QPR – Arsenal Preview: Austin ready for survival fight

Chris Ramsey’s side are out of the drop zone on goal difference only and welcome a Gunners’ side eyeing second spot after moving to within four point of Manchester City

Charlie Austin believes QPR are ready to kick-start their fight for Premier League survival when they return to action against Arsenal on Wednesday.

QPR did not play last weekend due to Tottenham’s involvement in the League Cup final – and they watched on from Dubai as fellow strugglers Sunderland, Burnley and Aston Villa all lost.

Chris Ramsey’s side are out of the bottom three on goal difference only, but now have a game in hand on all of the teams around them, with the exception of bottom-placed Leicester City.

QPR face a huge battle to maintain their top-flight status, but top scorer Austin is confident they have what it takes.

“We’re raring to go, we have got two big games at home coming up with Tottenham visiting on Saturday,” he told the club’s official website. “Hopefully we can continue our home form.

“We’ve got 12 games left, a big 12 games – it’s a 12-game season now for us, hopefully we can get enough points.”

QPR’s home form had been in stark contrast to their dismal away record up until the end of December, but the west London club have taken just two points from their last four outings at Loftus Road.

Successive defeats to Manchester United and Southampton have harmed their bid for survival, and Wednesday’s visit of another Champions League-chasing team is sure to represent a tough test.

Arsenal sit just four points adrift of second-placed Manchester City after their 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday, and goalkeeper David Ospina feels upbeat despite last Wednesday’s chastening Champions League defeat to Monaco.

“We know we are close to them now but we need to concentrate on ourselves and not think about them City,” said the Colombian. “We will keep doing our job, picking up points and then see what happens.

“After what happened against Monaco, the only thing that was important was to continue increasing our confidence and keeping heading up the table.

“Now we are already thinking about the next one, which is QPR.”

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger continues to be light in midfield due to the absences of Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) and Mikel Arteta (ankle), while Francis Coquelin is a doubt after breaking his nose against Everton.

Ramsey has no new injury problems – with knee issues continuing to rule out Mauricio Isla, Leroy Fer, Richard Dunne, Sandro and Alejandro Faurlin – but captain Joey Barton begins his three-match suspension after he was sent off against Hull City.

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