Preview: West Ham vs QPR.
Harry Redknapp will hope for better fortunes in a London derby when he takes his QPR side across London to his former club West Ham. Rangers have lost all their last three London derbies, including their recent 4-0 humbling at Tottenham.
Opposite number Sam Allardyce will hope to make it four losses in as many matches for QPR. The Hammers will be hungry for points after they were unfortunate to leave Manchester United with nothing despite coming close on a couple of occasions last weekend. When Wayne Rooney got sent-off, the Hammers pinned United and piled a lot of pressure. They almost nicked a point but Kevin Nolan strayed a fraction offside and his goal was disallowed.
West Ham have clearly improved their style of play but they are also targeting a top 10 finish this season so a home game against a side in the relegation zone is a must-win for them. They will hope to replicate the overwhelming start they showed when they defeated Liverpool in their last Premier League outing at Upton Park.
Queens Park Rangers, on the other hand, are 18th in the league table coming into this seventh round of Premier League fixtures. They have the second worst goalscoring record in the league while they are also shipping goals at an alarming rate. Redknapp had to defend Rio Ferdinand as some criticism has been levelled directly at the veteran defender.
West Ham team news
- Mark Noble could return to the team after missing the trip to Old Trafford with a calf injury.
- Cheikhou Kouyate and Joey O’Brien remain sidelined, while Andy Carroll is back in training but still easing his way back from ankle ligament damage.
- Matt Jarvis is working on his fitness and the winger should return to the team after the international break
Queens Park Rangers team news
- Joey Barton and Jordon Mutch will face late fitness tests in a bid to return after hamstring injuries.
- Sandro has been cleared to return after suffering a heavy blow to the head in last weekend’s 2-1 league defeat at Southampton.
If there is a chance that Noble can start then Allardyce will definitely slot him at the base of a midfield diamond in a 4-4-2 formation. Kevin Nolan is back and he can play at the tip of that midfield diamond, but the Hammers boss could start with Mauro Zarate in that role, then introduce Nolan later.
QPR do not have a pacy centre-back pair and their full-backs tend to push into the attacking half, so Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia could benefit during quick transitions. The West Ham strike partnership needs to link-up well, with one breaking wide to exploit the space on the flanks.
West Ham should enjoy more possession and they will try to patiently build up attacks. Since the Hammers also struggle to deal with attacks down the flanks, Redknapp will probably start Niko Kranjcar behind Charlie Austin to allow the speedy duo of Matt Philips and Eduardo Vargas to start in wide positions.
West Ham are favourites to win the game with Carbon Sportsbook, and with Barton likely to miss out, Rangers will have to produce their best performance this season to win this encounter