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Premier League Preview: QPR v Arsenal

QPR have nothing but pride to play for when they host Champions League-chasing Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

A goalless stalemate at Reading last week sealed QPR’s fate, with the club set to play the likes of Peterborough United and AFC Bournemouth in the Championship next season.

The nature of that draw was indicative of why Harry Redknapp’s side are going down, with a genuine lack of quality going forward – which has seen them score just 29 goals this season, the lowest in the league – costing them a potential victory.

QPR have won just two of their last 14 matches in all competitions and have failed to score in their last three.

The Loftus Road outfit are only ahead of bottom-placed Reading by goal difference and will be keen to salvage some pride by avoiding finishing last in the table.

But they will face a tough ask in this fixture, with Arsenal coming to the end of what seems a now-traditional end-of-season push.

In March, a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham saw Arsene Wenger’s side slip seven points adrift of their rivals, and they were in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

An eight-match unbeaten streak since that loss to Spurs – which included a 2-0 away win at UEFA Champions League finalists Bayern Munich – has seen Arsenal climb to fourth in the table, although they do have a game in hand on Andre Villas-Boas’ side and Chelsea.

QPR’s record signing, Chris Samba, was left out of the squad that travelled to Reading last week, but the defender is sure to come into contention this week, while Tottenham loanee Andros Townsend (hamstring) could also return.

Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle) and DJ Campbell (metatarsal fracture) are not expected back any time soon for the strugglers.

Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (rib) and midfielder Abou Diaby (knee) will not play again this season and French striker Olivier Giroud is still suspended.

QPR did win last season’s meeting at home, as goals from Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakite gave them a surprise 2-1 victory.

But a repeat of that is highly unlikely as a motivated Arsenal go in search of an essential three points in their bid for Champions League football next season.
Thu 2 May, 2013
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