Aston Villa will be aiming to continue their climb in the Premier League standings when they welcome Queens Park Rangers, the team that boosted their survival hopes by beating fellow strugglers Wigan last weekend. The Rangers are expected to sign a couple of players before the January transfer window closes, but the new signing are unlikely to take part in this clash.
Villa showing considerable improvement
Aston Villa started the season well under new boss Alex McLeish, who finally brought some stability to the club after the tempestuous last season. The Villans then entered the poor run of results during which they lost all four games to top 4 contenders, but managed to beat Bolton away as well as bring points from Swansea and Stoke. The 3:1 victory at Stanford Bridge helped the Villans kick-start their season, and the team finally showed some consistency in their performances. After the 2:0 defeat to Swansea, Villa recorded away victories over Bristol City and Wolverhampton, while sharing spoils with Everton at Villa Park. They then continued the rich vein of form by giving Arsenal a real run for their money in the FA Cup clash at the Emirates, and Alex McLeish will be able to take a lot of positives from that match even if Villa ended up losing the game after squandering a two-goal lead. The game at the Emirates showed that Robbie Keane will be a great asset for the squad, and, together with Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, the Irishman is likely to cause Queens Park Rangers all sort of problems.
James Collins should return to the starting line-up after recovering from injury, but Charles N’Zogbia and Chris Herd remain on the sidelines.
QPR fans set for exciting deadline day
Loftus Road was one of the busiest places on transfer deadline day in the summer and that looks set to stay the same way on the last day of January. The Rs have already signed Taye Taiwo, Samba Diakite, Nedum Onuoha and Federico Macheda in January, but Djibril Cisse and few others could follow. However, Rangers cannot afford to be distracted by the transfer activities as they are still very much in the relegation struggle, even if their survival chances were boosted by the 3:1 victory over Wigan. Seeing that it was their first Premier League win after nine games, QPR cannot afford to relax just yet, especially as they are facing in-form Aston Villa without a host of first team regulars. Given the fact that Rs brought just one point from last five league games on the road, they clearly have little reason for optimism before the trip to Villa Park.
Armand Traore, Adel Taarabt and new signing Samba Diakite are all away on Africa Cup of Nations duty, whereas Alejandro Faurlin, Jay Bothroyd and Dj Campbell remain sidelined.
Aston Villa are raising their form and the good showing against Arsenal proves they are on top of their game at the moment. Queens Park Rangers are absolutely awful on the travels and with so many players missing out, they don’t look capable of getting something from Villa Park.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.85 (17/20)
Bookmaker: William Hill