QPR are in dire need of a victory as they languish at the foot of the Premier League after nine matches. Three draws is all they have to show for their efforts to date, two of which have came in their last three home games. The money that Mark Hughes spend during the close season – both on transfer fee’s and the resulting salaries – would suggest that such a run of form is simply not good enough. Hughes, who has been in the job less than a year, has received a vote of confidence from the owner but it’s unlikely he will tolerate continued poor results considering the money he has poured into the club. With two of their next three games against sides directly above them in the table, the pressure on those games becomes huge. Should they manage two victories then Hughes and his players can play with a bit more freedom – if they were to lose either (or both) then questions will no doubt be asked.
Reading are the only other side in the Premier League along with Sunday’s opponents who have yet to win. They have managed one draw more than Rangers’ but they have to grab that first victory before much longer otherwise they’ll start losing touch with the sides above them. Not blessed with the same finance as QPR, the Royals have had to be creative in the transfer market as well as remaining faithful to the players who earned them automatic promotion last season. Brian McDermott will have to rally the troops after their agonizing extra time cup loss. If they had managed to hold out for 20 seconds extra, they could be coming into this match with a real boost. As it is, it goes down as another game without a win as well as failing to keep a clean sheet for the 11th straight match.
Hughes and the QPR supporters will take heart from their fighting performance last weekend in the match against Arsenal at the Emirates. Only a late goal when Rangers’ were down to 10 men prevented them from collecting a deserved point. Even after losing the goal they created a couple of chances and with a bit more composure they could have taken one of them.
McDermott’s men have already won at Loftus Road this season, running out 3-2 winners in the League Cup. It could be argued that they are getting closer to that elusive first league victory as they lost just one of their last three – away to Liverpool – which suggests that although they can’t keep a clean sheet, their spirit and desire makes them harder to beat than earlier in the season.
It’s another match where I can see plenty of attacking opportunities as Reading only know one way to play. They leave themselves hopelessly exposed at the back but do carry a threat going forward. QPR are desperate to break their winless streak which makes it a recipe for goals.
Over 2.5 goals 4/5 @ Bet365