QPR Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
With some FA Cup coming up this weekend (unlike Arsenal that plays on Monday), there was some Premier League action yesterday with Tim Sherwood and his Aston Villa side finally getting a win after a wretched run in their bid to avoid the drop. Southampton had to leave it really late to get a win against Crystal Palace while there was a rush of blood to the head moment in Hull, as Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet almost got themselves involved in an altercation in the draw between Hull and Sunderland.
Tonight, there would be seven live matches and as expected, my business is in Loftus Road, as the Gunners take on a QPR side that are involved in a relegation dogfight and with the Premier League reaching its business end, it’s definitely not going to be any easy ride for Arsene Wenger’s men. Under twitchy old Harry Redknapp, QPR struggled to pick up any points away but they had a good home record but the R’s have won just once in their last nine outings, which includes five defeats in their last six games. Loftus Road used to be a fortress at the start of the season but they have just notched up two points from their last four home games.
QPR’s record against Arsenal is very poor with just one win over Arsene Wenger’s side in their last seven matches (W1 D1 L5). Despite the fact that the Gunners have scored 13 goals in their last 13 games against QPR, their league record at Loftus Road isn’t that impressive with one win, three draws and two defeats in their last six games but they’d take some solace in the fact that QPR are winless in their last nine London derbies (D3, L6) in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger has praised Francis Coquelin in the wake up his consistent performances since his return to the first team this season. Since making his first PL start of the season in December, Francis Coquelin has made the most interceptions (38) and second-most tackles (39) in the whole Premier League. The French defensive midfielder has been a breath of fresh air since his introduction to the team but he’s very likely to wear a protective mask, if he’s fit enough to play tonight. In the last game against Everton, he was on the wrong end of Giroud’s show of strength, rather unfortunately.
I’d expect David Ospina to continue in goal tonight ahead of Wojciech Szczesny. The Colombian put up a very dominant performance against Everton and this was epitomized by his decision to charge down on Romelu Lukaku to win the ball. In defense, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gabriel Paulista continues ahead of Per Mertesacker. He made one glaring error in the Everton game but he grew in confidence as the game progressed. Then there was ‘that goal-saving tackle’ on Lukaku that earned him a rapturous applause at the Emirates. With Nacho Monreal still having some fitness issues, Kieran Gibbs will stead in his stead.
In midfield, I expect to see Santi Cazorla and the two-assist hero, Mesut Ozil, to play in front of the Coq, with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott flanking Giroud. Walcott has been on a decent scoring run at Loftus Road, and he would want to continue his record there.
Arsenal: Francis Coquelin (nose), Aaron Ramsey (lacking match fitness), Serge Gnabry (lack of match fitness), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder)
QPR: Sandro, Mauricio Isla and Nedum Onouha (lacking match fitness)
- Last Five Games: L W W L W
- Last Result: Arsenal 2 Everton 0
- Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (18)
- Last Five Games: L L L W L
- Last Result: Hull 2 QPR 1
- Leading Goalscorer: Charlie Austin (14)
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel Paulista, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Cazorla; Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott; Giroud
QPR: Green; Yun, Ferdinand, Caulker, Furlong; Phillips, Henry, Kranjcar, Traore; Austin, Zamora
Gooner Daily says 2-0 to the Arsenal.
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