Mark Hughes was five years of age the last time his club, Queen Park Rangers, had such a poor start to the season at the highest level. In the 1968-69 season a QPR team containing Rodney Marsh and Ron Springet went thirteen games without a victory. If they don’t overcome a shaky Arsenal tomorrow they will reach nine games without a victory. If so, Mark Hughes might not get to oversee a tenth match.
Arsene Wenger is not under the same duress as Hughes but there are certainly smatterings of discontent around the Emirates. Having suffered a surprise defeat to Chris Hughton’s Norwich last Saturday, Arsenal went on to lose their impressive unbeaten home record in the Champions League in midweek. A 2-0 reversal was unexpected but a deserved result for Huub Stevens’s Schalke 04 side.
Bacary Sagna is expected to return to the Arsenal squad as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken leg. Long-term injury casualty, Jack Wilshere could join the French full back on the bench having not played for Wenger’s first team in almost a year and a half. His vision and movement is evidently needed more then ever based on Arsenal’s recent results.
First-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny misses out again with an ankle injury. Vito Mannone will continue to deputise. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain faces a late fitness test but Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs remain sidelined.
QPR defender Clint Hill should return after overcoming a nasty blow to his head in training earlier this month. However teammate Park Ji-Sung is a large doubt as he endeavours to overcome his knee injury. However, Fabio Da Silva and Kieron Dyer hope to be recovered from hamstring and calf injuries respectively, for the London derby.
Despite defensive frailties and a lack of vision in their recent performances, it is hard to see beyond a home victory. QPR have lost 10 of their last 11 away matches in the Premiership and unless Arsenal are to lose their shape in more dramatic fashion then they already have done so this week, it’s hard to envisage them not seeing out the game as comfortable winners.
The reaction Wegner will be expecting from his players following back-to-back defeats will mean a tough afternoon is possible for QPR. A lot will depend on Samba Diakité’s ability to pick up Santi Cazorla and Junior Hoilet finding the kind of form to justify Hughes’s faith in him.
A draw would be a step in the right direction for Hughes, but Arsenal’s faithful will expect a comfortable victory. While it might not be comfortable, a home victory is still the most likely outcome.
When: Oct. 27, 10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. local
Where: Emirates Stadium
Where To Watch: Arsenal vs. QPR795769