The FourFourTwo Preview: West Ham vs QPR
The “Don’t I know you?” derby.
WEST HAM FORM
- Man Utd 2-1 West Ham (Prem)
- West Ham 3-1 Liverpool (Prem)
- Hull 2-2 West Ham (Prem)
- West Ham 1-3 So’ton (Prem)
- West Ham 1-1p Sheff Utd (LC)
- So’ton 2-1 QPR (Prem)
- QPR 2-2 Stoke (Prem)
- Man Utd 4-0 QPR (Prem)
- QPR 1-0 S’land (Prem)
- Burton 1-0 QPR (LC)
There are almost certainly other places Harry Redknapp would prefer to visit on Sunday. A nice spot of shopping with the missus, a day at the races or an open top bus tour around the nine rings of Hell would probably be more enjoyable than his return to Upton Park. Obviously, that has little to do with the results he’s enjoyed there in the past, but more to do with the predictable bile that will rain down from the stands.
But it’s not only Redknapp who’ll be rocking up at his old stomping ground. Rio Ferdinand, Robert Green and Bobby Zamora are all likely to get warmer receptions than their gaffers. Zamora, incidentally, has managed play-off final heroics for both clubs, scoring the winner for QPR in May like he did back in 2005 for West Ham. That makes him the £120 million striker, right?
Sam Allardyce and his new, improved frontline should have an extra spring in their step after watching the tapes of QPR’s defensive performances. Ferdinand’s recent role as head path-clearer-in-chief for opposition strikers will have been noted. The R's have played three on the road so far this season, picked up one point and conceded 10 goals. Ouch.
In contrast, West Ham’s season has been solid with the home win against Liverpool a highlight. Last week’s defeat at Old Trafford can be noted down as an admirable defeat. Losing to QPR will not be received with the same warm fuzzies.
Mark Noble was a late withdrawal from the Hammers’ game at Old Trafford and he remains Allardyce’s only short-term injury concern going into the QPR game. Both Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te took part in a development squad game this week, giving Big Sam options.
Redknapp will welcome Sandro back into the fold. The Brazilian only lasted eight minutes against Southampton after a crack on the head forced him off. He’s been given the all clear to play this weekend.
Player to watch: Niko Kranjcar (QPR)
As he gets more pitch time under his belt, the talented Croatian is starting to impose himself on games. His experience will be invaluable as QPR try to clamber free of the relegation places.
To do that, they’re going to need to get Kranjcar on the ball as far up the pitch as they can and then hope he can start finding some willing helpers in the final third.
During his last two away outings for the R's, there’s no doubt that Kranjcar is growing into his role, but the abundance of incomplete passes in the final third against Southampton speaks volumes for QPR’s lack of attacking fluency. If Kranjcar can get the machine working, West Ham could be in for a rough afternoon.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- W Ham 1-1 QPR (PL, Jan 13)
- QPR 1-2 W Ham (PL, Oct 12)
- W Ham 2-1 QPR (Ch, Nov 04)
- QPR 1-0 W Ham (Ch, Oct 04)
- QPR 3-0 W Ham (PL, Apr 96)
This match-up couldn’t get any more old skool if the two gaffers pitched up in the dugout wearing fly adidas basketball boots (tongues out, of course), monster gold chains and ill-fitting pork pie hats... what a picture. Two of the game’s genuine survivors will send their wacky combination of expensive foreign stars and English cloggers into battle and, once the carnage be done, crack open a nice bottle of red and have a laugh. It’s a bit like a Carry On film… Carry On Up The Cockney but with some grimy East End rapping.
Facts and figures
- QPR have won just 2 of their last 35 Premier League away games (W2 D7 L26).
- Rio Ferdinand could make his 500th Premier League appearance in this match and would become the 11th player to reach this landmark.
- Stewart Downing has created more goalscoring chances than any other English player in the Premier League since the start of 2013/14 (82).
More FFT Stats Zone facts
West Ham to win 2-0 with one being a Rio Ferdinand own-goal. D’oh!
Back 2-0 at 8/1 with Bet365. Odds right at time of publication