Rangers ready to give themselves a fighting chance
If QPR are going to dig themselves out of the hole in which they find themselves in, it’s going to be at Loftus Road and against teams like Everton.
Nineteen of Rangers’ 22 points so far have been gained in front of their own fans – they’ve lost 13 of their 14 away games – and they’ll be taking on an Everton side coming off the back of a long and fruitless midweek trip to the Ukraine and one that is likely to be missing a key few figures.
Most significantly, captain Phil Jagielka could be a doubt have had to receive on-field treatment twice in Kiev.
Youngster John Stones would be his likely replacement but that would make the centre of the Toffees’ defence look very fragile.
Antonio Alcaraz has long looked a weak link and Roberto Martinez has frozen out veteran Sylvain Distin lately (he’s also got injury problems).
As Everton full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines play more as wing-backs, those inside have to be mobile and alert and that hasn’t always been the case this season.
Dynamo Kiev ruthlessly exploited the gaps on Thursday and it’s been a rough couple of months for the Merseysiders.
Last week’s win over an equally out-of-sorts Newcastle was their first in six in the Premier League and their opponents played a lot of that game with 10 men.
Key forward Kevin Mirallas is again likely to miss out in west London and Martinez may make other changes so this looks an ideal opportunity for Chris Ramsey’s side to grab a valuable three points and go into the international break in good heart.
Rangers have lost four in a row and will still be at least four points from safety prior to kick off.
They’ve conceded more goals than any other side in the Premier League but Ramsey refuses to throw in the towel.
He still has designs on a full-time appointment as manager and believes that the R’s top scorer Charlie Austin can yet inspire an unlikely escape.
The former Burnley striker has found the net 15 times this season but has only managed three since the turn of the year – he’ll need to up that rate if his team are to survive and is 5/1 to be the first goalscorer this Sunday.
Everton have lost eight of their last nine away games in the Premier League and scored just once in their last five domestic road trips so the 23/20 for an away win looks very short.
There looks much more value in backing Rangers at 47/20 considering their opponents’ recent punishing schedule and the fact that the home side need the points more.
It should pay to back both teams to score at 4/5.
The match kicks off at 4.00pm on Sunday, March 22 at Loftus Road.