It is amazing what a difference in a few days make. Euphoria at the weekend following the demolition of Wolves and then last night heartbreak at how we didn’t turn up against an impressive QPR side.
Steve Bruce opted to stick with the same team that beat Wolves, something he later regretted when speaking to the media.
The result was probably the shock of the night in the division and one that puts a massive dent in any hopes Villa had of automatic promotion.
QPR clearly enjoys playing in the Midlands as their only other away wins this season have come at Birmingham City and Burton. The truth was though, they deserved it and possibly more.
Ian Holloway’s men started with more intent and really looked fired up for this once and they took the lead on 12 minutes.
Jake Bidwell crossed from the left and Ryan Manning was able to beat a slow-moving John Terry in the air to glide his header past Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal.
Villa tried to up their game but they struggled for ideas and tried lumping balls into the box that the QPR defence was more than comfortable in dealing with.
The away side doubled their lead in the 33rd minute when Bidwell gained possession from Pawel Wzolek on the end of the area to fire a left-footed show low into the bottom corner of the net.
Villa did come close just before half-time but Jack Grealish could only head his effort directly at Alex Smithies.
Bruce’s men began to dominate for large spells in the second half as QPR sat deep and frustrated the home side by time wasting at every opportunity.
More poor defending resulted in QPR scoring the third goal through Luke Freeman with a low left-footed shot that Johnstone could do nothing about.
James Chester scored a late consolation in the 88th minute for his third goal in three games but it was way too little, too late.
Another mistake by the manager which he has admitted to again, combined with a flat crowd and lacklustre performance from the players may have just cost Villa any hopes of automatic promotion as the result leaves them seven points adrift of Cardiff.
I stated on Saturday after the victory over Wolves, that it would count for nothing if we are not able to beat QPR.
Steve Bruce: “It was always my fear that this would happen after last Saturday’s win over Wolves. I toyed and toyed with making changes. With hindsight, I should have done. I blame myself because I always thought it would be difficult to get the bandwagon rolling again.
Ian Holloway: “Villa caught us cold the other week. They made us come up from London when they said the game was on. We had an eight-hour wait on the side of the motorway so you can say it was payback time for us! To be three up against Villa away from home after watching what they did to Wolves at the weekend was a bit of a shock.