Queens Park Rangers host Crystal Palace in a mid-season relegation battle to cap of the first half of the Premier League season. With just two points and two places separating the sides, a win would crucial in pulling away from the pack and QPR especially have a chance to reach as high up as 13th if results on Sunday go their way.
The R’s put up a spirited performance against Arsenal on Boxing Day, but it wasn’t good enough for their first away point of the season as the Gunners prevailed 2-1 despite playing with ten men for most of the second half. Loftus Road on the other hand has been a happy hunting and the six-pointer against Crystal Palace will turn out to be one of the most important games of the season.
Palace meanwhile have been quite abject in the past two months and have fallen down like a stone, putting huge pressure on Neil Warnock with strong rumours circulating about his future at the club if his side were to lose on Sunday. He seems to have lost the fans, the owners and it would be ironical if he were to lose his job at Loftus Road where he was sacked as a QPR manager in 2012.
QPR: Sandro, Adel Taarabt and Alejandro Faurlin continue to be long-term absentees while Yun Suk-young has been ruled out for at least a month because of the ankle injury he suffered against West Brom.
Joey Barton suffered a minor hamstring strain and will face a late fitness test ahead of Sunday’s match.
Crystal Palace: Marouane Chamakh is currently out with a hamstring injury while Frazier Campbell came off injured at the beginning of the second half on Boxing Day and is a doubt for Sunday.
Captain Mile Jedinak will play his last game before joining Australia for the Asian Cup and will miss his side’s league games for most of January.
- The two sides last met in the Premier League almost 20 years ago, with Crystal Palace securing a 1-0 away win back in April 1995.
- All of QPR’s 17 points have come at home as they have none from their travels.
- QPR have fallen behind in 14 out of their 18 league games so far this season – more than any other team.
- QPR have conceded the most goals in the league (34), followed by Leicester (31) and Palace (30).
- QPR have lost to Crystal Palace just once in their last 8 meetings
- QPR have won 4 of their last 5 home games and have the best home record of all teams in the bottom half of the table.
- Crystal Palace have won just once in their last 12 games in the Premier League and have scored just twice in their last five games.
- Crystal Palace have the least possession, 36.9% along with the worst pass completion 67.9%
- Crystal Palace have one point from their four London derbies so far this season while QPR have none from four.
- QPR and Crystal Palace have kept just one clean sheet in their last 8 and 12 league games respectively.
Last Five Meetings
12 Mar 2011 Q.P.R. 2 – 1 Crystal Palace Championship
02 Oct 2010 Crystal Palace 1 – 2 Q.P.R. Championship
10 Apr 2010 Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Q.P.R. Championship
03 Nov 2009 Q.P.R. 1 – 1 Crystal Palace Championship
04 Apr 2009 Q.P.R. 0 – 0 Crystal Palace Championship
QPR: Charlie Austin
With 10 goals in his last Premier League starts, Charlie Austin is on the hottest such streak in the Premier League. He became 2nd QPR player to score at least 12 goals in the league before the end of December following in the footsteps of Les Ferdinand to have achieved such a feat, 20 years ago.
He has been involved in 14 of his side’s 21 goals this season with his contribution of 2/3rd being more than any other player for their team in the Premier League. With an average of 3.9 shots per game, he has managed a 66% shot accuracy and will be looking to terrorize a troubled Crystal Palace defence
Crystal Palace: Mile Jedinak
The Aussie skipper has continued with his impeccable displays in the middle of the park and has continued to be his side’s best player throughout their troubled times. He leads the charts in interceptions made with 68 while he has made third highest tackles in the league with 62. He also leads the club’s scoring charts with five goals and will have to lead from the front in his last game for almost a month before he joins his country for the Asian Cup.
With QPR’s strong home record and a number 9 who can’t stop scoring, it is difficult to see an out of sorts Palace side ending the year on anything but a disappointing note and possibly having their manager sacked.