What a bad couple of days it’s been for QPR. No reinforcements on deadline day and manager Harry Redknapp has now resigned amid claims of deteriorating health. Whether a change of manager is the shot of adrenaline the Rangers need is up for debate but that’s what they have. Southampton have no such worries after two deals were secured on deadline day by a manager excelling in his debut Premier League season, however, the Saints will be looking to take maximum points here after slipping up to Swansea City last weekend – a wasted opportunity after beating both Arsenal and Manchester United earlier this month.
Whoever manages QPR this weekend will face a maximum of four injuries before picking his first QPR squad. Winger Adel Taarabt has a knock which could keep him out of this weekend whilst both Armand Traore (ankle) and Sandro Raniere (knee) face late fitness tests to prove their health. Alejandro Faurlin is out until the season with an ACL injury.
The Saints have been struggling with injuries of late with Toby, Alderweireld, Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin missing through hamstring and groin injuries – all could return for this tie. Shane Long is definitely out with a fractured rib whilst fellow striker Sam Gallagher is also missing with a knee injury. Emmanuel Mayaka is another miss with a groin strain, as is Lloyd Isgrove. Star striker Jay Rodriguez is the final missing man for Southampton with his continuing rehabilitation from a damaging ACL injury.
Away from injury news, Southampton completed the signings of Ryan Bertrand (£10m) and Filip Djuricic (loan) on transfer deadline day.
Six of the last nine meetings between these two sides have ended with away wins.
Defeat against Manchester United last time out was QPR’s first defeat at home in seven games (W4, D3).
Southampton have won three consecutive Premier League away games for the first time in the competitions history.
QPR have allowed more shots on target against them than any other team in the top flight – 128.
QPR striker Charlie Austin has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the Premier League with 13 goals to his name already. Austin is QPR’s most important player, by some distance, and the Rangers will hope his goal scoring exploits continue well into 2015.
So far this season, Austin has averaged 0.64 goals per 90 minutes played (p90). That’s a solid figure for a player who had no previous experience in the top flight – it must also be remembered that Austin is playing in a relegation threatened side, he is their only outlet which makes his record even more impressive. Impressively, Austin has a shooting accuracy of 67% which is vital for a side that doesn’t create an ample amount of chances – when they do make a chance, they have to make sure they at least test the ‘keeper which is something that Austin is doing more often than not.
On a slight downer, Austin could do with adding a little more steel to his game which would help QPR gain stronger footholds in games. The striker’s heading and take-ons are little weak which shows he needs to be better at retaining the ball, especially if he’s playing as the lone striker. If he can improve this side of his game even slightly then QPR will stand a better chance of surviving their relegation scrap.
Eljero Elia has enjoyed a brilliant start to life in the Premier League with the pacey winger scoring three goals in three appearances since his January switch to the South coast. Not only is Elia making an instant impact on the scoring charts, he’s also creating. The Dutchman is creating 1.16 chances p90 and holds successful take-ons percentage of 53.85%.
Elia could be just the switch up that Southampton needed especially with the injury list growing for Ronald Koeman’s side. It’s easy to see why Elia is scoring too as the wideman has a 100% passing accuracy to his name which shows how diligently he uses the ball when in goal scoring positions. of course, it must be remembered that Elia has an extremely small data sample but nevertheless the figures shown are impressive for a foreign player joining a new league half way through a gruelling season.
My prediction for this game is going to be a draw. With QPR playing some decent football on home turf I just think they’ll cause the Saints a few problems on the day. The change in management will also provide a shot in the arm for both the players and the crowd which should see the Hoops perform slightly above normal. Let’s see what happens but I’m going for 1-1.