At Loftus Road both QPR and Swansea will be looking for a positive start to 2015 and the second half of their remaining fixtures. Swansea’s year ended on a rather sour note getting beat 4-1 by Liverpool at Anfield, QPR meanwhile closed out the year with a scoreless draw against Crystal Palace. The two sides last met on December 2nd and Redknapp will be expecting his side to continue their great home form and avenge the defeat. Starting the year with a victory and heading into the second half of the season will be on both teams’ agenda, especially in a game where both teams know they have the capability to take 3 points. Swansea have 3 from their last 6 while QPR have won 2, so the form is similar going into the match even though both have differing ambitions for the season. QPR away have been poor to say the least so these are matches they will need to continue picking up points in so as to secure their Premier League status. Swansea’s recent win over QPR should give them an advantage over the home team but they will be aware that the Hoops are different animal when playing in front of their home support.
QPR will be without Yun Suk-Young, Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taraabt and Sandro. There it would be safe to expect the home side to field a team much like the one that was used against Crystal Palace. Don’t expect many changes to be made barring any fatigue players are suffering due the strenuous Christmas period. Big players such as Charlie Austin and Leroy Fer will again men that the home fans will look to in the hope they can take charge of the game and claim another 3 points at Loftus Road.
The biggest loss for Swansea heading into the new year clash is the continued absence of Jefferson Montero. The Ecuadorian speedster has taken well to life in the Premier League with some stand out performance for the Welsh side. Nathan Dyer debuted in his place against Liverpool and it’s more than likely that will the case for the sides clash in London. Youngster Modou Barrow is another continued absence for the Swans but it is the Montero shaped hole in the side that will most upset the away support as his talents have been well documented since he started to start regularly for them.
- For the calendar year 2014 Wilfried Bony is the top goalscorer in the Premier League with 20 goals
- Last time the two sides met at Loftus Road Swansea ran out 5-0 winners in 2012
- There has never been a penalty awarded in a match between the two sides in the Premier League
- There has never been a red card awarded in a match between the two sides in the Premier League
QPR: Charlie Austin
Anyone that doubted Charlie Austin’s Premier League credentials have well and truly been silenced. The former Swindon Town man is sitting on a very impressive 12 goals in 17 appearances. It’s the type of form that can the difference between a relegation dog fight or a mid table finish. After Liverpool took 4 off the Swansea defence in their last match you can bet that Austin will smell blood and be going for the kill. Austin’s goal scoring has been met with the usual wonder of when is he going to collect his England cap, which will be inevitable if he can keep up this type of goal scoring ratio especially for a team expected to be struggling in the relegation zone. It would surprise me if Austin doesn’t improve his goal scoring record against Swansea. I expect the Englishman to start off his 2015 as he ended 2014. Right now he has the potential to make 2015 the biggest year of his career as teams won’t ignore a player who can consistently score in the Premier League.
Swansea City: Gylfi Sigurdsson
The Icelandic attacking midfielder is showing the form that saw him chased and signed by Tottenham a few years ago. His set piece prowess and creative vision has played a big part in Swansea’s good season so far. The former Tottenham man has an impressive record this season, with 4 goals and 8 assists in 18 games he has helped his side into a potential challenge for a Europa league spot. Not only that but he has created 45 goal scoring chances, if he continues to create that number of chances with a striker in front of him with the quality that Bony has you can definitely see that assist tally growing rapidly. Not only that but his dead ball speciality has picked up points for Swansea on its own at times. With the game tied and going stagnant Swansea can always have that hope if they win a free kick Sigurdsson could turn the game on its head in the Welsh side’s favour. I can see him causing numerous problems for that shaky QPR back line.
Were this the game at the Liberty stadium it would be a easy prediction of a Swansea win. However, QPR are a different animal altogether at home which is evident from results like their draw against Man City. Swansea have been having a good season but the result away to Liverpool will have stung their confidence in terms trying to stay in and around the European spots. With a striker on the constant form that Bony is and the creative know how of Sigurdsson, QPR’s defence could very easily be breached. But, QPR have a confident Charlie Austin who at the moment it just a given that he is going get his goal each game he plays. It could go either way but in my opinion I see a score draw as the most likely outcome.