Queens Park Rangers finally managed to secure their first maximum points of the season last weekend at the 17th attempt as they saw off neighbours Fulham 2-1 at Loftus Road to move off the bottom of the table.
The win came courtesy of an Adel Taarabt double, the second a moment of genius from the mercurial playmaker, which will give the club a major boost ahead of their trip to face a struggling Newcastle United side this weekend.
Alan Pardew’s men are on a poor run of form, having tasted defeat in six of their last seven league matches, which sees them sit just two points above the relegation places in what has been a disappointing season on the back of a hugely successful campaign last year.
However, they have been priced as favourites for the win this weekend at 21/10, with the draw at 9/4, while what would be a first win on the road for the Rs since a 3-2 victory at Stoke City in November last year can be backed at 13/5.
It’s been a steady start for Harry Redknapp since his arrival at the west London club, with the Hoops unbeaten in his first four games in charge, collecting three draws before last weekend’s success to give them a glimmer of hope of staying up this season.
The effort and desire shown by the players in recent weeks has improved considerably from some quite frankly embarrassing performances under previous manager Mark Hughes, with the side looking a much tighter unit and more difficult to break down.
They’ll certainly fancy their chances this weekend against a Newcastle team that have lost three of their last four matches at St James’ Park and four in total at home this campaign, compared to just three reverses suffered on Tyneside in the whole of last season.
One thing that looks likely in this match is goals, with five of the last six games involving the Magpies seeing at least three goals, as has been the case in four of QPR’s last six league matches, while both sides have managed to record just two clean sheets this term.
Odds of 87/100 can be had for the match to feature over 2.5 goals, but the 2/1 on over 3.5 goals in the game, which has occurred in four of Rangers’ away games this season, looks an attractive bet considering both sides will be desperate for the win.
Up next following this match for Pardew’s men are visits to Old Trafford and the Emirates, so there will be huge pressure on his players to secure victory this weekend, with a place in the bottom three come the new year an increasingly likely prospect.
Following his outstanding performance against the Cottagers last weekend, Taarabt is certainly worth considering in the goalscorers market, with the Moroccan international 11/4 to score at any time to add to his four strikes already this season.
With the African Cup of Nations taking place next month, which will see Taarabt depart if selected, the former Rs captain will be desperate to do all he can to help improve the side’s position before he potentially flies off to South Africa, missing a handful of games.
Just five points separate QPR from safety and while a trip to St James’ Park won’t be easy, there is arguably no better time to play the Magpies on their home turf and with the expectancy on Newcastle to win, backing the Rs to secure all three points looks a smart bet, especially at the price on offer.