QPR v Manchester City – Match Preview

Neil Warnock faces the unenviable task of halting Manchester City unbeaten start to the season as his QPR side welcome the Premier League leaders to Loftus Road on Saturday.

The R’s are sitting just behind fellow promoted sides Norwich and Swansea in 12th after their indifferent start to their first campaign in the top flight since 1995/96. Fans will have been eager to get back Loftus Road ever since their 1-0 win over Chelsea a fortnight ago but they’ll face a completely different mission when big spending City descend up on West London. Last week’s defeat at Tottenham put the dampeners on after their win over the Blues and Warnock knows his side will have to much better if they are to get something out of the game on Saturday. Scoring goals has been the main problem this season with the Rangers faithful seeing only hit the net three times in six matches at Loftus Road. Despite being undefeated in four on their own patch they need to start scoring goals if they are to remain in the league and stay clear of a relegation battle. Jay Bothroyd scored his first goal for the club at White Hart Lane on Sunday and he’ll be eager to start scoring on a more regular basis. One man Warnock will be hoping will add goals to his game is Adel Taarabt who has struggled to make the step up after his blistering season in the Championship. He’s had 29 shots at goal this season without success and his recent displays seem to indicate that he is getting increasingly frustrated at Loftus Road. Interestingly the last league match between these two was 11 years in Division One with QPR running out 3-1 winners over City.

Roberto Mancini’s men will be confident of avoiding defeat this weekend as they look to make it 11 unbeaten in the league and maintain their five point advantage at the top. They were made to work for their win at home to Wolves last week but they followed that up with a comprehensive 3-0 away win against Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday. City have been in imperious form for the whole campaign and it’s likely that their Italian boss will continue his rotation policy to keep his legion of starts fresh and more importantly happy. Little mistakes are creeping into the side though and that showed last week against Wolves as they conceded a very soft penalty which saw captain Vincent Kompany sent off. They’ve kept only one clean sheet in their last six games and with the task given to young Stefan Savic now even greater in what will be his league debut for the club. Whilst defending may be an issue scoring goals isn’t and it’s likely David Silva will be in the thick of it on Saturday with the Spaniard clocking up six assists and a goal in his 10 games this season and forming a deadly understanding with summer recruit Sergio Aguero.

Key Players

Joey Barton – Since his move from Newcastle the captain has provided a stable presence in the Rangers midfield with his experience and tenacity proving invaluable on the field. His vision and intelligent use of the ball will be all the more important against City as will his physical approach against the pampered Etihad millionaires.

David Silva – Whilst all the headlines were about Aguero and Samir Nasri in the summer Silva has proved to be City’s key figure in the final third. His elegant and methodical style which seem’s him drift in between the lines makes him virtually unplayable and it’s no surprise to see him constantly torture teams with his clever passing and movement.

Prediction: 0-3

  • QPR manager Neil Warnock has been tipped for the England by Harry Redknapp this week. The QPR manager has instilled a strong work ethic in his team, as QPR have covered an average of 114.5km per game so far this season.
  • Joey Barton has also been mentioned in conjunction with England this season and is QPR’s top ranked player in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index in 75th place (83% of all attempted) and has covered more ground than any other QPR player in five of his seven appearances for the club (averaging 10,026 metres per game
  • Edin Dzeko and Aguero are amongst the most clinical finishers in the league, with 31% and 29% of shots resulting in goals respectively
  • However, City have combined their flair with an impressive work rate, covering 117,675 metres per game on average (the fourth highest in the league)