|English Premier League 2014-15|
||vs|| Queens Park Rangers
ScheduleFriday, 26 December 2014 at 16:30 GMT / 16:30 UK / 22:00 IST
VenueEmirates Stadium (London)
Next Friday, 26th of December 2014, a fairly inconsistent Arsenal will entertain a somewhat rejuvenated QPR at the Emirates Stadium for round 18 of the English Premier League, on a match that the Gunners need to win in order to close the gap separating them from the top five teams of the league table and to keep their closest contenders at bay.
Arsenal’s last Sunday performance at Anfield Road was once again deprived from brilliancy, especially during the first-half during which they weren’t able to cope with the Reds’ heavy pressure and attacking game flow. Although, totally against the balance of the match, the Gunners netted in the equalizer just before the break and significantly improved their overall display during the second-half. Nevertheless, a late goal from the Slovak defender Martin Skrtel prevented Arsenal from granting the three points at Liverpool and, for that matter, they allowed Southampton to escape on the league table once more.
With just 27 points from 17 matches, Arsenal’s campaign has been fairly modest so far and the team’s supporters have once again lost their patience with Arsene Wenger, who against all the odds, is still being backed up by the team's board. On the other hand, the Gunners' good campaign at the UEFA Champions League this season is probably working as some sort of compensation for their humble domestic achievements.
The Boxing Day clash against QPR, for which Arsenal are firm favourites, might not be an easy one, especially if we take a look at what the Hoops have done recently. For that particular match, Arsene Wenger will probably still not be able to rely on Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, Koscielny and Ozil, all currently sidelined due to injury.
As for Queens Park Rangers, the Hoops have been experiencing several difficulties in the year that marked their return to the English Football top tier. Although, after a very slow start, QPR appear to be quite more confident now and their recent performances certainly serve to prove just that. Last weekend, QPR managed to overcome West Brom at Loftus Road after being down by 2-0 with just twenty minutes played. Harry Redknapp’s boys ended up by winning the match by 3-2 thanks to a remarkable hat-trick from the English sharpshooter Charlie Austin.
QPR's recent improvements will probably not be enough to upset Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on the Boxing Day’s London Derby, but if they manage to replicate some of their last good performances, they will be able to offer the Gunners some fierce resistance.
Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1
Recent Form - DWWLW
Stats: W-3 L-2 D-0
Recent Form - WLWLW
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) – Szczesny - Chambers - Mertesacker - Debuchy - Gibbs - Flamini - Chamberlain - Cazorla - Giroud - Sánchez - Welbeck
QPR (4-4-2) - Green - Caulker - Dunne - Yun - Onuoha - Fer - Henry - Barton - Vargas - Austin- Zamora