This weekend’s fixture at Loftus Road is a top-versus-bottom encounter as runaway Premier League leaders Manchester United tackle a QPR side that look increasingly destined for the drop with every passing week.
Harry Redknapp’s men languish seven points adrift of safety with just two league wins all season and they now have just 12 games in which to avoid a calamitous relegation to the Championship.
Having been thrashed 4-1 away at Swansea City in their last outing, it doesn’t get any easier for the Rs, who now welcome a side that have tasted defeat just three times this campaign and find themselves 12 points clear at the top.
United have won all three meetings between the sides since Rangers were promoted back to the top flight in 2011, triumphing 2-0 on both occasions last season, while they came back from a goal down at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign to win 3-1.
The two sides’ fortunes this season couldn’t be any more contrasting, with United steaming ahead on three trophy fronts in the form of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, while to describe this term as a disaster for the Rs would be something of an understatement.
While performances have improved since the arrival of Redknapp at the helm back in November, Rangers still find themselves some way off the pace and it will take all of his experience in the dugout to pull off what looks an almost impossible task.
Unsurprisingly, it is the visitors who have been priced as odds-on favourites to secure all three points in west London at 1/2, with the draw at 3/1, while a much-needed win for Rangers can be backed at 11/2 in the bwin 3way football betting market.
United head into the game on the back of three successive league victories, with their last defeat coming back in November when they went down 1-0 at Norwich, sparking a run of 12 wins and two draws in the 14 games following that result at Carrow Road.
Since their last league outing, a 2-0 win at home to Everton, they’ve secured a 1-1 draw in the Bernabeu against Real Madrid, edging the Champions League last-16 tie slightly in their favour, and beat Reading 2-1 on Monday evening in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
One of the main reasons for their successful season to date has been an ability to find the net almost at will, as they lead the way in the goalscoring charts with 62 goals in their 26 league matches, 19 of those coming from the league’s top scorer, Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman’s tally in the league equals the number of goals scored by the entire QPR squad combined and the Londoners have failed to find the net in ten of their league outings, which goes some way to explaining their perilous position at the bottom.
Van Persie is always a good bet to open the scoring and is the favourite to do so at 5/2, with anyone successfully backing him with their free £20 bet after registering with bwin set to win £70.
The Reds have been leading at the break on 14 occasions in the league this season and have gone on to emerge victorious in all of those, so backing United to be winning at half-time and full-time in this match at 11/10 could prove fruitful.
While their attack is currently the envy of the league, United’s defence has been far from invincible and QPR will fancy their chances of finding the net against a back four that has recorded just three clean sheets in their 13 matches away from home.
Both sides to score in the game at 3/4 looks tempting, and with 18 of United’s matches involving over 2.5 goals (and 13 of those seeing over 3.5), a price of 23/20 on United to win a game of over 2.5 goals is the way I will be playing this one.
Despite holding Tottenham, Manchester City and Norwich City to a share of the spoils in their last three home matches, QPR face a side that are unparallelled in their ability to grind out wins, so expect the Rs to be plunged further into trouble this weekend.