Relegation threatened Queens Park Ranger’s host Champions League hopefuls Arsenal on Wednesday at Loftus Road. Both sides enter into the fixture with near opposite form. QPR in their last 6 have only managed 1 victory losing the other 5 fixtures. Arsenal meanwhile, have recorded 5 victories in their last 6 the only blemish on that record being a sore 2-1 loss at White Hart lane to rivals Tottenham. Although teetering just above the drop zone QPR’s home record this season has been impressive. The R’s have only been beaten in 4 games at Loftus Road, managing to pick up 5 wins along the way. At home they are a much different side that had lost every away game they played until a recent win at Sunderland. Even the reigning champions Manchester City were unable to leave London with 3 points when they faced QPR.
Arsenal’s league form has been impressive recently, setting aside their humbling by Monaco in the Champions League and defeat in the North London Derby Wenger and his side have climbed into 3rd position in the league after a slow start. Where they have struggled is putting together a string of away victories this season, the last 5 times they have won away from home they have been beaten on their next away trip. Wenger will be looking to stop that run on Wednesday at QPR as his side look to consolidate their position in the Champions League spots, while Chris Ramsey will be hoping his team can put in another impressive home display to keep them out of the relegation zone for another week.
QPR’s injury list keeps the usual names with long term absentees; Faurlin, Dunne and Fer all out for at least 2 months. Nedum Onuoha and Mauricio Isla are listed as 2 days away from a return. This could mean they make the QPR bench for the visit of the Gunner’s or even enter straight back into the side depending how well they’ve recovered from their respective injuries. One player who will definitely not feature against Arsenal on Wednesday with be midfielder Joey Barton. The twitter addicted Englishman received a red card in QPR’s last match against Hull City and is suspended for the midweek fixture.
Arsenal’s injuries remain as is from the weekend. The Gunners are still some time away from a return for both Mathieu Debuchy and Mikael Arteta with Abou Diaby also not expected to return any time soon at all. Midfield duo Mathieu Flamini and Jack Wilshere are more likely for a sooner return. It was rumoured last week that Wilshere could make the bench in coming games, but with no return date confirmed yet we can only wait to hear from Manager Arsene Wenger more specifics on the two cases. Francis Coquelin is adoubt after breaking his nose against Everton on Sunday. Otherwise, it would be unlikely that there is much change to the side that won 2-0 against Everton at the weekend, barring of course fatigue to any players.
- You have to go back to March 2012 for the last time QPR beat Arsenal. It was a 2-1 win at Loftus Road
- Arsenal have won their last 3 meetings against QPR
- QPR have only managed 1 win in their last 8 matches against Arsenal.
- In 24 previous meetings at Loftus Road QPR have won on 11 occasions while Arsenal have only won on 7
- This match hasn’t ended in a draw since March 1996, a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road
- Each of Arsenals last 5 away victories have been followed by a defeat in their next away match. The won their last away game 2-1 at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace.
Queens Park Rangers: Charlie Austin
If there is a man QPR supporters will need to thank if their side survives relegation this year, its Charlie Austin. The former Swindon Town striker has been one of the breakout stars and surprise packages (for some) in the Premier League this season. His goal scoring record speaks for itself; 14 goals in 23 appearances for a side that currently outside the bottom 3 purely on goal difference is impressive. Heading into a home game with top 4 side is no easy task, but a striker who has proven his ability to find the net against both big and small teams always gives you a chance. After suffering what for his standards was a bit of a goal drought (no goal in 3 matches) Austin got himself back on the score sheet in the loss to Hull City last time out. If QPR have hopes of remaining in the Premier League at all, let alone picking up points against Arsenal on Wednesday they will need Austin firing at all cylinders. The Englishman thus far has been the savior on many an occasion for his side, the QPR fans will once again look to him as they pray for a shock result against a high flying London rival on Wednesday evening
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
The enigma that is Mesut Ozil. Arsenal fans must not know whether to stick or twist with him. After becoming one of the clubs most expensive signing in history there was a lot of expectation on the German playmakers shoulders. There has never been any doubt of his talents it’s just his ability to showcase it consistently. After an incredible frustrating even infuriating display in the Champions League against Monaco, Ozil showed up at the Emirates on Sunday and registered 2 assists in a 2-0 win. In fact no other Premier League players has assisted more than Ozil has so far in 2015. That is what he does best. His ability to carve out a chance and register an assist has been almost frightening throughout his career, from his Bundesliga days to his time at Real Madrid. On his day, there are not many better at playing his position than Mesut Ozil. The issue is whether he seems bothered to show up and play as he can. QPR on Wednesday evening will be a test for Ozil. It will be interesting to see how he does considering his fine form at the minute, in a pressure test playing away at Loftus Road in crowded midfield against a side scrapping for every touch. If Ozil can again come out of the match with assists, goals or even just an influential performance to his name it could be a sign of a corner turned for the playmaker as he looks to again establish himself as the best at what he does.
Although QPR have proven a difficult task to face at Loftus Road this season Arsenal have been getting positive results as of late in the league. Their 2-0 win against Everton at the weekend was not reflective of how the game went, points could have very easily been dropped. QPR’s recent form however is not indicative of a side set to cause a major upset by derailing a team on charge for a top 4 finish. If they are able to play to their strengths against Arsenals perceived ‘soft centre’ they may manage to pick up a point against the Gunners’ but, the loss of Leroy Fer I believe is major to QPR and his presence will be sorely missed in midfield especially in games like this. With the form players like Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil are on at the moment I can see thme breaking down QPR’s defence enough to come away with another huge 3 points en route to a potential 3rd place finish. Charlie Austin is capable of causing Arsenal’s defence problems making the away trip as uncomfortable as possible for Arsenal.
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