Arsenal begin their festive fixture list with an encounter against Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day and three points will be imperative for Arsene Wenger’s side with tougher tests to come over the following days.
QPR may have moved away from danger after some inspired form at Loftus Road, but they have been truly atrocious on their travels; failing to take a single point in eight games, and scoring only three goals.
Anything other than an Arsenal win at the Emirates Stadium will be a catastrophe. But QPR will have been buoyed by overturning a two-goal deficit to beat West Brom last time out, with Charlie Austin the hat-trick hero.
Austin has 11 goals in only 15 Premier League appearances and will represent a clear danger for Arsenal - something Arsene Wenger is well aware of in the lead-up to this meeting.
"It's good to see that an English striker who had played in lower divisions has managed to come up," Wenger told reporters.
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"That shows mental strength and tenacity - and that is important at the top level."
Arsenal, meanwhile, could see their strikeforce bolstered for QPR’s visit with Wenger confirming Yaya Sanogo should be available for selection, while Tomas Rosicky has also overcome his injury problems.
Wenger, however, is unsure of Hector Bellerin will be available in time, and expects Laurent Koscielny to miss this clash. The Frenchman is most likely to return to the fold for the visit to West Ham two days later.
Arsenal predicted XI to face Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day…
Wojciech Szczesny; Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertersacker, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs; Mathieu Flamini, Francis Coquelin; Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott; Olivier Giroud.
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