Premier League - Van Persie lifts Arsenal into fourth
The prolific Dutchman produced an emphatic finish to break the deadlock on the hour mark and earn his side all three points in a match which threatened to leave them frustrated with the visitors producing a typically doughty, combative display.
Van Persie's solitary strike ensured that he fell agonisingly just one goal shy of equalling Alan Shearer's Premier League record of 36 goals in a calendar year.
Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Andrey Arshavin were all drafted in along with Van Persie for Arsenal, while Neil Warnock brought in Radek Cerny at the expense of the injured Paddy Kenny with Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jay Bothroyd, Danny Gabbidon and Matthew Connolly also coming in.
The first real chance of the match belied the run of play, which had been almost entirely in Arsenal's favour, as Adel Taarabt picked out Wright-Phillips with a precise through-ball - but the winger's shot was smothered by Wojciech Szszesny, who spread himself to good effect.
The hosts enjoyed the majority of the play, however, and Van Persie could have scored in the 23rd minute as he met a delightful cross from Ramsey at the back post, but could only head wide of the near post.
The Dutchman again went close just after the half-hour mark as he sprinted through once more to latch on to Laurent Koscielny's pinpoint delivery, but he proceeded to volley over the crossbar with just the goalkeeper to beat with the odds stacked in his favour.
Arsenal were entitled to feel slightly aggrieved referee Martin Atkinson waved away their vociferous appeals for a penalty in the 35th minute as Koscielny's shot from the edge of the Rangers box was blocked by the hands of Luke Young, but the official was unimpressed.
QPR started the brighter in the second half as the visitors pegged Arsenal firmly back in their half and won a succession of corners, but ended with nothing to show for their efforts.
Walcott hared through on goal to receive Ramsey's incisive pass with just the goalkeeper to beat just before the hour mark, but the England winger inexplicably fired a tame shot wide, accompanied by a collective groan from the home fans.
But Walcott's blushes were spared just seconds later as Van Persie raced through on goal, finishing clinically beyond Cerny with a first-time shot from Arshavin's precise delivery to hand his side a deserved lead and finally break the visitors' resistance.
Arshavin very nearly doubled his side's advantage five minutes later but, just as the Russian was poised to shoot inside the QPR box, Young made a stunning interception, sliding in with an impeccable challenge to clear the danger.
Rangers did enjoy fleeting forays into the Arsenal half as they sought an elusive strike, and Taarabt drew a very fine save from Szczesny with a rasping drive from 25 yards which forced a reflex stop from the Pole.
Arsenal squandered another guilt-edged chance late on as a sweeping move saw Van Persie force his way to the left byline and cut the ball back for Gervinho, who somehow contrived to sidefoot the ball wide of the near post with just the goalkeeper to beat.
The victory lifts Arsenal above Chelsea into fourth place and just three points behind rivals Tottenham in third, albeit with Wenger's side having played a game more, while QPR slip to within two points of Wigan and the bottom three.