Arsenal have hit form at just the right time. Again. In 2011-12 Arsene Wenger masterminded a fightback from seventh place in February to finish third and squeeze out Chelsea and Tottenham for London supremacy and Champions League football.
Now, in 2012-13, after being written off following a derby defeat against Tottenham, at which point they lay fifth and five points adrift of the top four, the Gunners have recovered to slug their way back into contention once again.
Unbeaten in seven games, Wenger has spoken of his desire to finish the season without another defeat and, so far, it is going to plan.
With their toughest remaining fixture, the draw against newly-crowned champions Manchester United, navigated with relative success they can now concentrate on a run-in against strugglers Wigan and Newcastle, which begins against a QPR side with their fate already decided.
The manner of Arsenal's recent form, though, has given rise to doubts. A narrow win against ten-man Fulham, a goalless draw with Everton and a late comeback to see off Norwich at the Emirates have drawn praise for the mental resolve shown to overcome these hurdles. However, it also highlights the limitations of the current squad of players at Wenger's disposal with many experts claiming qualification for next season's Champions League will be the three-time Premier League and four-time FA Cup winning manager's greatest achievement with the club.
Harry Redknapp said in March that keeping QPR in the top-flight would be his greatest achievement in 30 years of football management. He failed and is now facing up to the prospect of life in the Championship with a squad bloated by a cast of former title winners and internationals on big wages mixed in with unhappy players hungover from the last promotion campaign in 2011.
Redknapp spoke of the divisions in the dressing-room but has confirmed that he will stick around in an attempt to unravel the mess the club finds themselves in. The inability of Redknapp, and his predecessor Mark Hughes, to assemble this motley crew into something resembling an effective side has cost them their Premier League status. Now that demotion is confirmed there is surely little chance of motivating these professionals into a performance capable of challenging an Arsenal team on a roll.
Without a win in six games and a goal in three it cannot even be said that QPR have shown much fighting spirit in recent weeks, slumping and accepting relegation. In the reverse meeting at the Emirates, Arsenal managed 22 shots on target and it is not hard to imagine a scenario where, if they score early enough, the game could be out of sight by half time. QPR's fate is sealed but their embarrassment may not be over yet.
Queens Park Rangers player to watch: Loic Remy. The experiment which saw Harry Redknapp spend big money to sign Loic Remy and Christopher Samba in January in a desperate bid to keep QPR in the Premier League has failed miserably. However, Remy has shown at times that he has the ability to unsettle defences and score goals (he is actually the club's top goalscorer) and he will pose the biggest threat to Arsenal's rearguard. A return of five goals in 11 games isn't bad, and the France international is also able to boast that he has scored in every London derby he has played in to date.
Arsenal player to watch: Santi Cazorla. Arsenal lacked the creative spark to build on their one-goal advantage against Manchester United on Sunday and will look to Cazorla, with 12 goals and seven assists to his name in his debut Premier League season, to inspire them against demoralised opponents at Loftus Road. When Cazorla has hit the target Arsenal have scored five goals on three occasions and four on one occasion. They will hope the Spaniard can help pull the strings to produce one more rout.
Key Battle: Julio Cesar v Arsenal attack. With Olivier Giroud, Arsenal's main striker, still suspended, Wenger faces another dilemma about which man should lead the line. Lukas Podolski tried and failed against United last weekend, Theo Walcott has dazzled at times when played centrally but flattered to deceive at others while the inconsistent Gervinho cannot be relied upon although his pace on the break could be a key to get behind QPR's cumbersome defence. In the Rangers goal Julio Cesar has produced some real moments of quality this season and the onus will be on the Brazilian to perform again if they are to stand any chance.
Trivia: The Gunners have never won at Loftus Road in the Premier League era (D3 L2). They have played more away games against QPR without a win than any other side in the history of the competition.
Stats: Rangers have the worst record in Premier League London derbies this season (nine points), while only Chelsea (17) have won more points from them than Arsenal (16).
Odds: The home side are major underdogs with bet365 at 7.00, with Arsenal a much shorter 1.44 while the draw is 4.33.
Prediction: With momentum behind them, and something to play for, this should be a routine win for the visitors.