30 March ~ "Sixes and sevens" could be a description of the QPR defence, with its many and varied personnel this season. Six though, is the number of goals Arsenal scored on their last visit to Loftus Road in an FA Cup tie in 2001; seven is the number of consecutive wins the Gunners have racked up coming into tomorrow's fixture. But enough number-crunching. There is only one likely outcome, right? Well, QPR had some cause for optimism with the acquisition of a new striking partnership in Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse, but the latter's headline-grabbing record in his five appearances – scored, sent off, scored, scored, sent off – means he will be missing until the last four games of the much-discussed tough run-in.
Cisse's latest absence could mean a recall for QPR fan DJ Campbell, who has only started three games for the club since joining in close-season, scoring once, in an injury-hit winter. Maybe a fairytale finish awaits us, but the majority have long since reached the stage of resignation. The team have lost more points from winning positions than anyone else in the Premier League. Crucially, they have taken only two wins (suffering five defeats) against the other four clubs embroiled in the relegation scrap. So poor are all these sides that somehow Aston Villa are in no real danger.
Rangers are struggling for many reasons. One transfer window was disrupted by a protracted takeover, the next by a managerial change after a final desperate performance at MK Dons, where a cruciate injury claimed the club's best player, Alejandro Faurlin. We collected players at such a rate that at one stage over 40 professionals would (presumably) turn up for training, including such forgotten names as Rowan Vine and Gary Borrowdale.
The likes of Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Anton Ferdinand were supposed to offer Premier League experience and the nous to move us up the table. Instead, in recent weeks it has been former boss Neil Warnock's short-term buys Clint Hill and Shaun Derry who have shown the way to their better-paid team-mates, while another rare positive has been last year's golden boy Adel Taarabt's new-found humility and transition to team player.
Mark Hughes' new-look QPR, also featuring three other January acquisitions – Samba Diakité, Taye Taiwo and Nedum Onuoha – has yet to find any sort of rhythm. It has been suggested that they won't have time to, as many will be gone in summer anyway.
On taking over, Hughes immediately tried to remedy a lack of goals in the team, and recent selections illustrate just how poorly Barton and Wright-Phillips have performed. Meanwhile our poor disciplinary record has only got worse. Still, Arsenal always shoot themselves in the foot when you least expect it. Don't they? Jamie Sellers