Venue: Loftus Road
Date: Sunday 18th December 2016
Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Queens Park Rangers: W L L L L
Aston Villa: D W L W L
Last time the two teams met: 7th April 2015 – Aston Villa 3 – 3 Queens Park Rangers
This was a thrilling game at Villa Park as Christian Benteke scored a hat-trick to cancel out goals from Matt Phillips, Clint Hill and Charlie Austin.
Steve Bruce’s boys head to London in search of only their second away victory of the season. That victory against Reading seems a lifetime ago and, with the Villans losing their last two games on the road, it is particularly important that they turn the results around ahead of the Christmas period.
Villa’s previous two away games against Leeds United and Norwich City have been very poor performance wise and Bruce has already admitted that he will look to mix up his pack before the game. Aaron Tsihbola and Leandro Bacuna are expected to be in the team as the manager looks to reward hard work and try something slightly different.
The clash, that will be broadcast live on Sky, will pit two of the most experienced managers in the game against one another. Featuring on Sky seems to be something which has a negative effect on the side, having failed to win a single game this season out of the ten that have been live on the channel. Whether you read much into this or not, it is still sure to be something of interest to the managerial team. It may tell them a lot about the characters they have in the dressing room.
Queens Park Rangers’ home record is almost equally as bad as Villa’s away one so it is hard to predict which way the game will go on Sunday. Ian Holloway was meant to revive the fortunes of the Londoners after replacing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink but the side has lost its last four game and he could soon come under pressure if he does not start winning games.
It’s safe to say that the game is huge for both teams.
Nathan Baker is still an injury doubt with the influential defender struggling with the groin injury that has kept him out of the last three games.
Other than the race against time for Baker, Bruce has no new injury worries ahead of Sunday’s fixture.
The hosts are set to make changes from the side that narrowly lost to Derby County on Wednesday night. Jordan Cousins, Idrissa Sylla and Sebastian Polter are all struggling with niggles and Jamie Mackie is still not available for selection.
Defenders Jack Robinson and Steven Caulker are also set to miss out with hip and hamstring injuries respectively.
One to watch:
Chery (pictured) is a dangerous attacking midfielder, who has the ability to singlehandedly take a game away from opponents.
The Dutch midfielder was linked with a move to Aston Villa in the summer of 2015.
A fiery character, Chery’s pace and trickery has seen him likened to Adel Taarabt, who inspired Queens Park Rangers to promotion in 2011. He is more than capable of causing huge problems for the Villans by picking up space in front of James Chester and Tommy Elphick and running dangerously at them.
Mile Jedinak has had a mixed start to his claret and blue career but he will be influential in limiting Chery’s impact on the game.