Harry Redknapp and his QPR side may have the second worst record in the league right now, but they will know there is no better time than right now to take on the Champions of England. Manchester City are in shambles at the moment, with their record after the 4-1 win against Tottenham reading DLLWL in all competitions. Even their derby win against Manchester United wasn’t the most convincing, and Manuel Pellegrini will need to take a long hard look at his himself and his squad to successfully navigate this potential banana skin of a tie.
The last time these teams met at Loftus Road was in the 2012/13 season; the game ended 0-0.
David Silva and Aleksander Kolarov are sidelined for City, while Frank Lampard may make a return to the squad, while Harry Redknapp will be without Rio Ferdinand, Nedum Onuoha, Alex McCarthy and Adel Taarabt in addition to long term absentees Jermaine Jenas and Alejandro Faurlin.
This fixture is, of course, most famous for being the one in which City won their first title in 44 years three seasons ago; Aguero’s 94th minute winner going down as one of the Premier League’s most iconic moments.
QPR have conceded the most goals in the Premier League with 20; City have conceded only 10. QPR have also scored the second fewest goals in the league (9).
The last time City lost to QPR was in March 2000, in the second tier of English football. QPR won 3-1 at Maine Road, but City ultimately sealed promotion to the Premier League with a second place finish that year
Sergio Aguero has scored 11 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances.
Head-to-head: QPR:12 MCI:22 D:16
Queens Park Rangers – Richard Dunne
With Rio Ferdinand banned for the next 2 games because of his Twitter snafu, it’ll be up to Dunne to stop his former club from running riot against the Rangers here. Dunne made 296 appearances for City before arriving at QPR via Aston Villa, but he has performed reasonably well in the Rangers’ last two outings, and Redknapp’s defense has looked more solid with the Irishman at its heart along with Steven Caulker. He holds the dubious distinction of being the Premier League’s highest ever own-goal scorer (10), but he’ll have to be on his game here because if it’s one thing a strike force containing Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic doesn’t need, it’s help putting the ball in the back of the net.
Manchester City – Defense
It seems odd to highlight both teams’ defense as a key area in this game, especially given City’s formidable front 6, but City have now conceded 8 goals in their last 5 games, which is troubling given they played West Ham, Newcastle and CSKA (twice) in this time. Manuel Pellegrini’s men just cannot keep the ball out of their own net at the moment, and only Vincent Kompany has had a relatively steady start to the season. The central spot next to him is up for grabs with Mangala not performing up to the required standards, City’s left-back position is now an identified weakness no matter who plays there and even the ever-reliable Zabaleta has not enjoyed the best of starts down the right flank. City haven’t won a game after conceding first this season, and their generally sloppy play this season possesses all-too-familiar signs of second-season syndrome kicking in; Pellegrini desperately needs a win here before a more serious rethink during the international break.
Projected Starting XIs
Queens Park Rangers: 4-5-1: Green – Traore,Dunne,Caulker,Isla – Phillips,Henry,Hoilett,Sandro,Vargas – Austin
Manchester City: 4-2-2-2: Hart – Sagna,Kompany,Demichelis,Clichy – Fernandinho,Fernando –Nasri,Milner – Aguero,Dzeko
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City are having a little bit of a crisis of confidence right now, and they badly need the international break to regroup. QPR have played well despite what recent results may suggest, and they could pull off an upset against the champions if things go their way on Saturday.
Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Manchester City