Arsenal vs. QPR
English Premier League
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
11.45 AM PT/2.45 PM ET/ 7.45 PM BT
Loftus Road, London
League Form: ARS WWLWWW (oooh) | QPR LLLLWL (ohhhh)
US TV: NBC Sports Live Extra, PL Extra Time | Worldwide TV livesoccer.tv
Old-Timey Radio (via the Internet): Talksport
What's at stake today: Thanks to City's late-game faceplant against Liverpool in last Sunday's early match, plus Arsenal's handling of resolutely-mid-table Everton, Arsenal finds itself only four points behind City (55 to 51) in what has become a legitimate race for second place behind Tiniest of Cups holders Chelsea. (Incidentally, City plays spunky Leicester today at the Etihad.)
There's also a chance to widen the gap with United (at 50 points, traveling to Newcastle today) and Southampton (who beat Palace yesterday yet still sit in 5th on 48 points).
QPR, in the meantime, is in a race of its own, sitting on 18th place and tied in Relegationville (or should that be Villa?) points-wise with Burnley, who travel to sixth-place-but-suddenly-ascendant Liverpool today.
Possible storylines for today: The return of Aaron Ramsey (though I'd expect Monsieur Wenger to ease him back into the squad), the ongoing easing of Walcott into the squad (will he play? will he? will he?), the continuing Ospina Era (since he's been solid in goal except for that one game), and the question of which kind of mask Francis Coquelin will rock if he returns to what appears to be his D-mid slot in the Starting XI.
Lawro's Prediction (from the BBC): "The Gunners do suffer the odd poor result but they also seem to go five or six games without losing, which is why they are looking very good to make the top four again. I really don't see QPR posing them too many problems." Why, that's almost bold!
Our prediction: This feels like a feast-on-the-lower-tier 3-0 party. Maybe a nervy first scoreless 20 minutes, a Giroud opener, and then lots of fun camera shots of QPR fans, wearing expressions reminiscent of former manager Harry Reddknapp, as Arsenal goes on a 70-30 possession tear and convert two of twentyleventy goal chances the rest of the way.
#Arsenal team to play QPR: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Cazorla, Rosicky, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud #QPRvAFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 4, 2015
#Arsenal subs: Martinez, Koscielny, Chambers, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Welbeck #QPRvAFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 4, 2015
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: @sandroraniere, Nedum Onuoha and Junior Hoilett return to the starting XI for #QPRvARS pic.twitter.com/SRJilbwQBx— QPR FC (@QPRFC) March 4, 2015