Back to back defeats to Norwich and Schalke acted as a major setback for the Gunners, who could now really use a morale-boosting victory to return to the right track. QPR may have ended the four-match losing run as they shared spoils with Everton, but if Rangers want to escape the relegation zone, they will have to start winning soon.
Back to the drawing board
Just when we thought that Arsenal were finally on the right track and about to embark on a great run of results, the Gunners lose to Norwich and Schalke, proving they are still not ready to be considered a force to be reckoned with in England or Europe. The reality is that this team will need some more time to gel and probably a world-class striker to replace RVP since Olivier Giroud is hardly the man for the job. Even if the Champions League defeat to Schalke was quite disappointing, I believe it could have a positive effect on the players and that a pressure of expectations could spur them on to a bright performance. There are no doubts the shaky back line will be tested by the likes of Zamora, Cisse and Taarabt, even if Bacary Sagna returns to the side, but somebody will have to help Santi Cazorla in the attacking department if the Gunners are to win this game. The return of Jack Wilshire could, however, be just the boost the team need to kick-start their season.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed Jack Wilsire and Bacary Sagna will play some part, but Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are all injury doubts.
QPR yet to hit the ground running
Even if Rangers have picked up just three points from eight league games, I believe the club chiefs have done a tremendous job over the last few transfer windows and it is only a matter of time before Mark Hughes’ side start winning. The likes of Bosingwa, Granero, Park, M’Bia and Hoilett have added a lot of quality and experience to the squad and if you look at team’s performances rather than the results, you will see that Rangers have not been that disappointing. Their attack is in perfect working order, as witnessed by 7 goals scored in last 5 games, but the weak back line is definitely the biggest problem, having allowed 11 goals in the same period. The heart of defence is the only department that isn’t working properly at the moment, which could end up costing the team dearly at the Emirates. Even before the game starts, Mark Hughes and his men are aware they need to score at least a couple of goals in order to get something from this match.
Fabio is doubtful with a hamstring problem, while Kieron Dyer and Andy Johnson are definitely out.
With Arsenal desperate to return to winning ways and likely to go all guns blazing at their opponents, there is every chance we will see an open game at the Emirates. The visitors have too much quality up front not to score against Arsenal’s leaky defence, so both teams to score looks a good option here.
Top pick: Both teams to score 1.78 (31/40) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 1.50 (1/2) at Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Home win 1.40 (2/5) @ Betfair