Fulham v QPR – Match Preview

A London derby at Craven Cottage see’s Fulham host neighbours QPR in their first top flight meeting with the hosts continuing their search a first Premier League win of the season.

The Cottagers have been brilliant in the Europa League and recorded a fantastic 2-0 win on Thursday night away at Danish side Odense BK. Despite their successes in Europe manager Martin Jol has failed to transport that form into their league campaign seeing his side pick up only four points from their first six games. Hovering just above the relegation zone in 17th place wasn’t the start most Fulham fans envisaged when the season kicked off in August but the truth his the Cottagers have struggled. Despite signing Bryan Ruiz for £10 million from Twente on deadline day goalscoring remains a serious issue with Bobby Zamora, Moussa Dembele and Andy Johnson also struggling to find the net. New Costa Rican signing Ruiz has begun his career in England at a startlingly slow pace but had the chance to make himself a hero in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw away at West Brom but contrived to stab the ball off the post and wide with a few minutes left on the clock. Jol, who was revered for the attacking philosophy he adopted at Tottenham, needs to get his players motivated and focused on making what do in the final third count. Aaron Hughes is an injury doubt with a knee problem and will require a fitness test with fellow defender Matthew Briggs also a worry.

Goalscoring is also a problem for Neil Warnock with his QPR strikers also coming across as shot shy after last week’s draw against Aston Villa at Loftus Road. Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell both failed to find the net with Richard Dunne’s late own goal giving the R’s a point they didn’t deserve. A week earlier they had brushed aside a tame Wolves side with Joey Barton and Alejandro Faurlin suppling the goals from midfield. Campbell also got on the scoresheet at Molineux and will be hoping to start at Craven Cottage on Sunday after recovering from injury. Warnocks side are unbeaten since his deadline day splurge and look a lot healthier after the addition of a few experienced Premier League heads. Their know how on the road has certainly come to good use with the Rangers claiming six of their eight points away from home. They’ve won both games in which they’ve taken the lead so victory should be assured against Fulham who have yet to open the scoring in any of their league fixtures this season. Armand Traore misses the game after his sending off last week with fellow defender Daniel Gabbidon also out through injury.

Key Players

Danny Murphy – The Fulham skipper has been in inspired form in the last few weeks rolling back the years with some commanding displays in the middle of midfield. They’ll need his experience and guile if they are to win their first Premier League game of the season.

Adel Taarabt – A glittering performance from the Moroccan in last week’s draw with Villa highlighted that he can mix it with the Premier Leagues best. Admittedly he did fade in the second period but is always a threat with the ball at his feet.

Verdict: 0-1

  • Fuham’s Danny Murphy is the highest ranked player from either club in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in 21st place, while Alejandro Faurlin is QPR’s top ranked player in 62nd place
  • Murphy has anchored the Fulham midfield this season, winning 85% of tackles entered into and making 10 interceptions. He has also put in ten crosses, while team mate Damien Duff stays top of the ranking for crosses with 30 this season.
  • QPR are also due some goals. Taarabt is the player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index with the most shots on target without scoring (14)
  • Faurlin and Taarabt also both occupy places in the top passers in the league, in 9th and 13th places respectively and above internationals stars such as Frank Lampard and Ashley Young

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