After 16 Premier League games played, Queens Park Rangers have accumulated 14 points thus far. All 14 points have been achieved at Loftus Road – with exactly zero having come away from home. Despite finding a winning formula at home, QPR can’t seem to do anything right on the road this season. But could Rangers’ excellent home form, be the catalyst for their Premier League survival come May?
Harry Redknapp’s side have lost all eight of their league games away from home this season. The Hoops have travelled to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Southampton, West Ham United, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Swansea City and most recently Everton – and they have nothing to show for their efforts. The R’s have scored just a mere three goals and conceded a league-high 20 in the process. In fact, you have to go back a long time for QPR’s last league points away from home – which came in a 3-2 win at Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship on May 3rd.
So what is the issue with Reknapp’s side away from Loftus Road this term? For a start, they look like a total different animal – they seem to lack self-belief and are far too conservative. Many teams haven’t just beaten QPR at home, they have dominated them. Tottenham and Manchester United both earned emphatic 4-0 victories, and West Ham, Swansea and Everton all won comfortably. Arguably, Rangers’ best performance on the road was the narrow 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in early-November – where they could have counted themselves unlucky not to have left with a point. It’s no secret that promoted sides always have a hard time on the road, but Burnley have taken five points away from home and Leicester have taken three.
Despite a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Hull City on opening day, only Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool have won at Loftus Road since. The Reds’ left west London with a 3-2 victory – which turned out to be an enthralling game of football. Five goals in the last 23 minutes, including own goals from Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker, earned Liverpool the narrow 3-2 win. Since then, Rangers have won three out of four games at Loftus Road – with the only dropped points coming in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Harry Reknapp’s side currently sit in eighth place in the home league table – as opposed to rock bottom of the away one.
But can Queens Park Rangers rely solely on their home form? If the R’s carry on picking up vital wins against teams that are in and around the relegation places, they will give themselves as good a chance as any of survival. The Hoops’ last two home wins have came against two sides who are locked firmly in the relegation battle – Leicester City and Burnley respectively. But in the long run they are going to need to pick up some points away from home this season.
With the busy Christmas period approaching, QPR face three out of the next four Premier League games at home. The R’s welcome fellow relegation candidates West Bromwich Albion to Loftus Road on Saturday, before a tricky trip to the Emirates is followed up by consecutive home games against Crystal Palace and Swansea City respectively. If Rangers’ are going to continue to rely on their home form, then surely at least seven points from their three home games over Christmas will suffice.