QPR vs Stoke | Sunday 5th December 2021, 14:00 | Sky Sports
Another big game from the Championship on Sunday as QPR welcome Stoke. Both sides have realistic ambitions of finishing in the play-offs so this should be another tense game.
A win here would push the Hoops back into 3rd spot and just five points behind the top two. Whereas a win for the Potters would have them leapfrog Coventry into the top six. Although we aren’t at the turn of the year yet, the Championship is a tough league and every point counts, especially at the top of the table.
The hosts have an impressive home record with W6-D3-L1 with their only defeat coming against Bristol City in a game they won the xG 2.28 vs 0.87. They have found the net on every occasion at Loftus Road this term, keeping clean sheets in 50% of their home games.
Since they were easily beaten by Fulham by four goals to one, they have tightened up at the back conceding just five goals in their last eight games. Over this period, I have them as the 6th best placed side in the division with Stoke just a little way back in 12th.
Rangers have some real quality up top with the likes of Charlie Austin and Andre Gray up top and then players like Andre Dozzell, who now look a really good signing since his summer move from Ipswich, whilst Chris Willock and Llias Chair have also caught the eye alongside seasoned pros of Albert Adomah and Stefan Johansen.
The visitors have been inconsistent over the same eight game period with just three wins over that time, conceding 10 goals whilst scoring just nine, largely performing to their xG of 0.91 and xGA of 0.95. I can’t help that Stoke might find themselves as good enough to beat the poorer sides but struggle against the top half.
When reviewing their results this season when playing sides in the top 10 its W1-D0-L5 scoring just three and conceding nine. In comparison when they play the sides in 11th and below its W8-D4-L2. I have Stoke 6th in my away xPTS table so we shouldn’t read too much into the away results of W3-D2-L5. There issue is scoring goals with 5th for xG with 1.14 but 14th on goals scored with just 0.90 goals scored on the road.
Given Stoke are so inconsistent I am reluctant to get involved in a QPR win, even though I do fancy them to continue their good form. Stoke have Joe Allen back from suspension and Tyrese Campbell is back after a long spell out injured which will improve them. Romaine Sawyers and Joe Allen in the middle should allow players like Mario Vrancic to influence the play more.
I can’t see much value in backing a Rangers win here and sometimes when you are sure of the outcome, or the data doesn’t influence your decision its best to leave it alone and look at alternative angles.
Tom Harrington is the referee and I like him for some cards here. He averages 4.14 cards per game and have given both sides at least one or more cards in every one of his Championship games this season. Stoke have collected two or more cards in 80% of their away games this term and Rangers have collected a card in 90% of their home fixtures, so taking this line we can back this 4/5 with William Hill.
On the theme of cards, I really like Andre Dozzell to collect a card. I watch him develop as a people at Ipswich and he simply can’t tackle which is an issue when you are playing the middle as a pair as a the defensive one of the duo.
In his nine starts he has committed 18 fouls and collected four cards. He will be looking after Vrancic, who gets fouled on average 1.5 times a game. We can back Dozzell to be shown a card at 7/2 with Betfair.
QPR vs Stoke – QPR to receive Over 0.5 Cards and Stoke to receive Over 1.5 Cards (4/5 William Hill)
QPR vs Stoke – Andre Dozzell to be shown a card (7/2 Betfair)