Exactly a week after the hard-fought victory over Leicester City, QPR will be involved in another relegation six-pointer as they play host to fellow strugglers Burnley having lost to Swansea at the weekend. The Clarets are now on the verge of leaving the bottom three after taking eight points from last four, but they are still in for a difficult task at Loftus Road.
Loftus Road becoming a fortress
Despite possessing arguably the strongest team out of all newly-promoted sides and with plenty of Premiership experience in the ranks, QPR sit in the relegation zone after first 14 fixtures, albeit just one point behind safety. Numerous injuries seem to have prevented Rangers from hitting the ground running early on, but Harry Redknapp can be satisfied with the fact their charges have turned things around of late. And while wretched away form continues to be a major issue, with the team losing all seven matches on the road this term, QPR have been pretty impressive at their Loftus Road. While giving title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City a real run for their money, Rangers defeated Sunderland, Aston Villa and Leicester, and this can give them confidence going into the very important match against Burnley. The return of veteran striker Bobby Zamora is another reason for optimism considering that the former Tottenham forward has established a great partnership with in-form Charlie Austin and no doubt the Clarets will find it hard to contain the two players on Saturday afternoon.
Adel Taarabt and Alejandro Faurlin continue to miss out for the hosts, whilst Sandro is a long-term casualty and is set to miss the entire festive schedule.
Burnley back in business
With Burnley failing to win any of their first ten Premier League fixtures and taking mere four points in the process, the Clarets were rightly seen as main candidates for the drop. But, just when it seemed they would not be able to avoid the drop, Sean Dyche’s charges recorded back to back wins over Hull City and Stoke City to seriously boost their survival chances. The Clarets have since failed to continue the rich vein of form, having shared spoils with Aston Villa and Newcastle United at home, and they now face a tricky away game at Loftus Road. There are no doubts the visitors will be feeling optimistic following the latest run of results, but I am not sure they have enough quality to match a very good QPR side. The visitors also have some important players on the sidelines, which is unlikely to help their cause. Burnley have done fairly well on the road this season, but having failed to score in four of six away matches, their shaky back line will have to be at their very best if the Clarets are to get anything from this match.
Stephen Ward, Sam Vokes and Matt Taylor are out injured, whereas Nathaniel Chalobah and Michael Duff are injury doubts.
QPR have been quite impressive at Loftus Road over the last month or so and with so much quality and experience in the ranks, Rangers can be trusted to see off relegation rivals Burnley. The Clarets have shown a great deal of improvement of late, but I still cannot see them avoiding defeat in London.
Top pick: Home win 2.10 (11/10) @ Paddy Power
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.15 (23/20) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Austin to score 2.50 (3/2) @ William Hill