This is a big weekend for QPR: not only could they lift themselves off the bottom of the table, where they have been for the majority of the season, but by beating fellow strugglers Aston Villa they could also cut the gap between themselves and safety to just one point.
And while Villa are the home side on Saturday, I reckon it will be Redknapp’s men rather than Paul Lambert’s outfit who are celebrating three points – and a giant step towards staying in the Premier League – at the final whistle.
Back-to-back league wins, the first time they have managed to achieve this since gaining promotion back to the Premier League, has given QPR a glimmer of hope of survival with nine league matches of the season remaining.
Having seen off Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s two weeks ago, the Rs followed that up with a 3-1 home win over Sunderland last weekend, a game in which they not only secured all three points, but put in arguably their best performance of the campaign.
French forward Loic Remy bagged a goal in both of those games, taking his tally to three since joining in January, and the frontman could have a huge part to play in the club’s bid for survival should he remain fit for the remainder of the season.
Villa however will also head into the game in high spirits after they emerged 2-1 victors at Reading last weekend, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Brian McDermott, who was relieved of his duties as Royals manager on Monday.
That result came on the back of successive defeats for Paul Lambert’s men, albeit against Manchester City and Arsenal, and they’ll be desperate to increase their cushion over the relegation places with maximum points against the Rs.
With home advantage on their side it’s Villa who have been priced as favourites to secure the win at 11/10, with the draw, which has been the result in the last three meetings between the sides, at 23/10. Meanwhile, what would be just a fifth success of the season for Rangers can be backed at 12/5.
And it’s this latter price which I’ll be going with.
While QPR may be the lowest scorers in the league, with just 24 goals in 29 matches, a more attacking approach from Redknapp in their last two outings has seen them hit the net five times, and they’ll fancy their chances against one of the league’s leakiest defences.
Only Wigan and Reading have conceded more goals than Villa this term, whose young defence has been breached 54 times in the league, and they have failed to keep a clean sheet since their 0-0 draw at home to Stoke at the beginning of December.
Combined with Remy’s fine form, it is Villa’s leaky defence which makes that 12/5 on an away win too good to ignore.
Of course, Villa have their own goal threat in the form of Christian Benteke, who scored at the Madejski and has notched 11 league goals for Villa in what has been an impressive debut season in the Premier League.
With this in mind, there are a couple of other bets to take into consideration, starting with both sides to find the net at 7/10. This looks an absolute banker, particularly as the two teams have managed to secure just 11 clean sheets between them this campaign.
Meanwhile, eight of Villa’s last nine games have seen at least three goals, as have three of QPR’s last four matches, which would suggest a goalless draw is out of the question, so backing over 2.5 goals – as was the case when the sides played out a 2-2 draw here last season – at 10/11 could prove fruitful.