Queens Park Rangers, the cellar dwellers in the English Premier League, are certainly going to have their hands full when they host second-place Manchester City at Loftus Road on Tues. Jan. 29. Of course, these two teams met on the final day of last season with City scoring two goals in injury time to win the league on goal difference over Manchester United.
Man City is currently in second place in the league with 51 points from 15 wins, six draws and a pair of losses. They’ve scored 45 goals and allowed just 19 against and are five points behind league-leading Manchester United. QPR is dead last in the league with just two wins, nine draws and 12 defeats for 15 points. They’re also five points out of the relegation zone and there’s a very good chance they’ll be going back down to the Championship League next season. They’ve scored 18 goals and allowed 37 and sacked manager Mark Hughes earlier in the season and replaced him with Harry Redknapp.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a QPR win at 6/1 with a Man City victory at 1/2 and a draw at 3/1.
City is coming off of a 1-0 win over Stoke in the FA Cup on Saturday while QPR was embarrassed 4-2 at home by lower league MK Dons after falling behind 4-0. This game against City looks like a complete mismatch on paper, but anything is possible once the match kicks off. QPR spent a lot of money during the offseason to try and strengthen the side, but it looks like they signed the wrong players and are in deep trouble because of it. They have made one recent signing that may help them though and that was striker Loic Remy from France, who scored in his QPR debut.
On the down side, 25-year-old defender Ryan Nelsen will soon be leaving the club as he’s signed to become the new manager of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). This is a peculiar situation though since Nelsen is under contract with QPR until the end of the current season. The New Zealand international has announced that this will be his last game in the Premier League and will head to Toronto on Feb. 1. His loss will hurt QPR and Redknapp should have held him to his contract and refused to let him go.
As far as injuries go, it looks like QPR might have to play without some of their better players such as forwards Junior Hoilett, Bobby Zamora, and Shaun Wright-Phillips. They’ll also be without Samba Diakite as he is playing in South Africa at the African Nations Cup and Andrew Johnson, who’s been out for weeks due to a serious knee problem. For Man City’s manager Roberto Mancini, it looks like captain and Belgian international defender Vincent Kompany could miss the match with a calf problem. In addition, Matija Nastasic has a knee injury and brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure are both away at the African Nations Cup. Defenders Micah Richards and Maicon are also injured, but Samir Nasri and Mario Balotelli should be healthy.
City has a chance here to cut United’s lead to just two points since they don’t play until Wednesday at home against Southampton. QPR need all the points they can get to fight off relegation and this means they could make a mistake and try to go out for just a draw against City instead of a win. If they do this, expect them to get beaten. However, if they actually try to take all three points they could have some success and ironically end up with a draw.