QPR will be visiting the Emirates on New Year’s Eve after being rejuvenated in the summer after Tony Fernandes took over the club. QPR have made some refreshing signings and have shown glimpses of the potential damage they can do against the likes of Stoke, Chelsea and Everton but have also left fans wanting against ‘weaker’ opposition. Sound familiar? After Arsenal’s disappointing draw against Wolves, The Gunners will hope to bounce back from a potential blip of results that could see them drop further points in the race for the top 4. After seeing Spurs winning so comfortably against Norwich, Wenger’s men have more than enough motivation to get right back on track.

It’s been a while

Arsenal have not met QPR in the league since the 95/96 season where Arsenal won and drew their two fixtures against Rangers. Neither manager was in charge of their respective clubs at the time but the last time Warnock came up against Wenger was the 06/07 season where he was triumphant with his Sheffield United side. A match that could be remembered for Jagielka (yes, the one we tried to sign in the summer) playing in goal for half an hour without being tested once.


Rosicky and Benayoun received rare starts for Arsenal against Wolves which was vital. The young Ramsey had begun to look leggy in the engine room and with Walcott suffering a virus, it let the Israeli captain have an opportunity to impress the boss, much like he has already impressed Robin van Persie in training. With Gervinho going to the African cup of nations this will most likely be his last game before his departure, which will undoubted lead to Arshavin getting more starts than he has been getting lately but thankfully Cameroon’s shortcomings in the qualifying stages means that Song will be available in what will be quite a vital period for the squad.

Business as usual

As usual we will deploy a 4-3-3 with Walcott likely to replace Benayoun and perhaps Arshavin coming in for Gervinho depending on how he recovers from the Wolves game. Arteta is due a rest and may be deputised by Ramsey or the returning forgotten man Diaby, although a start may be too much to ask from someone who has played so little over his Arsenal career. What I was quite impressed with though towards the end of the Wolves game was our levels of penetration. Too many times last season we found ourselves chasing the game and having over 60% possession but unfortunately that is all it was. Slow tempo, side-to-side passing without any urgency or real danger, but against wolves the directness of Gervinho and the flair of players like Rosicky coming fresh into the side made it seem like we were going to score and if Hennessey was not having the best game of his career, we could have easily put that game to bed. There’s also no doubt Arsene will have a word with Songaldinho about back heels in the centre of a pitch.

It would be easily to suggest that Robin van Persie is our main man for this game, and it was clear to see that after we went one up against wolves he seemed a bit distracted by the calendar year goal scoring record. I think the key battle in this game is going to be between Song/Arteta vs. Barton. Especially after the incidents of the opening day of the season at St. James’ Park where Song was banned for violent conduct. Should Ramsey start of Arteta, Barton is the type of individual who has the potential to intimidate Ramsey who, let’s not forget, only recovered from his leg break around this time last season.

Possible line-up

Szczesny; Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Ramsey, Rosicky; Walcott, RVP, Arshavin


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