“If you ask a team who is four points behind us, they will say it’s realistic to try and catch us. Manchester City are four points in front of us so mathematically of course that is possible. Wenger confirmed Aaron Ramsey is ahead of schedule in recovering from a hamstring injury and is back in the squad for the short hop to Loftus Road. The Wales international has not featured since suffering another hamstring problem on February 10 but is now back in contention, although fellow midfielder Jack Wilshere remains sidelined. The 23-year-old had been closing in on his own return but underwent surgery on his troublesome ankle and, despite Wenger claiming he would be absent for days rather than weeks, he confirmed Wilshere will not feature in neither the QPR contest or Monday’s FA Cup sixth-round clash at Manchester United. “He is doing well,” Wenger said of the England international. “It takes some time to heal the wound after the surgery – it will take his a few days. I don’t set any dates, but what is for sure is that for Man United he will not be available.” As well as having Ramsey at his disposal, Wenger is hoping Francis Coquelin could also play despite fracturing his nose in Sunday’s victory over Everton, with the midfielder set to sport a protective mask. Press Association Arsene Wenger believes his Arsenal side are currently “nowhere near” being involved in the race for the Premier League title – but believes a consistent run could change all that. Wenger takes his side across London to face struggling QPR on Wednesday night looking for a seventh win in eight league games but, even with such a strong run of form, Wenger feels a push for the title is not currently feasible. “At the moment we are nowhere near to winning the Premier League, and nowhere near close to being in the race,” he said. “But what we want is to do as well as we can without speculating on the weakness of any team. The only thing you can say is that it’s very tight. “You look in front of you, Manchester City are four points ahead of us, and you look behind you, there’s plenty of people chasing us. “That will be very, very tight and it will be down to consistency in our results and mental strength. That will certainly be needed again on Wednesday night.” Whilst closing in on Capital One Cup winners Chelsea seems an outside bet for Wenger, he is hoping a drop in form form reigning champions Man City could open up the chance to pip Manuel Pellegrini’s side to second spot. “At the moment we are too far from Chelsea to say we are in the title race, but you never know what can happen,” he added. “I speak as well about Man City, why should they give up for the title? They have done it three years ago by being eight points behind. The Gunners currently sit third in the table and are nine points adrift of league-leaders Chelsea, with Manchester City four points clear in second spot. The chase for the top four has closed up in recent weeks with Arsenal likely to come under heavy pressure from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
MORE COVERAGESyracuse football rolls to 33-7 win over Colgate in Dino Babers’ SU debutEric Dungey has career game after meeting his brother, who returned from the Army, for 1st time in 2 yearsTransfer wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo dazzles in Syracuse football debutWATCH: Dino Babers’ press conference after his 1st game as Syracuse’s head coachGallery: Syracuse rolls to 33-7 win over ColgateSyracuse-Colgate football: A graphical breakdown of the Orange’s dominant winStorify: Syracuse community reacts to Dino Babers’ 1st game as head coachSyracuse football poll: Vote for player of the game and grade SU’s performance Syracuse (1-0) dominated Colgate (0-1) in a 33-7 win in Dino Babers’ first game as SU’s head coach Friday night.Eric Dungey threw for 355 yards, Amba Etta-Tawo had 210 receiving yards and Moe Neal scored a 49-yard touchdown run on the first carry of his career.After nearly nine months of waiting, Babers’ team was finally on the field. Here’s what we learned from the game.Eric Dungey will still runSix plays into Syracuse’s second drive of the game Eric Dungey faked a handoff to running back Dontae Strickland out of shotgun and ran it himself up the middle. Then he dropped back to pass but chose to scramble to 1 yard short of a first down. Dungey quickly got under center, snapped the ball and kept it himself yet again, this time running around the left side of the line for the first.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLess than a week removed from Babers’ statement that he had to “strip down” Dungey and convert him into a “thrower first” and coming off an offseason where Dungey vowed to stay in the pocket more, Dungey ran the ball 10 times for 25 yards.“It’s not my focus,” Dungey said. “My job is to throw the ball.”He had more carries than any of the team’s running backs, and Moe Neal was the only one with more rushing yards than Dungey. Neal had nine carries, Dontae Strickland had nine, Jordan Fredericks had four and Zack Mahoney had three. Dungey’s longest run of the day came a few plays after his spurt of three when he kept the ball on the option, raced around one defender and stiff armed another before trotting out of bounds at the Colgate 22 for a 12-yard gain. Half of Dungey’s runs came on that drive.“Dungey’s legs are a valuable part of what he does,” Babers said. “We’re not taking his legs out of the game. We just want to make him the Russell Wilson of the ACC. We want him to be smart and get down when he does those runs and not stay up and take an unnecessary shot.“It would be unfair to him and unfair to the team to not give him an opportunity to bring those legs into the game because his legs are special. You’re just making him normal, and we don’t want to be average.”Red zone offense needs to improveSyracuse’s first-team offense was able to charge down the field on most of its possessions. And while it scored on seven of its 10 possessions, four of those scores were field goals.Of those field goals, three came in the red zone — a difference of 12 points if touchdowns and PATs were scored instead.“Having the ability to not score touchdowns in the red zone greatly affected the game,” Babers said, “and that is something we need to clean up.”Jessica Sheldon | Photo EditorOn the first trip, Syracuse had 1st-and-goal at the 8-yard line but stalled. Dontae Strickland ran for no gain. Dungey lost two yards and Jason Emerich committed a false start to push SU back to the 15 on third down.Then Dungey threw his first incompletion of the game — a throw over the middle for Ervin Philips that was knocked away. Kicker Cole Murphy trotted onto the field.The next time, a holding penalty on lineman Omari Palmer changed a 3rd-and-2 to 3rd-and-12. A 5-yard pass and field goal ensued.One drive later, Etta-Tawo made a 40-yard catch to bring the Orange to Colgate’s 23-yard line. A pass to Steve Ishmael put SU in the red zone. But again, the offense stalled.Devin Butler will playBabers wasn’t sure on Wednesday if freshman running back/wide receiver Devin Butler would play at all this season. “He’s right on the cusp,” Babers said, citing depth at both spots as a reason Butler might redshirt.But when Steve Ishmael was called for a personal foul on SU’s first drive of the third quarter, it was Butler who came in to replace the veteran. Butler stayed on for three plays, came off, then was back in for one play in the drive.Butler didn’t record a statistic but did come back into the game late in the fourth quarter with the likes of freshman Sean Riley and Adly Enoicy. He lined up a outside receiver each time, though he did practice with the running backs for part of training camp. Comments Published on September 3, 2016 at 12:57 am Contact Jon: email@example.com | @jmettus Facebook Twitter Google+