QPR end the year by making the short trip across London to face Arsenal at the spectacular Emirates Stadium. Neil Warnock has the opportunity to finish this year as he means to go on by selecting a team playing the fluid yet aggressive style that earned points against Stoke and Chelsea. It will be his 82nd game in charge of the R`s and his most frequent result has been a 1-1 draw which would please the majority of QPR fans today.
Arsenal were left feeling frustrated having failed to get three points against Wolves and will need to be more clinical against an out of form QPR side. The promise of Thierry Henry signing on loan next month is generating a real buzz amongst Arsenal fans but it is current star striker Robin Van Persie whom possesses the main threat ahead of the game. The Dutchman will beat Alan Shearer`s record of scoring 36 goals in a calendar year should he score a hattrick against Neil Warnock`s men.
In recent months, Arsenal have improved dramatically and Arsene Wenger must take a lot of credit for turning things around after the 8-2 drubbing to Manchester United. They now look solid at the back, even if Per Mertesacker is prone to the occasional clanger and they look potent going forward. Theo Walcott appears to be turning into the player many initially expected having improved his final delivery and awareness.
Swansea 1 (Graham)
QPR 1 (Mackie)
Team: Kenny, Young, Traore, Hall, Hill, Barton, Derry, Faurlin, Mackie, Taarabt, Helguson
Arsenal 1 (Gervinho)
Wolves 1 (Fletcher)
Team: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Djourou (Chamakh), Rosicky, Arteta, Song (Ramsey), Benayoun (Arshavin), Van Persie, Gervinho
Arsenal Team News:
Theo Walcott is likely to be in the squad after successfully recovering from an illness that kept him out of the Wolves match. Full-backs Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs are long term absentees.
Djourou – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen
Ramsey – Song – Arteta
Gervinho – Van Persie – Arshavin
Player to watch: Robin Van Persie
Vital QPR has singled out Robin Van Persie as the One to Watch
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
QPR Team News:
Anton Ferdinand is still unavailable but Shaun Wright-Phillips is vying for a place in the starting line-up after fully recovering from a knee injury.
Possible line up:
Young – Hall – Hill -Traore
Barton – Derry – Faurlin – Mackie
Taarabt – Helguson
Player to watch: Paddy Kenny
Having watched Wolves frustrate Arsenal, I can`t help but feel if Paddy Kenny can repeat Wayne Hennessey`s heroics, the R`s could stand a chance of picking up a point. There is no doubt that Arsenal will create plenty of chances and but like many, I believe Paddy Kenny to be one of the best goalkeepers in the league and there is no reason why he can`t have a blinder against the Gunners. With what might be another makeshift back four stepping out for the Super Hoops, I get the feeling Kenny will be kept rather busy by Van Persie, Walcott and co.
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: DLLLD
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 14
LAST TIME OUT
FA Cup – 27/01/01
Arsenal 6 (Plummer og, Wiltord x2, Rose, Pires, Bergkamp)
Team: Miklosko, Perry (Connolly), Carlisle, Rose, Plummer (Koejoe), Baraclough, Darlington, Peacock, Langley, Crouch, Kiwomya
Referee: M Atkinson
Assistants: S Beck & S Child
Fourth Official: L Mason
Martin Atkinson is the match official for Saturday`s game. This season Atkinson has issued 81 yellow cards and 8 red cards in 21 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
It is hard to see past an Arsenal win for this one. Unfortunately, QPR won`t have the quality to match Arsenal should they step up their game today. So far this season, the R`s have surprised the bigger sides with their efforts but the enthusiasm of a few months ago appears to have worn off, although the second half against Swansea was very encouraging.
QPR will need to keep it as tight as possible and look to hit Arsenal on the counter attack to stand any chance of winning. It is likely that Arsene Wenger will field four centre backs across the back four. This could leave them slightly exposed if matched up against the pace of Armand Traore and Shaun Wright-Phillips because Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny aren`t the most agile players and are easily turned. That said, Arsenal have too much quality up front, which I feel will prove to be the difference on the day.
3-0 Home Win
When:02/01/12 – 15:00