On December 26th, Queens Park Rangers travel to North London to take on Arsenal. These two sides had differing feelings after their matches on the weekend. QPR would have been elated after going 2-0 down and coming back to win 3-2. Arsenal would have been deflated after their match because they conceded the equaliser in their 2-2 draw in the 97th minute. After dropping those two points late, Arsenal are under pressure to get the three points against the west London club. The Hoops are only two points off the relegation zone, so they will want to try and build a gap between themselves and the bottom three. With QPR’s abysmal away record this season, Arsenal will be heavily favored, but the Gunners have been inconsistent this season and that will give QPR hope for a result.
Arsenal are embroiled in an injury crisis, as they seemingly always are. Arsene Wenger will be unable to select automatic starters Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny, and Mesut Ozil. They will also be without England man Jack Wilshere with both Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky undergoing late fitness tests for the match.
Harry Redknapp will be without Sandro, Adel Taarabt, and Alejandro Faurlin through long term injuries. Yun Suk-young will have a late fitness test to see of he can make the match at the Emirates.
- This will be the 48th time the two teams have met with Arsenal winning 21 of those, QPR winning 13 and the teams drawing 13 times.
- Arsene Wenger has faced QPR five times as Arsenal manager winning four and losing once.
- The Hoops have the worst away record in the league losing all eight of their away games while only scoring three goals.
- QPR also has the worst overall defensive record in the league conceding 32 goals, three more than anyone else in the Premier League.
- The only two teams that have scored more goals than Arsenal this season are Chelsea and Manchester City.
- Three of the last four times these two teams have met the match has finished one nil to the Arsenal.
Arsenal: Olivier Giroud
Since returning from his broken leg Olivier Giroud has been in great form. The Frenchman has scored three goals in his last two matches and has scored four goals since his return. The former Montpellier striker has scored five goals in four starts this season and seems to have benefited from both the competition of Danny Welbeck and the fact that he no longer has to play every game as the main striker with the arrival of the Englishman. Giroud was a big reason Arsenal were so good at beating the teams that they were supposed to beat last season. Now he will hope to help Arsenal do just that against QPR.
Queens Park Rangers: Charlie Austin
If QPR are to survive, Harry Redknapp will need Charlie Austin to continue his fantastic goal scoring form. Austin is the top scoring Englishman in the Premier League with 11 goals in 15 matches. The 25 year old has scored nine goals in his last eight matches making him one of the most in form strikers in the league. With Arsenal’s defence showing how vulnerable it has been this season, Austin could be a game changer and will be vital if QPR are to get their first result away from home this season.
Arsenal have been inconsistent this season, but they still should win this match. QPR have been abysmal away from home and the Gunners have only lost once at home in their last 26 home league matches. It is difficult to see anything else other than an Arsenal win in this one.