Arsenal v QPR – Saturday 31st December – Emirates Stadium (17:00)
Arsenal will look to continue their rise up the table when they host newcomers Queens Park Rangers to their majestic Emirates Stadium.
After a slow start to the Premier League, Arsenal find themselves back in the title race and back to the formidable form they are known for. At the time of writing Arsenal were just 2 points behind Chelsea with a home match they should win against Wolves on Tuesday night. Together with Tottenham, the three London teams look likely to fiercely contest for a place in the coveted top 4 Champions League spots for the rest of the season. Arsene Wenger’s side have been near-faultless in recent months, with just two sides – Fulham and Manchester City – managing to take points from them since October. Indeed, Aston Villa were three minutes away from adding their name to that list on last Wednesday, but the North London side clinched three points thanks to a Yossi Benayoun winner. Robin van Persie will come into this game looking to break a goalscoring record before the new year. The Dutch striker needs three more to break Alan Shearer’s record amount scored in a calendar year, a haul of 36.
QPR are on a bad run of form only being able to win 1 match in their last 8, drawing 1 and losing 6. Whilst January could be a mouth-watering month for QPR under the financial backing of Tony Fernandes for the upcoming transfer window, Neil Warnock will be concentrating on his current squad to lift them out of their recent slump. They face a tough task here and it’s likely they will come out with a defensive approach and hopefully try catch Arsenal on the break. They have bought some good players to compete in the Premier League but lie 2 points above the relegation zone. Their defence will need a much improved performance to avoid a thrashing at the Emirates. QPR could be boosted by the return of Shaun Wright-Phillips who will give them that extra spark going forward, and not forgetting his ability to produce some mesmerising moments of magic. QPR captain, Joey Barton, played a key role for his ex-club Newcastle in getting under the skin of the Arsenal players in previous matches which resulted in them getting sent off. There’s no doubt he will try use these tactics again on some of Arsenal’s younger inexperienced players.
This should be a hard fought encounter. Arsenal are tipped to continue their good home record here with a win.