After a turbulent 10 months under Mark Hughes, Harry Redknapp now has the responsibility of the enigma that is Queens Park Rangers football club. With them bottom of the table and without a win all season, Redknapp faces the biggest challenge of his 19 year managerial career. However he can take heart from his team collecting their first point from four games at Sunderland in the week.
While Aston Villa will look to carry on their momentum after 4 points from their back to back home games against Arsenal and Reading. Paul Lambert took over from Alex Mcleish in the summer but has failed to change the club’s disappointing form of last season. With constant speculation surrounding the future of Darren Bent, Lambert will hope his young squad manage to do his talking for him on Saturday.
Points were shared in this game last season as a Neil Warnock’s QPR drew 1-1 to Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa.
Saturday’s game will be very similar as both teams fight to stay in the division. QPR will be looking for their first win while Villa will be looking for consecutive wins for the first time in over a year.
Stephen Ireland will be pushing for a starting role after impressing in a cameo role against Reading. Enda Stevens came off injured against Reading and should be replaced by Eric Lihaj while Chris Herd has come back in to contention after injury. After failing to make the bench in the week it will be interesting to see whether Darren Bent will make the bench on Saturday after being left out against Reading.
Julio Cesar is very likely to miss out through injury mean Rob Green will deputise. Club captain Park Ji-sung will be in contention to start after making his return from injury as a substitute against Sunderland.
Ones to watch
Many of QPR’s new signing have failed to impress as they still remain without a win. But Granero, a summer signing from Real Madrid, has been the sole shining light in an ever depleted midfield. His creation of 30 chances shows that forwards Cisse and Zamora have been far too wasteful. However his defensive stats show why QPR’s defensive record is one of the league’s worst. His winning tackle percentage is 87% however has only made at most four tackles per game. Granero can be at his most effective in a five man midfield. This means he can be stripped of his defensive duties as he continues to create numerous amounts of chances.
Lambert’s record summer signing hasn’t failed to live up to his £7 million price tag. Since scoring on his home debut Benteke has kept record Aston villa signing Darren Bent out of the starting 11. His brute strength has helped him to three goals and two assists in 14 games. Yet for a team with only 11 goals so far, Benteke needs to improve his shot accuracy of 50% if Villa are to move out of the relegation zone.
This Relegation battle will hinge on QPR’s ability to take chances. The responsibility will lie on Cisse as he aims to expand on his four goals in six league games against Aston Villa. Like in all games the first goal will be crucial. Villa have only gained one point from losing positions this season so QPR will be looking to start quickly. If Redknapp can keep Benteke quiet then they should collect their first win of the season. I expect there to be goals in a comfortable home win.
Prediction- QPR 2-0 Aston Villa