CHAMPIONSHIP specialist Vince Blissett (@Vince_RFC) shares his verdict from Friday night's anticipated West London derby from Loftus Road.
QPR v Fulham | Friday 29th September 2017, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The West London derby kicks-of the weekend’s action on Friday night.
Fun fact – Loftus Road and Craven Cottage are closer to each other than Bramall Lane and Hillsborough are by around 0.70 miles. It’s a 2.40 mile trip as the crow flies for the Cottagers, who will be looking to be the first team to leave Loftus Road with three points this season.
QPR have racked up 11 points from their first five home games. The fixture list has been pretty favourable but even so the performances have, on the whole, been pretty good. The only real blip came last weekend against Burton.
Away from home it’s been a completely different story but that can be overlooked here. A late equaliser in midweek at Barnsley may give the R’s a slight confidence boost though.
Unsurprisingly, Ian Holloway has a very Holloway-esque squad at his disposal. Not the greatest of quality but they’re a team of workers who’ll put everything into every match to get a result. In this league, that, along with decent home form, can take you quite a long way.
Scoring hasn’t been too much of a problem but there are still questions over the strikers. As of yet, Holloway hasn’t been able to find a combination that works consistently but as long as the goals flow, I’m sure he won’t be overly fussed.
Fulham have their own problems up front yet are still scoring goals consistently. The lack of an out-and-out centre forward is the root cause in their case.
Aboubakar Kamara could well be that man long-term but hasn’t started off the season well. However, he notched off the bench last weekend and again when starting in midweek, so the signs may be that he’s adjusting to the English game.
Unlike their opposition, Fulham have been consistent in their performances across all games, both home and away. Results, on the other hand, haven’t been very consistent at all, although five draws from 10 hints they aren’t far away.
Come the return game at the Cottage, Fulham may well be a fair bit higher than QPR in the table but at the moment there isn’t much to separate them.
The betting angle
Goals could well be on the cards. Both QPR and Fulham have scored in 8/10 (80%), conceded in 8/10 (80%) and seen Both Teams To Score bank in 7/10 (70%) Championship clashes thus far.
At around the 3/5 mark, BTTS is short but seems about right. Over 2.5 Goals is 3/4 but also on the skinny side. Considering the goalscoring trends, only eight (40%) of the combined 20 games have broken the two-goal barrier so Under 2.5 Goals at 20/23 is an option but I’m sticking with my guy feel.
That’s to back the draw. A selection criminally overlooked by most offers plenty of appeal in certain situations – this is one of them for me and is 13/5 (BetVictor) on Friday night.
As I mentioned already, I see these as very evenly match teams and both have drawn a fair few this term. QPR have shared the spoils in 4/10 (40%) fixtures, including their last two at Loftus Road. Fulham have drawn 5/10 (50%), with two of their four away days concluding 1-1.
Now there are options when backing the draw. Do you keep it simple or maybe go with the Draw and BTTS (17/5)? Or even dutch the 1-1 and 2-2 correct scores at 13/2 and 12/1 respectively. I can see both sides scoring so it comes down to personal preference. In this instance, I’ll take the safer option of the straight draw – better safe than sorry, after all.
QPR v Fulham – Draw (13/5 BetVictor)