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Thursday 29 March 2012

Barton ready for crucial Arsenal contest

QPR midfielder says his side have shown that they can compete with in-form Gunners

Midfielder Joey Barton joined Queens Park Rangers from Newcastle United last summer

Queens Park Rangers skipper Joey Barton says his team should not be overawed when they take on in-form Arsenal at Loftus Road this weekend.

The two sides do battle in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday afternoon with QPR fighting relegation and Arsenal aiming to tighten their grip on third spot with an eighth successive League win.

But despite the gap between the clubs in the table, Barton insists QPR should take confidence from the way they performed against Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this season when Robin van Persie gave the Gunners a 1-0 victory.

"There's a difference between thinking you should get the points here and actually getting points here"
- Joey Barton

"Arsenal are a really good footballing side - they're the in-form side in the league," Barton told QPR's official website.

"But I feel when we went to the Emirates we acquitted ourselves really well. I think we deserved to get something out of the game.

"The manner of that defeat was frustrating, because we gave a good account of ourselves.

"We went there with a game-plan to make it really difficult for them and we did that for very long spells."

Barton also believes QPR should also draw comfort from their last home match, when they came from 2-0 down to record a stunning 3-2 win over Liverpool.

"I think Arsenal will head here expecting to win this game," added Barton.

"The Arsenal dressing room will think this is the kind of game they should win, but Liverpool probably thought the same.

"There's a difference between thinking you should get the points here and actually getting points here."

"This is more than a game of football now"
- Joey Barton

QPR are currently in the final relegation spot, one point behind 17th-placed Bolton, with eight matches left to play this season.

And Barton is under no illusion about how important the Arsenal contest, and the rest of the run-in, is to the club.

"We're as desperate for the points as they are - for totally different reasons obviously," said Barton.

"This is more than a game of football now. The next eight games govern our futures.

"All the lads need to realise that. If we don't, we'll be punished for it."

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Key Points

  • Joey Barton says QPR must not be overawed by Arsenal
  • Rangers take on in-form Arsenal at Loftus Road on Saturday
  • Barton draws comfort from how QPR performed at the Emirates Stadium