This evening sees Queens Park Rangers welcome Sunderland to Loftus Road for a pre-festive match under the flood lights. Neil Warnock`s men are enduring a fairly abject run of form and are without a win in four, subsequently slipping down the table, sitting three points above the drop zone. Under Martin O`Neill, Sunderland have been much improved and by all accounts were unlucky to lose to Tottenham at the weekend. For me, this is QPR`s biggest game of the season so far. With just one win at home this campaign, the Super Hoops need points and fast.
Evening games at Loftus Road usually produce a special atmosphere, the fans need to get behind the players and make the ground a fortress to dampen any resurgent spirit gained from O`Neill`s appointment. Sunderland are woefully short up front but QPR equally as short at the back, which makes for an interesting match-up. QPR need some inspiration from somewhere and after Adel Taarabt`s impressive cameo, he could be the one to lead Rangers to victory.
Man Utd 2 (Rooney, Carrick)
Team: Cerny, Young, Traore, Connolly, Gabbidon, Barton, Faurlin, Mackie, Wright-Phillips (Taarabt), Helguson (Campbell), Bothroyd (Hill)
Spurs 1 (Pavlyuchenko)
Team: Westwood, Bardsley (McClean), Brown, Richardson, O`Shea, Bramble, Larsson, Colback (Gardner), Vaughan, Sessegnon, Wickham (Bendtner)
QPR Team News:
Neil Warnock must decide whether to recall first choice goalkeeper Paddy Kenny despite Radek Cerny`s excellent form. Anton Ferdinand is a doubt with a hamstring injury, while Jay Boythroyd and Danny Gabbidon are doubts.
Possible line up:
Young – Connolly – Gabbidon -Traore
Mackie – Barton – Faurlin – Wright-Phillips
Taarabt – Helguson
Player to watch: Joey Barton
After a very disappointing display against Manchester United, the Rangers skipper will be looking to bounce back with an all action performance against Sunderland. Barton was at fault for United`s second goal is not one to sit and mope over his mistake which leads me to believe the controversial midfielder will up his game tomorrow night. In general, there were several poor performances against United on Sunday but as captain, Barton must perform to a higher standard and set a good example.
Sunderland Team News:
Sunderland striker Connor Wickham is a doubt due to a knee complaint. Full-back Phil Bardsley is expected to start despite a recent thigh injury. Wes Brown is likely to be fit after a recent illness.
O`Shea – Brown – Bramble – Bardsley
Larsson – Colback – Vaughan – Richardson
Sessegnon – Bendtner
Player to watch: Sebastian Larsson
Vital QPR has singled out Sebastian Larsson as the One to Watch this evening
To read our profile of the player Click Here >>>
The Stat Attack
Queens Park Rangers: WLDLL
HEAD 2 HEAD
Queens Park Rangers: 10
LAST TIME OUT
Championship – 14/04/07
Stadium Of Light
Sunderland 2 (Whitehead, Leadbitter)
QPR 1 (Rowlands pen)
Team: Camp, Bignot, Cullip (Kanyuka), Timoska, Stewart, Rowlands, Bolder, Lomas (Idiakez), Smith, Blackstock, Moore (Furlong)
Referee: Mr A Marriner
Assistants: C Breakspear & S Long
Fourth Official: S Atwell
Andre Marriner is the match official for Wendesday`s game. This season Marriner has issued 37 yellow cards and 1 red card in 10 games.
To read more see: Ref Watch >>>
To state the obvious, QPR need a win and fast. The victory away to Stoke seems a distant memory now and with the gap at the bottom closing, QPR are being sucked into the relegation scrap we all expected before the season started. January is fast approaching which means reinforcements are on the way but there are still several games to play before then and QPR`s squad is perfectly capable of winning matches at this level. Quite frankly, the focus on additions in January is a poor scapegoat for the recent run of form.
I think QPR will raise their game tonight against a resurgent Sunderland team which does make for an entertaining evening. Martin O`Neill will have his team fully motivated for the match but they are short of quality going forward and have been reliant on Sebastian Larsson`s set-pieces. If QPR can keep Stephane Sessegnon quiet too, then we might stand a good chance of getting the three points.
2-1 Home win.
When:26/12/11 – 17:00