Despite unwavering support from Chairman Tony Fernandes as the side sit bottom of the table without a win in their opening nine league games, the next three matches could be crucial for QPR manager Mark Hughes’ tenure at the helm of the club.
Games against Stoke and Southampton are preceded this weekend by the visit of Reading to Loftus Road, who themselves are still in search of their first victory of the season, having drawn four and lost four of their opening eight league matches.
The R’s head into the game on the back of two solid displays, in which they held high-flying Everton to a 1-1 draw at home, albeit against ten men for half an hour, before conceding late on Saturday as they went down 1-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates.
That match saw a moment of madness from defender Stephane Mbia, who, with ten minutes of the game remaining and having won a free-kick with the scores still level, kicked out at Thomas Vermaelen, resulting in a straight red card and a three match ban for the Cameroon international.
The Royals head to West London following two enthralling encounters, their previous league game a 3-3 draw at home to Fulham last weekend, in which Hal Robson-Kanu struck in injury time to ensure a share of the spoils for Brian McDermott’s men.
That was closely followed by their Capital One Cup match against Arsenal on Tuesday evening, in which they raced into a 4-0 lead, before an amazing turnaround from the Gunners saw Arsene Wenger’s side emerge 7-5 victors after extra-time.
Rangers are priced as odds-on favourites at 39/50 to secure their third league win in a row against the Berkshire club which would give Hughes some much needed respite, with the draw at 27/10, while a Reading win can be backed at 16/5 in the bwin 3way football betting market.
This meeting sees two of the league’s most generous defences come head-to-head, with only Southampton conceding more than the 18 the R’s have let in this term, while the Royals have conceded just one less while also failing to keep a clean sheet.
This would suggest there won’t be a lack of goals, as was the case when the two sides met earlier in the season as Reading saw off Rangers 3-2 in the second round of the Capital One Cup, courtesy of a Pavel Pogrebnyak winner.
That made it two goals in two games against the R’s for the Russian forward, both coming at Loftus Road, including the solitary goal in a 1-0 win for Fulham last season, and the frontman looks an attractive price at 13/4 to score at anytime in the match.
Rangers themselves possess a wealth of attacking talent, who will fancy their chances against a Reading side who have shipped ten goals in two matches and picked up just one point away from the Madejski Stadium, and if the R’s perform as they have done in their last two outings, a QPR win looks on the cards.
With five of the London club’s league games involving 3 or more goals, as well as five of their visitor’s league outings, a home victory in a game featuring over 2.5 goals at 8/5 looks the way to bet.