This weekend the Etihad turf hosts a slightly watered down version of the 2011-2012 final day with QPR once again bidding to avoid relegation – the twist is that the Premier League title is already sewn up. This year, Manchester City are simply looking for second spot with Arsenal challenging strongly for the second automatic Champions’ League place. Meanwhile, QPR sit 43 points behind the Citizens in 19th place, a whopping seven points from safety. Anything other than an unlikely Rangers win will surely see the London relegated.
Jesus Navas, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri are all doubts for this clash with hamstring, thigh and groin injuries respectively. Midfielder Yaya Toure could be included in some form but should be in better shape for the following weekend with his hamstring injury nearing full recovery. Stefan Jovetic remains sidelined with a muscular injury.
Queens Park Rangers
Armand Traore, Mauro Zarate and Steven Caulker are all doubts with calf, knee and a broken hand injury hampering them respectively. Michael Doughty is another doubt with an ankle knock whilst Eduardo Vargas (MCL Knee ligament damage) and Alejandro Faurlin (ACL damage) are out for the season.
- Manchester City have lost just one of their last 15 Premier League home games (W11, D3, L1).
- City are unbeaten in their last six matches against QPR in all competitions – although they’ve drawn the last two (W4, D2).
- Sergio Aguero has scored three goals in four appearances against QPR including the title clinching goal in 2012.
- Only four goalkeepers (David James with 13, Thomas Sorensen with 12, Brad Friedel and Mark Schwarzer with 10) have saved more penalties than Robert Green (9).
- Rob Green has made more errors (6) leading to goals than any other player this season.
- Jesus Navas has now attempted 42 shots (including blocked) in the Premier League with scoring – more than any other player.
- Since the start of last season, Charlie Austin has scored 36 goals for QPR (including the Playoffs) which is at least 29 more than any other player. Bobby Zamora is next with seven.
Sergio Aguero and Charlie Austin
It’s not hard to imagine where Manchester City and QPR would be right now had it not been for the mercurial powers of Sergio Aguero and Charlie Austin. The bullish Argentine striker has had yet another wonderful season despite his teammates downing tools since the turn of 2015 to allow Chelsea to romp to another title win. Meanwhile, down at the foot of the table, Austin has kept QPR in the survival fight for as long as possible with 17 goals to his name. Despite performing in a severely non-functioning team, Aguero has managed to maintain his status as the Premier League’s top goalscorer with 22 goals poached so far – showing how excellent he’s been individually.
Those 22 goals scored by Aguero translate to 0.88 goals per 90 minutes played (p90) which is a really good figure – not quite Luis Suarez 13/14 (0.94) but still impressive. Austin is slightly further back on 0.55 p90 but that’s not to be sniffed at with those figures translating to better than a goal every other game. These goals wouldn’t be possible without a supreme eye for accuracy and anything better than a 50% shot accuracy can be considered competitive for a striker playing regularly. Austin leads the way in this regard with 67% of his shots raining in on the goalkeeper whilst Aguero finds the target with 53% of his attempts. Both strikers would be happy with this figure but Austin should be really proud, considering he’s played up front for QPR all season long. Aguero can certainly be expected to be the most active in the opposition penalty area as he’s averaged over four shots inside the area p90, whilst Austin has managed just over two – that could be an indication of which player is most mobile and most creative on their own or it could simply be down to the fact that Manchester City are better than QPR, truthfully it’s probably a mixture of both. Aguero is certainly the more creative of the two when it comes to giving their teammates a chance with the pacey City man creating 1.12 chances p90 compared to Austin’s 0.68.
All in all, these two lethal frontmen should decide the outcome of Sunday’s match although I’d have my money on Aguero with City’s home form simply awesome over the last fifteen matches. QPR are pretty much already down so perhaps the pressure will be off and the shackles released, I doubt it though. 3-1 to City for me.