After Norwich City pulled off an unlikely victory at Carrow Road last week, Queens Park Rangers are aiming to go one step further and come away from the Emirates Stadium with three points. Arsenal, on the other hand, will look to dominate the game to show their doubters that they are true title contenders.
QPR are already slipping into dangerous territory, and another loss would do nothing to arrest that slide. Although this isn't a match they are expected to get anything from, there were enough encouraging signs from last week's 1-1 draw with Everton that suggest they can compete.
Where: Emirates Stadium, London, England
When: Saturday, October 27, 9.30 a.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: FoxSoccer
Arsenal: Returning Star Aims to Boost Title Hopes
It has been reported this week that Jack Wilshere could return against QPR, having played the full 90 minutes of an under-21 game.
Having Wilshere back would obviously be an immediate boost for the Gunners, and a midfield that already boasts Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta could run away with the game from the outset.
Arsenal are still facing accusations that they cannot survive without Robin van Persie and Olivier Giroud hasn't made any sort of dent in the Premier League. He has looked slow and unresponsive, while Lukas Podolski has shown himself to be much more threatening.
Nigel Winterburn is insistent that Giroud's goal drought isn't entirely down to him, however, and when speaking to talkSPORT, he implied that the fault lay with the service the Frenchman has been receiving:
If you're playing with a player like Giroud, who is not as quick or mobile as some players they've had up front previously, you have to vary it, get balls out wide, take players on and get crosses into the box.
Arsenal need to win this game, so it's not unreasonable to suggest that they give Giroud the ball a little less, instead opting to run the game from midfield and involve Podolski and Gervinho. The recent emergence of Serge Gnabry will also add some variation to the attack, possibly at the expense of Theo Walcott.
In the end, however, it falls to Giroud to deliver. Arsene Wenger seems content to give him time to adjust to the English league, but he has to start producing the goods.
In a similar manner to Fernando Torres' troubles upon arriving at Chelsea, the longer it carries on, the more difficult it becomes. Saturday would be an ideal time to get his season started.
QPR: The Search Continues
Now that Norwich have a win to their name, QPR and Reading are the only teams still winless in the Premier League this year. Arsenal have already surrendered points against supposedly inferior opposition, so it will be even harder for QPR to claim the points this week.
QPR may have failed to beat the ten men of Everton, but showed promise and they will consider themselves unfortunate to not come away with the three points. Rangers winger Adel Taarabt was confident when talking to The Daily Star, which showed that there is a lot of belief within the squad:
Arsenal will be a tough game, but we played some good stuff against Everton and we are going there to win. We have to keep going and with a little bit of luck, we’ll start to win. At the moment we don’t have the points to show for it, but I’m sure they will soon come—hopefully starting at Arsenal.
The passing was smooth against Everton, and the players looked composed on the ball. In order to build on this, QPR have to make the most of this possession. It has long been a criticism of Arsenal that they don't capitalise as much as their possession would indicate, and QPR need to take note.
On several occasions last week, The Hoops looked like they were building a good series of pressure that would lead to a goal. That didn't happen, and the team won't be going anywhere until it does.
Set pieces have been a problem for Arsenal on a few occasions this season, so this may be the best way to make an impact. Park Ji-Sung will get his team into a lot of good positions due to his excellent movement, which will often lead to free kicks. Look for the Hoops to test Arsenal's back line from dead ball situations.
QPR have played some good football this year, but Arsenal won't be throwing points away at home. Arsenal take it 2-0 with Giroud getting a late second to ensure the points.