Coventry v QPR | Friday 18th September 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Coventry get their first taste of ‘home’ football back as a Championship club when QPR are the visitors to their temporary St Andrew's home on Friday night.
The Sky Blues are looking to bounce back following a midweek EFL Cup setback to Gillingham, albeit on penalties and after making several changes. QPR got their league campaign up-and-running with a solid home success over Nottingham Forest, and now go on the road looking to back that up.
It is difficult to make too much of a read on any team after just one solitary league match, but you suspect both are relatively happy as things stand. Sure, Coventry lost to Bristol City last weekend, but it was a close match and could have gone either way. They still give off the impression as being a team that should settle at this level rather nicely, but they were still one of favourites for relegation in pre-season, along with the likes of QPR.
Followers of the Hoops therefore will be more than pleased to see their side sitting in second position, even at this very early stage. However, the most devoted of QPR supporter will no doubt remember what happened last season as after 13 matches last season they were sitting in 5th. Things went south pretty sharply after that, with Mark Warburton’s side slipping into the bottom half after 18 games and would never return to the top-12.
As mentioned, it is tough to make a read on the two teams after just one league game, but we’ll try. Only Norwich and Brentford managed more shots on goal than Coventry did, and considering they played away from home at Ashton Gate that deserves a pat on the back in one sense, although Mark Robins of course wouldn’t appreciated another goal to earn at least a draw.
However, only four of their 16 shots were on target, so end product is perhaps something to work on, but adding the likes of Tyler Walker may help with that in the final third eventually. Robins’ side were also ranked fifth in relation to final third entries, but only two teams managed more actually penalty box entries in comparison to QPR. Therefore, this suggests we can anticipate quite an open and end-to-end contest on Friday. It is certainly a match both will play to win.
I’ve always fancied QPR playing at Loftus Road, although that is generally with a crowd behind them. I’m yet to be convinced about them playing away, and they now really need to show they’ve got that nasty side to them which can dig out a result in a tough away match such as this.
However, the facts and figures from last season don’t necessarily back that up completely. They only earned six more points at home compared to away last season. Of their seven away wins, five of them came to clubs below them in the table and they generally struggled against the top sides away from Loftus Road.
Rangers acted smartly in the transfer window to add Lyndon Dykes, Tom Carroll, Rob Dickie and George Thomas, but again I just wonder if consistency could again be their issue this season. For as good as they looked against Nottingham Forest, can they produce that more often than not? That’s certainly the challenge for them.
Coventry are favourites for this game, and that’s understandable considering they’re the ‘home’ team. They need to prove their worth in the final third in relation to taking their chances based on their opening weekend form, and also bear in mind they earned promotion last season despite scoring only an average of 1.41 goals per game. Meaning the likes of Accrington (17th), Burton (12th), Doncaster (9th) and all bar one of the teams positioned 2nd to 8th found the back of the net more.
On the flip side, they had the best defence, and 14 of their 18 overall wins came by a one-goal margin. They’ll face a test from this QPR side though that will come and have a go, and I just fancy the prospect of this being quite open.
With that being the case, I’ll going to throw a tentative play on Over 2.5 Goals at 6/5 (Sky Bet). I don’t like backing under whenever QPR are involved, and whilst they kept a fairly rare clean sheet last time out, I can’t go overboard on one match.
Coventry will be eager to get their first points on the board, and in front of the TV camera’s they’ll be keen to prove why they won League One and earned many plaudits in the process. They too have recruited smartly, but they’ve also retained a big bulk of what made them so good last season.
I expect chances at either end, and hopefully an early goal makes this one to remember. Coventry had the best League One first half record last season, and QPR actually had the worst first half away record in the Championship, so I’ll have another little play on Coventry To Score First at 19/20 (Betway).