Dean Smith will take his Villa side down to the Capital to take on QPR this evening. The Championship game will be the third inside a week and of his reign as head coach. We have experienced different emotions in the two games so far but it has been refreshing to hear a manager think where it is going wrong. We have got so used to hearing that the lads had given their all or that the manager got it wrong, again.
It won’t be an easy feat against Steve McLaren’s men but as Smith has said on various occasions. It must be about Aston Villa and not the opposition. The manager has promised the players a weekend off after a gruelling week, providing they perform. Hopefully, the incentive will work.
McLaren was appointed the new manager of QPR in the summer replacing Ian Holloway. Rangers lost all four of their opening four Championship games, including a 7-1 thrashing by WBA. Fans and media alike started to question McLaren’s appointment. Since then, they have turned their fortunes around and currently find themselves on a 4-match unbeaten run. They currently sit 13th, 2 points ahead of Villa.
QPR have scored 5 of their 14 goals this season from set pieces so we will have to be well aware of this. Averaging just 46.2% of the ball would suggest they are a counter-attacking side. However, they are yet to score a goal on a counter attack this season.
ONE TO WATCH
I have chosen defender, Joel Lynch. The 31-year old defender has impressed for QPR this season with their highest average rating of 7.4 (according to whoscored). At 6 feet tall it is no surprise that he is strong in the air. He wins on average 6.5 aerial duels per game.
He will look to play long balls up towards Naki Wells so our new pressing game will need to work well here.
Tammy Abraham has been declared fit to play in the game. The on-loan Chelsea forward picked up a head injury in the defeat to Norwich on Tuesday.
John McGinn will return after missing out on Tuesday through suspension. While Yannick Bolasie could feature after Smith admitted to dropping him as he was disappointed in what he saw against Swansea.
Albert Adomah picked up a knee injury against Norwich and will miss the chance to play against the team he supported as a boy. Keenan Davis continues to step up his recovery.
Mclaren is expecting to pick an unchanged side following two wins already this week.
Darnell Furlong (knee) and Olamide Shodipo (thigh) will both miss out.
HEAD TO HEAD
Aston Villa and QPR have come up against each other on 58 occasions in all competitions. QPR edge it with 24 wins to Villa’s 21.
The first-ever meeting between the two sides took place in 1920. Villa won the game 2-1 at Villa Park in the FA Cup.
Villa have only won 1 of their last five against QPR. A 3-1 win at Villa Park last season. The record is that bad, it stems back to 3 wins in the last 13, dating back to 1996.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Predicted XI: Nyland; Bree, Chester, Tuanzebe, Taylor; Bjarnason, McGinn, Bolasie, Grealish, Elmohammady; Abraham.
Kick off: 19.45
TV: Live on Sky Sports Football
Tickets: Sold out
Odds: QPR 13/8 Draw 23/10 Aston Villa 13/8