Arsenal can fight off battlers QPR in Boxing Day duel
Arsenal come into this encounter with relegation chances QPR (15/8) at the Emirates on Boxing Day needing a win to stay in touch with the top four, as they are now four points off the pace, following their 2-2 draw with Liverpool. They are still odds-on at 2/5 with Coral to finish in the Champions League places at the end of the season.
However, the Gunners face no easy task in welcoming the Hoops, with their visitors claiming three wins in their last five Premier League matches, including an incredible comeback against West Bromwich Albion last time out, to take them out of the drop zone.
QPR are 10/1 chances to somehow take three points from the Emirates too, but Arsenal should have enough to fight off Harry Redknapp’s determined team. Arsene Wenger can also take heart in the fact that the Hoops are on a pendulum-like run of: defeat, victory, defeat, victory, defeat, victory; suggesting they will lose on Boxing Day.
The Gunners, therefore, are odds-on at 3/10 to beat their London rivals. There is a more enticing price of 17/2 for Arsenal to win 1-0, though, as has been the scoreline in their favour in three of these two sides’ last four meetings. A draw is 9/2.
But Wenger’s men will have to watch out for in-form Charlie Austin, who was the hat-trick hero against West Brom. The former non-league striker has now amassed 11 league goals this term in just 15 appearances, and is third in the top flight scoring charts (highest from an Englishman), three behind leader Sergio Aguero.
Arsenal’s legendary manager Wenger was full of praise for Austin ahead of the game, saying: “It’s good to see that an English striker who had played in the lower divisions has managed to come up.
“That shows mental strength and tenacity, and that is important at the top level.
“It could bring on the idea that there could be other players down there who are good enough to come up to the Premier League but don’t get a chance.”
If you fancy Austin to net again anytime, take tasty odds of 9/4, or he can be backed at 15/2 to score last.
For Arsenal, Theo Walcott has enjoyed facing QPR, having struck twice against them before. The flying forward was an unused substitute against Liverpool in the last game, but could get a run out here and is 6/5 to score here anytime.
But his teammate, Alexis Sanchez, is the main man to look out for, with the Chilean on nine league goals already this season. He is odds-on at 8/11 to net anytime, and 3/1 for two or more.
Gunners striker Olivier Giroud, meanwhile, is back in form and fully fit, following his return from a fractured leg, with three goals in his last two games. The Frenchman is the result of a Coral matchday special, with enhanced odds of 9/2 (max stake £20) for him to score two or more here.