Relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers welcome London rivals West Ham United to Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon. If QPR have any ambitions of remaining in the Premier League for another season this will be a game that Ramsay and his squad will be looking at as a potential 3 points. West Ham and Sam Allardyce are in a state of flux. The great success their season appeared to be heading for before Christmas has petered out into a mid-table finish. The season has 5 games remaining but West Ham’s season is over. Loftus Road will supply the atmosphere expected of a London Derby and QPR will supply the heart and battle since they should be scrapping for their Premier League futures. Is this West Ham team in their current situation capable of matching that intensity? They have nothing to play for and their performance against Man City last week is indicative of that. Can they lift themselves to the occasion or can QPR over run them with their desire and motivation for the remainder of the season still at its peak?
Chris Ramsay was in a positive mood when he addressed the media on Thursday. The QPR manager was pleased to announce they had managed to get a lot of those who have had minor knocks out training in the last fortnight. He did confirm that Rio Ferdinand is nursing an injury that could see him out for a few weeks. A positive for Rs’ fans is that Leroy Fer is expected to at the least make the bench for the game on Saturday. He isn’t a 100% but Ramsay said he could be willing to risk him on Saturday, but they are wary of a reoccurring injury. Full-back Yun is also available for West Hams visit.
Sam Allardyce confirmed that his United side were suffering from the same injuries list as last week heading into the match at Loftus Road. Big Sam said: “whether we can get Sakho and Tomkins back before the end of the season is touch and go”. The Hammers boss went on to say that Guy Demel has picked up a calf injury as well. Physioroom favourite Andy Carroll is also still out for the West Ham.
- Last the two sides met at Loftus Road West Ham ran out 2-1 winners against the home side back in October 2012.
- Les Ferdinand is the top goalscorer in this Premier League fixture. Ferdinand managed 3 goals against West Ham.
- In 51 previous meetings between the two teams; West Ham have managed 19 wins, QPR 16 win and the remaining 16 ended in draws.
- The last time QPR managed a victory over West Ham in the Premier League was back in April 1996.
- QPR have failed to beat West Ham in their last four attempts.
- The first ever meeting between the two was a QPR home game back in October 1948. QPR beat West Ham 2-1 that day.
QPR: Charlie Austin
With 17 goals to his name already this season, Charlie Austin should have the personal target in mind of meeting that 20 goals mark by the season’s end. His ultimate target should be to help QPR to safety, but his own goal scoring targets will play into that as it is his performances that have picked up a lto fo points for his side this season. Against a West Ham defence that can leave a to be desired, let alone when they have nothing to play for, Austin should see it as a prime opportunity to pick up a goal or two and help his side to another 3 points. Austin has proven his caliber as a Premier league striker this year, he is capable of scoring against anyone he plays against. QPR have been able to rely on his this season, were it not for Austin their potential relegation could have already been confirmed. Expect Austin to put a big game in on Saturday, with 2 goals in his last 3 games he should be adding to that form against West ham.
West Ham: Mark Noble
If West Ham are going to get anything from this game they are going to need to motivate themselves to lift their level of performance beyond what their position in the league warrants. With nothing to play for, West Ham will need a player like the man holding the armband Mark Noble. It will be Noble that can set the tone for the Hammers and lift their performance. His consistency in midfield and combative approach should lead by example and drag the rest of the squad into a performance. Noble has held his position in that Hammers midfield for as long as he has for good reason. His consistency and ability to recycle possession for West Ham can never be underestimated. In a London Derby against QPR you can expect Noble will know what the match means to the supporters even if it won’t mean much to the squad at this stage, he will be the one looking to make things happen and will not let QPR and the fact they are still playing for something overrun his West Ham midfield.
West Ham’s season is over. QPR on the other hand still have everything to fight for. This makes a huge difference. What’s more is that West Ham and Sam Allardyce don’t really know where they stand going forward. How motivated is Big Sam if he thinks he will be sacked at the end of the season. It is all there for QPR to take advantage of. The Hoops have also been their most impressive at home this season, a London derby as well, Chris Ramsay and his side should be looking for nothing other than 3 points coming out of Saturday. If QPR don’t come away from this game with a victory I don’t believe they will be able to survive relegation, if they can win on Saturday it keeps them fighting. A big performance from Charlie Austin and Co. against a West Ham stuck in flux between now in the end of the season.
3-1 QPR win