QPR vs Aston Villa 2014
We always seem to play QPR during important times for the London side. Last time we played them at Loftus Road it was Harry Redknapp’s first home game. The Villa Park clash that season was a relegation six-pointer. Both Barry Bannan and Brett Holman scored their only Premier League goals for Villa at Loftus Road, so anything can happen in this fixture. We face a struggling QPR side but they did impress against Liverpool, and of course, Villa have problems of their own.
Lambert on QPR preparations
“They’ve got seasoned pros there. It’s going to be a hard game because that’s the way it is, a tight ground with the crowd right on top of you. There’s a good atmosphere there.
But from one side we’re definitely [on the] up from the other week, that’s for sure.”
“The reaction this week in training has been really, really good. On Saturday there were no complaints. The only positives were Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar getting a game under their belt. They will be better for it.”
“There’s no doubt we have to be on that front foot on Monday. The lads knew we weren’t happy. I think that’s normal. They weren’t happy themselves.
“We’re going to have to go and earn the right at Loftus Road on Monday.”
Redknapp on Villa
“This is a tough league – there are no easy games – and Villa will come to Loftus Road looking to win the game.“They’re quick, good on the counter and will be tough to play.
“But we’re at home and I’ve been pleased with our form and I’m confident in this group of players.”
1st December 2012 QPR 1 Aston Villa 1
An impressive goal from Brett Holman couldn’t prevent a frustrating draw in Redknapp’s first home game, where he fielded a completely unrecognisable team from the one we will face on Monday.
QPR – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2 (Including a Play-Off Semi-Final win against Wigan)
Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3
Villa have drawn twice against QPR at Loftus Road in recent years but struggled in the 90’s (D 1, L 3)
One to Watch
Eduardo Vargas – on loan from Napoli, the Chilean international is a quality forward and inspired a mini-comeback against Liverpool
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
After a battling performance against Man City there was quiet optimism before the Everton game – optimism that was soon undone by a very weak Villa performance. Lambert has called for his team to play with more “freedom” and said morale is good ahead of Monday’s game, but a lot needs to change if we are going to move up the table. Tom Fox said a top ten finish should be a minimum for Villa each season – against Everton we looked like relegation fodder.
Facing bottom-of-the-table QPR will be a different challenge for Villa. Redknapp’s men saw a surprising amount of the ball against Liverpool and will probably be confident against profligate Villa, who have only amassed a measly 12 shots on target this season.
Worryingly every team in the top four divisions has scored at least twice as many goals as Villa except for Burnley and QPR. To be bracketed with those teams is a major set-back to any ambition from Villa to progress from a relegation-threatened side.
Failing to score against QPR would make it five games in a row with no goals. QPR, while struggling, have at least managed to score four times in their league two home games which should set off alarm bells for Lambert’s men.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Often in draws and defeats under Lambert we have at least scored, and there have been occasional flashes of attacking creativity during the Scot’s tenure. These have been all too rare this season. It would be good to see a few changes in the line-up on Monday, perhaps bringing in Grealish who wasn’t even on the bench at Goodison Park. Setting out to counter has clearly not worked in the last few games but a change of personnel, along with the potential stability of a returning Senderos and Vlaar partnership, could boost Villa’s muted attacking threat and help us towards the three points.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
No team seems to have suffered a run of fixtures like Villa this season, and while the Everton showing was weak, the QPR fixture represents a chance to cast aside the confidence-draining losses against last season’s top four.
QPR’s admirable performance against Liverpool should not mask the fact that they have conceded at least two goals in each of their last five Premier League games. With Redknapp’s men clearly lacking pace at the back, Villa’s goal-shy forwards could show their full potential.
Simply put, it’s a crucial time to pick up the points, and the fans deserve a performance that justifies Lambert’s new contract. QPR have failed to beat us in the last four recent attempts and we’ve been stronger away this season. This is the time to get back on track.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball