Prepare for an entertaining affair at Loftus Road.
After all the hubbub about Steve McClaren leading QPR to a miserable relegation, the cheeky chappy has only gone and won 10 points from his last four matches! Despite the Championship table very much still in its infancy, many were backing McClaren to lose his job in August, after four straight defeats to start the season, but he’s admirably recovered from this early blip.
They welcome Norwich City to Loftus Road on the back of a good 2-0 home win against Millwall, and they will also be buoyed by three clean sheets in their last four league games, though Norwich may see that little run come to an end…
The Canaries have been their usual inconsistent selves this season – currently sitting 12th in the division – but they also come into this fixture in a little bit of form: two wins against lowly Reading and high-flying Middlesbrough.
You can generally safely assume that there will be plenty of goals on show if Norwich come to the party: their matches have seen 25 goals so in so far this season – only Aston Villa (26) have seen more goal involvement.
The actual result of this one is incredibly hard to call – both of these sides finding some form will hopefully make it an exciting and goal-filled spectacle, so for that reason I’m backing both teams to score.
If you’re feeling a tad bolder and fancy a little more value, here is a nice request-a-bet which looks particularly likely to land: both teams to score, over 2.5 goals and either team to win.
I’m fairly confident about the first two landing; as I mentioned, Norwich in particular are a side who have scored (12) and conceded (13) plenty this year, and all the numbers point towards goals flying in.
Another stat which suggests this bet may land is the face that QPR and Norwich have only drawn a combined three matches in the 16 they have played; this is ultimately a good choice for a television game – the atmosphere at Loftus Road should add to the occasion – and this request-a-bet is one which will hopefully make its viewing even more pleasurable.
QPR’s rapid revival has coincided with the loan arrivals of strikers Nahki Wells and Tomer Hemed. They have immediately made a difference to this side: Hemed scored the winner against Wigan to start their upturn, and is a fantastic hold-up striker and goal poacher.
Wells injects some much-needed pace into this QPR side – a trait the team painfully lacked with Matt Smith and Conor Washington as their strikers – and his stretching of defences and pressing from the front has made a massive difference already.
Hemed and Wells are a strike force which many teams fighting for promotion would be happy with – incidentally both players were promoted two seasons ago with Brighton and Huddersfield respectively - and they’re expected to line up together against Norwich.
Hemed is most effective when playing with a pacey striker who stretches defences – Sam Baldock at Brighton is the prime example – so I’m backing him to score QPR’s first goal on Saturday.