On February 10th, Queens Park Rangers will travel to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. Both of these sides will be looking at this game as one where they could pick up vital points in their efforts to stay in the Premier League. QPR will be looking to pick up their first points away from home this season. On the flipside, Sunderland will know how bad the Hoops are away from home and will see this as a possibility for a big three points to create a gap between themselves and the bottom three. It’s a classic relegation battle six pointer and it is a huge game for both sides.
Both teams have some of their better players out through injury. QPR will be missing their best player this season, Charlie Austin, through a foot injury he suffered against Southampton. Rangers’ centre-back Richard Dunne also sustained an injury against the Saints and will be out. They will also be missing Alejandro Faurlin through his ACl injury, but they could have Sandro back from his long term injury.
Sunderland’s squad could look a lot different depending on how some late fitness tests go. Both Connor Wickham and Lee Cattermole will be out. Wickham is out with a calf injury, while Cattermole will miss out due to a knee injury. Will Buckley, Billy Jones, and Jack Rodwell will all undergo late fitness tests to see if they will make the squad.
- QPR have not won away to Sunderland since 1991.
- The Hoops have won the last two meetings with Sunderland after not winning for the previous 11.
- QPR are the first Premier League team to lose their first 11 away games of a season.
- Sunderland have been the draw specialists of this Premier League season drawing 12 of their 24 matches.
- They have the joint fewest wins of any Premier League team, but also have fewer losses than any other side in the bottom half of the table.
Sunderland: Jermain Defoe
Sunderland’s biggest problem this season is they have lacked a consistent goalscorer. They will hope they have found that player in the shape of Premier League veteran Jermain Defoe. No Sunderland player has scored more than four goals this season. In only three Premier League matches, Defoe already has two goals for the side. Defoe has his critics when it comes to his overall game, but he gets goals and those goals could be the difference between Sunderland staying up and going down.
Queens Park Rangers: Joey Barton
Without Charlie Austin QPR could suffer in the goals department. QPR will need to be more creative without their top scorer. Joey Barton has created more chances than any other player in the squad. His combination of creativity and industry in the midfield will be vital for QPR. Without Austin, QPR will need their controversial Englishman to step up and put in some big performances.
Somehow QPR have been unable to claim any points away from home this season. You would think it has to happen eventually, but, without Charlie Austin, it will be a challenge for Rangers to get anything from this. Sunderland have not been able to win too many games and will know this is a chance to get three points instead of one.