Arsenal return to the Emirates for their last match of 2011 after a disappointing draw to lowly Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day. Like that match the gunners will want to capitalise on the opportunity for what should be a comfortable win, unless the QPR keeper has the game of his life as Hennessey did a few days ago to deny Arsenal vital points in the Premier League race.
While much of the news this week has centred around Arsenal legend Thierry Henry returning to the Emirates, it is another Arsenal striker out to make history in what will be his last chance of this year. Dutchman Robin van Persie probably should have had at least a goal against Wolves and now finds himself having to score a brace in order to equal Alan Shearer’s record, but you definitely wouldn’t put it passed him with his ability.
This game should also mark the return on our electric winger Theo Walcott after the Englishman withdrew from the game in midweek due to illness. Arsenal definitely lacked a wingers touch against Wolves with Benayoun clearly not comfortable on the wing often cutting inside leaving the flank unmanned. It makes you wonder when Oxlade-Chamberlain will finally get his chance considering how he has impressed in the matches he has played in the Carling Cup and the UEFA Champions League.
With all our natural full-backs still injured it is likely that Vermaelen and Djourou will again occupy the flanks with Mertesacker and Koscielny paired up in the middle of defence. Hopefully the make-shift back-line will be able to nullify the attacking threat of players such as Wright-Phillips and Traore. The latter of course will look to gain some revenge after being let go from the Emirates in the summer.
As in the last fixture it is expected Arsenal will comfortably win the match. It is imperative to gain maximum points from matches such as these as they will have a huge outcome later down the road!
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on the season so far…
We have played 18 games and that means there are 20 to play, so we have a good opportunity to come back as long as we focus on our performances and are consistent.
We had a poor start but in the last three months we have not lost any points on [the top teams] however still we have to catch back.
And there is one difference – we have played at Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs. That means they all must come to us.
For me this season will be decided by how well we do at home against the big teams. The target for us is to win our home games because we have it all in our hands, as long as we manage to beat these teams at Emirates.
If you look back over the last 15 years we have always faced the same questions. Read the statements that have been made in July and August and you can see that we have overcome those pessimistic predictions, so hopefully we can do that again.
Arsenal – Robin van Persie – The flying Dutchman has been impressive form this calendar year and will look to continue his fine form and break or equal Alan Shearer’s record of 36 goals in a calendar year..
QPR – Heidar Helguson – The Icelandic striker has been QPR’s main source of goals so far this season scoring seven goals and creating two assists from ten starting appearances. No doubt he will look to add to his tally when coming to the Emirates
Djourou Mertesacker Koscielny Vermaelen
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Ramsey and Walcott are expected to slot straight back into the side after the Welshman was rested in midweek and the Englishman has recovered from stomach pains which kept him out of the Wolves match. The make-shift back-line is expected to remain the same as in recent weeks.
allArsenal’s Bets of the week:
Arsenal to win:
Skybet and Paddypower are all offering odds of 1/4 for the Gunners to win at home.
Skybet and Paddypower also are offering the same odds at 9/2.
QPR to win:
Paddypower are paying out a massive 12/1 for QPR to win away at the Emirates.
allArsenal’s Special Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet: Halftime/Fulltime–Arsenal/Arsenal=8/11.
*Special bet facts:
Arsenal have won 12 and lost just two of the 20 league meetings at home to QPR.
QPR have taken only two points from their last six Premier League games.
Rangers have failed to score a first half goal in their last four Premier League games.