RANGERS head to the Emirates Stadium – the home of Arsenal – on Saturday afternoon, for their fourth London derby of the season so far.
R’s boss Mark Hughes will draw confidence from the Hoops last away derby, when his side pushed Spurs all the way at White Hart Lane, only to succumb to an unfortunate 2-1 defeat.
A trip to the Emirates is a daunting task at any time, but Rangers will be buoyed by an improved performance against Everton on Sunday, coupled with the fact Arsenal are currently going through an early season slump having lost their last two competitive fixtures.
Wednesday’s defeat to Schalke in the Champions League was met by groans of discontent amongst the Gunners faithful and Hughes’s new-look side will hope to heap more woe on Wenger’s men.
Encouraged by last Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the Toffees, Hughes could name an unchanged side for the trip across London, with Junior Hoilett expected to lead the line alongside Bobby Zamora.
Ex-Gunner Armand Traore is likely to line up against his former club, but long-term injury victims Andy Johnson and Fabio da Silva remain sidelined.
The Gunners, meanwhile, could hand a first league start of the season to England ace Jack Wilshere, whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also in line to feature.
England winger Theo Walcott is rated as 'doubtful'.
Likely Arsenal Line-up
(4-4-2): Mannone; Jenkinson, Meresasker, Vermaelen, Santos; Gervinho, Arteta, Ramsey, Cozorla; Podolski, Giroud.
Mikel ARTETA (Midfielder)
Mikel Arteta signed a four-year deal with the Gunners after completing his move from Everton on transfer deadline day last summer.
The Spanish midfielder has a wealth of Premier League experience, having been at Goodison Park since 2005, and has represented Spain at Under-21 level.
After starting his career as a trainee with Barcelona, he was loaned to Paris Saint-Germain before making his name in the Scottish Premier League with Rangers, where he was a member of the domestic treble winning side of 2002/03.
A classy player, Arteta’s eye for a pass is as good as it gets in the Premier League.
The Numbers Game
£390million – The overall project cost of the Emirates Stadium.
1886 – The Club was founded by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich in 1886.
722 – David O’Leary remains the Club’s record appearance holder with a staggering 722 appearances.
61 – Arsenal averaged 61 per-cent possession for the 2010/11 term – higher than any other Premier League side.
The Pre-Match TalkQPR talisman, Adel Taarabt:
“I enjoy playing against good footballing teams. Arsenal have made a decent start to the season.
“[Santi] Cazorla is a great attacking talent but not only him, there’s [Mikel] Arteta, [Aaron] Ramsey and [Jack] Wilshere, who is coming back from injury.
“Hopefully we will give them a good game and take something from there.”
Arsenal goalkeeper, Vito Mannone:
“We need to come back stronger on Saturday.
“We need to win and I hope we get our heads in shape. We need to work as a team and we don’t need to point the finger to anybody because it’s a problem of a team.
“I think all over the field (versus Schalke) we didn't defend properly, didn't do well the job in midfield and didn't create many chances. At the minute, we need to get up from the floor and go again. The season has started well but now is the time to fight back.”
Match Odds with Bet Victor
Arsenal win: 2/5
QPR win: 8/1
QPR 2, Arsenal 1 – Premier League – Saturday 31st March 2012
Scorers: QPR – Taarabt, Diakite; Arsenal – Walcott
Referee: A Taylor
Assistants: J Collin, J Brooks
Fourth Official: L Mason
Whether you’re at the Emirates Stadium or not, QPR fans across the globe can enjoy a whole of host of exclusive content both before and after Saturday’s clash with the Gunners – all thanks to a 14-day FREE trial on QPR Player.
Coverage will include our Matchday Radio Show, live commentary, extended highlights, the manager’s post-match press conference and much, much more.
for more information on our FREE 14-day trial.
Premier League – Weekend Fixtures
Kick-offs 3pm unless stated
Saturday 27th October
Aston Villa v Norwich (12.45pm)
Arsenal v QPR
Reading v Fulham
Stoke City v Sunderland
Wigan Athletic v West Ham United
Manchester City v Swansea (5.30pm)
Sunday 28th October
Everton v Liverpool (1.30pm)
Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion
Southampton v Tottenham
Chelsea v Manchester United (4pm)
Next QPR Fixture
Reading (H) – Barclays Premier League – Sunday 4th November, kick-off 1.30pm