What a difference a game can make. After last weekend’s abysmal display in the 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool, when the match was all but over after half an hour, QPR managed to pull off a major shock on Wednesday evening when they beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
A Shaun Wright-Phillips strike midway through the second half proved enough to secure all three points for the Rs, just their second win of the season, and their first victory on the road since they saw off Stoke City under Neil Warnock back in November 2011.
The win also ended a run of three successive defeats for the Hoops and saw them record only their third clean sheet of a season which hasn’t gone quite to plan following a flurry of big-name signings during the summer under previous boss Mark Hughes.
Despite remaining at the foot of the table and five points adrift of safety, the result against Rafa Benitez’s men will give the Rs a huge boost in their bid for survival and ahead of the visit of West Brom to Loftus Road in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
This fixture provides Rangers with an opportunity to gain revenge over the Baggies, who defeated them on both occasions in the league this term, the last coming just over a week ago as they emerged 2-1 victors in west London following a 3-2 success at the Hawthorns.
Harry Redknapp’s men head into this game as slight favourites to progress to the fourth round on Saturday at 7/5, with the draw priced at 9/4, while a win for Steve Clarke’s side, who have lost their last two games, can be backed at 8/5 in the bwin 3way football betting market.
It’s been a successful first half to the season for Clarke, who is in his first managerial position after he succeeded Roy Hodgson in the summer, with his troops currently occupying seventh position, just six points behind Tottenham in third.
However, they went down 2-1 at home to a Fulham side that hadn’t won in their last four games on Sunday and they should expect a different QPR side to the one they met on Boxing Day this weekend.
Redknapp’s squad was bolstered this week by the return of striker DJ Campbell following his highly successful loan spell at Ipswich Town, in which he managed to find the net ten times in 17 outings to lift the Tractor Boys out of the bottom three in the Championship.
His return should go some way to improving a Rangers attack that has managed to find the net just 17 times this season, fewer than any other team in the league, and is desperately missing the injured Bobby Zamora, who is still a few weeks away from a return.
If recent encounters between these two sides are anything to go by, this match certainly shouldn’t be short of entertainment, with four of the last six meetings involving at least three goals, so backing over 2.5 goals at 4/5 looks a decent bet.
Had Rangers lost at Chelsea, getting stuck into West Brom this weekend would have been the obvious play, but the confidence that result will have given the QPR players – and the fact that the Baggies have lost their last two – makes backing a narrow home win the more attractive option.
Top bet: QPR to beat West Brom @ 7/5