The Rs Are On The Up
QPR v Man City
Are City at crisis point? The pressure is certainly mounting on Manuel Pellegrini, making this a must-win game for the champions.
With just two wins and seven points from 10 Premier League games, Queens Park Rangers are in trouble. But the past couple of weeks have offered reasons to be hopeful and there does appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel for under pressure manager Harry Redknapp.
The 3-2 loss at home to Liverpool was calamitous but showed that, if you take away silly mistakes, The Rs are capable. That was followed by a well-deserved 2-0 win at home to Aston Villa and although that result was then followed by a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, having fallen behind and then showed character to draw level before losing out to an Eden Hazard penalty, there were plenty more positives to take from the game.
Charlie Austin now has five goals for the season, including three in the last two, while Rangers can take some encouragement this weekend from knowing that all seven of their points have been taken from home games this season.
Manchester City arrive at Loftus Road with just one win from their last five games, and that solitary victory – at home to Manchester United – was far from impressive.
There were more Champions League woes in midweek as the Citizens lost 2-1 at home to CSKA Moscow with Fernandinho and Yaya Toure both being shown red cards, while they haven’t won a game away from the Etihad since the very first weekend in October.
Rio Ferdinand is unavailable as he serves a ban for comments posted on Twitter, while Joey Barton, Jordan Mutch, Nedum Onuoha and Alejandro Faurlin all remain sidelined by injury.
David Silva is still unavailable due to the knee injury he picked up in the Capital One Cup defeat to Newcastle and is joined on the sidelines by Aleksandr Kolorov, but there is a slim chance that Frank Lampard could return.
This fixture two seasons ago ended goalless after City had won 3-1 in the meeting at the Etihad thanks to goals from Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez. Dzeko has scored three goals in four appearances against Rangers including one in the famous 3-2 victory that won City the title on the final day of the season back in 2012.
Of course City are favourites, but at odds of 4/9 I feel that we simply have to take them on. Rangers are growing in confidence, something the City players are bereft of, and have a very solid home record this season. I’m not brave enough to suggest an outright bet on the hosts at odds of 13/2, but the 9/2 available in the Draw No Bet market and the 19/10 about Draw-QPR in the Double Chance market are both worth a play.
We should certainly expect goals between two teams that have defensive problems, and Over 3.5 is a 7/5 chance. Charlie Austin, at 11/1 to score first and 3/1 to score anytime, looks the value bet in the goalscorer markets.