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Arsenal Loses 3-2 at Swansea as QPR Starts Hughes’s Tenure With 1-0 Defeat

Arsenal lost 3-2 at Swansea City yesterday to suffer a second straight defeat in soccer’s Premier League. Mark Hughes started his tenure as Queens Park Rangers manager with a 1-0 loss at Newcastle.

Danny Graham got Swansea’s winning goal in the 70th minute at the Liberty Stadium, less than a minute after Theo Walcott had brought Arsenal level. Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer also scored for the home team, with Robin van Persie getting an early goal for the Gunners.

“For us to score so quickly after they equalized was massive and we played good stuff towards the end,” Graham told Sky Sports. “We’re stood here with three points and I think we deserved it.”

Arsenal remains fifth in the 20-team standings ahead of Newcastle on goal difference. Swansea climbs three spots to 10th, and QPR stays in the relegation positions in 18th.

Manchester City tops the table with 48 points, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, with Tottenham two points back. Chelsea has 40 points, with Arsenal and Newcastle on 36. City plays at last-place Wigan today.

The Gunners led after five minutes at the Liberty Stadium as Van Persie scored for a 22nd time this season. The Dutch striker ran onto a pass from Andrey Arshavin and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Michel Vorm after being forced wide.

Swansea leveled from a penalty kick on 16 minutes, awarded for a foul by Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey on Dyer. Sinclair fired his spotkick past Wojciech Szczesny.

Swansea Leads

The hosts led for a first time 12 minutes after halftime, with Dyer scoring for a third straight match as he struck a powerful shot into the roof of the net. Arsenal had missed two good opportunities early in the half through Walcott and Arshavin.

Thierry Henry, who scored Arsenal’s winning goal in the F.A. Cup against Leeds on Jan. 9 on his return to the club on loan, was introduced along with Tomas Rosicky as the Gunners looked to turn the match around.

The changes appeared to have worked when Walcott lifted the ball over Vorm to make it 2-2 on 69 minutes. Swansea broke forward from the restart and Graham restored his team’s advantage.

Two minutes later, Gunners center-back Per Mertesacker scuffed the ball wide of the goal off the side of his foot from close range.

Swansea held on to record a fifth home league win of the season. The Welsh club has secured 20 of its 26 points at the Liberty Stadium.

QPR Slump Deepens

QPR’s winless streak in the league is now nine matches after yesterday’s defeat at Newcastle. The west London club, promoted as winner of the second-tier Championship last season, appointed Hughes on Jan. 10, two days after Neil Warnock was fired.

The Hoops trail 17th-place Blackburn on goal difference after their rival beat Fulham 3-1 two days ago. The three bottom teams are relegated at the end of the campaign.

Leon Best got the only goal for Newcastle to lift the Magpies above Liverpool into sixth. Best, without a goal for four months, cut inside fullback Luke Young before placing a low shot into the far corner of the net.

“It was always going to be difficult for us after such a short time with the squad, but I thought we acquitted ourselves very, very well,” Hughes told QPR’s website.

Two days ago, United tied City on points with a 3-0 win against Bolton, Tottenham was held to a 1-1 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea beat Sunderland 1-0. Liverpool had a scoreless tie against Stoke.

Norwich defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1, while Aston Villa and Everton tied 1-1.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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