is desperate to seal his first grand slam title

New year, same target: Murray is desperate to seal his first grand slam title

Murray added: “It was important to me that any new person joining my team was able to add fresh insight.

“I look forward to working with him going forward.”

Czech-born Lendl, 51, is one of the most decorated players of all time, a winner of eight grand slam tournaments. In a statement released through Murray”s management company, Lendl said: “I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Andy.

“He is a unique talent and I look forward to trying to help him reach his goals.”

Moving forward: The British No 1 has appointed Lendl (left) as his full-time coach

Moving forward: The British No 1 has appointed Lendl (left) as his full-time coach

Murray has experienced a mixed 2011. Currently the world No 4, he enjoyed a spell at No 3 before dropping back behind Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

He reached the final of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the other three grand slams. And he enjoyed a rich run of form later in the year, lifting titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and at the Shanghai Masters before seeing his 17-match winning streak ended by Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters in early November.

His season ended with disappointment, pulling out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London with injury.

But that ultimate grand slam prize continues to elude him, however, and it will be hoped Lendl”s presence will play dividends in 2012.

And with the Olympics in London taking place in the summer, Murray has set his sights on a successful year. Simon Fuller, Murray”s manager and business partner, said: “Andy”s achievements in 2011 have demonstrated the quality of his game.

“Having a champion like Lendl join his team will help him achieve his ultimate ambitions.”