Seven league matches remain for QPR boss Harry Redknapp to achieve the unenviable task of keeping the club in the Premier League, starting with the key visit of fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
Monday night’s 3-2 defeat at Fulham, in which schoolboy defending saw them fall three goals down just before half-time, means the Rs sit second from bottom, seven points adrift of safety with just four wins to their name all season.
Redknapp reckons 14 points could be enough to see them survive, but the Hoops realistically have to win at least six, if not all, of their remaining league matches to stand any chance of staying up.
Rangers went down by the same scoreline in their six-pointer at Aston Villa before the international break, a game in which they would have been out of sight by half-time if it were not for the heroics of Villa keeper Brad Guzan keeping them at bay.
QPR’s next opponents sit just outside of the relegation places on goal difference, although it should be noted that Roberto Martinez’s men have played a game less than the three sides that occupy the places below them.
As seems customary at this stage of the season, the Latics have been in good form of late, heading into this encounter on the back of three wins from their last four league matches, and an FA Cup semi-final appearance against Millwall also awaits them.
However, the bwin bookmakers have installed QPR as 5/4 favourites to secure back-to-back home wins on Sunday, with the draw at 23/10 and a fifth away success of the season for the Latics – which would all but seal their hosts’ fate – chalked up at 21/10.
Regardless of who eventually gets the points, one thing looks certain from this game: goals.
Net-bulging aplenty is generally guaranteed when Wigan are involved, as their last stalemate came at home to Villa in February of last year, while goals were also on the agenda when these two sides met at the DW Stadium in December.
That day saw a share of the spoils as they played out a 2-2 draw, Rangers twice having to come from behind to secure a point in Redknapp’s third game at the helm, and this encounter brings together two of the league’s worst defensive records.
Only bottom club Reading have conceded more than the visitors, who have let in 56 goals in 30 league matches, while Rangers’ record reads only slightly better with 51 goals conceded in 31 matches.
Over 2.5 goals in this game looks very appealing at 4/5, as it is a bet which would have paid out in a league-high 22 of Wigan’s matches this term and an equally impressive 16 of QPR’s.
Indeed, it would also have landed in last year’s encounter between the teams at Loftus Road, when the Rs ran out comfortable 3-1 winners.
Loic Remy has found the net in three in his last four league outings for the Hoops, while Arouna Kone has notched six in his last six games in all competitions for the Latics, including the only strike in last weekend’s 1-0 win against Norwich, so both sides possess a genuine attacking threat.
With Rangers desperate for the win, they are likely to go on the attack from the start, which could leave them vulnerable at the back, so both teams to score in this game – as they have done in their last two meetings – looks a certainty at 57/100.
While recent results suggest Wigan are the form team heading into the game, QPR’s performances in the three games prior to the Fulham defeat should give them some hope and with the home crowd behind them and as the odds suggest, they should have enough to secure maximum points this weekend.
A win for QPR in a game of over 2.5 goals at 5/2 – which potentially returns £70 for new customers using their free £20 bet – looks the pick of the bets in what should be an entertaining and end-to-end fixture in west London.