A draw at home to fellow strugglers Reading on Sunday afternoon has increased the pressure further on QPR manager Mark Hughes, whose side are still in search of their first league win of the season after ten matches.
The R’s currently find themselves occupying second from bottom, above Southampton only on goal-difference as the positivity that surrounded the club in the summer has turned into genuine relegation fears amongst the club’s supporters.
The season though is still young, and Hughes and his men travel to Stoke City this weekend, who themselves haven’t had the brightest start to the campaign, managing to secure just one victory from their opening ten fixtures.
Tony Pulis’ side are, however, unbeaten at home, collecting one win and four draws from five matches as the Britannia Stadium remains a difficult place to leave with maximum points – both Manchester City and Arsenal have failed to win on their visits this term.
It’s no surprise that the Potters have been priced as 17/20 favourites to compound more misery upon the West London club, with the draw at 12/5, while what would be a first win on the road for Rangers since last November is priced at 13/4.
That win actually came at the Britannia, as the R’s emerged 3-2 victors, and they completed the double over Stoke courtesy of a last-gasp winner from Djibril Cisse at Loftus Road back in April that all but secured their survival in the Premier League.
Even collecting a share of the spoils on the road has proved too difficult a task in recent times for the Hoops, who have managed just one point from a possible 15 away from home this season, that coming thanks to a contentious penalty at Norwich City, and I don’t think they will be getting anything here either.
A major reason for their current position is their tendency to gift the opposition goals, with only Southampton having conceded more than the 19 Rangers have let in so far, while they’ve only managed to record just one clean sheet.
They have conceded first in eight of their league matches, seven of which have come in the first-half, and with this in mind, backing Stoke to score first in the first-half at 23/20 looks a very appealing bet.
One man who has enjoyed a decent return against the Hoops is Jonathan Walters, with the Republic of Ireland international bagging four goals in eight games against QPR, with only the Cardiff City defence having been breached more times by the forward.
Taking this into account, Walters looks a very good price at 15/2 to open proceedings; while a safe anytime goalscorer bet can be backed at 11/4 as the frontman looks to add to his solitary goal this season in the 2-2 away at Wigan Athletic.
Games between these two sides have been rather entertaining in recent meetings, with the last four matches seeing 13 goals, while four of the last five fixtures have seen at least 3 goals, so 21/20 for this match to involve over 2.5 is a big price.
While QPR possess the players to give most sides in the league a good game on their day, their frequent lapses in defence has given them an uphill struggle this season and there’s no evidence to suggest their winless run will end this weekend.