Hammers Ready For Relegation Zone R’s
West Ham v QPR
The late kick off on Sunday sees West Ham take on a struggling QPR at Upton Park…
After flirting with relegation last year, West Ham have not always looked convincing so far this season, but appear to be on an upward curve. August saw them get off to a slow start, losing at home to Southampton and Tottenham, as well as going out of the Capital One Cup, but they’ve improved in September, beating Liverpool at home and putting up a battling performance and a narrow defeat at Old Trafford last weekend.
On paper QPR have a squad that is good enough to avoid relegation, but just like two seasons ago, they have struggled to gain a foothold in the Premier League. They’ve shown positive signs at home where they’ve beaten Sunderland and held Stoke to a draw,
…but they’ve lost all three league games away from Loftus Road, by an aggregate score of 10-1 and are, somewhat predictably, in the relegation zone.
West Ham will be without Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate for another five weeks and are also still without Andy Carroll and Joey O’Brien. But they were boosted by the return of captain Kevin Nolan who played the last fifteen minutes at Old Trafford. He will start on Sunday and manager Sam Allardyce may also have Matt Jarvis available after he resumed training last week.
QPR will be without Joey Barton and Jordan Mutch, who are both suffering from hamstring injuries. Adel Taarabt is also out with a sore ankle, as is Niko Kranjcar, who picked up an injury in the game against Stoke. But there is better news about Brazilian midfielder Sandro, who went off with a head injury after just eight minutes against Southampton, but has been given the all-clear to play this weekend.
This London derby that hasn’t occurred too often in recent years. Since their first meeting in 1909, the overall record is well-balanced, with 21 wins for West Ham, 19 for QPR and 19 draws. But they’ve only played one another four times this century.
Their latest encounters were in the Premier League two years ago. West Ham emerged from Loftus Road with a 2-1 victory in October of the 2012-13 season, but QPR managed to earn a point in the return fixture, leading 1-0 at half time through Loic Remy, before Joe Cole salvaged a draw for the Hammers.
In their fourth season under Allardyce, West Ham are no prettier to watch, but they have enough talent in their squad to avoid relegation and their scrapping qualities mean they can upset big teams on occasion, as Liverpool found to their cost.
The Hammers have been a little shaky at the back so far this campaign, but QPR are unlikely to punish them. Harry Redknapp’s side have scored just four goals in eight games this season and have struggled badly away from home. Back West Ham to win at 20/23 in the Match Betting market.