R's to fall to gallant Spurs? - Betting Preview
A tumultuous 2012 saw Harry Redknapp avoid sentence in a criminal trial, lose his chance to become England manager, followed swiftly by his sacking as Tottenham Hotspur manager, but as the New Year turned things began to look up for the experienced boss, as his QPR side beat Chelsea to record their first away win of the season, and whilst they remain bottom, five points from safety, there is cause for some optimism around Loftus Road.
The visit of Spurs however doesn't add to said optimism, as the north London side travel to the west of the city knowing that win against their old manager propels them only three points behind second placed Manchester United, and cements 3rd for another week at least.
Having just been announced as December's Manger of the Month, Andre Villas-Boas will be determined to build on the form his team has shown since a dodgy early season run. After a heavy defeat in the North London Derby in October, Spurs have rebounded to win seven of nine, a run that has seen only one defeat, that being a late loss at Goodison Park. Their league position may be down to the fact that at some point in 18 of 21 Premier League games, Spurs have led, yet more impressively, they lead the league in most second half goals, having converted 72% of their tally after half-time.
This will lead to headaches for 'Arry, whose impressive record at Spurs saw him win double the amount of games he lost, yet whilst the end of his reign left a sour taste in the mouth, his time at QPR has been bumpier. To avoid relegation, Rangers will have to maintain a great record at home, starting with a positive result here.
The personalities that make up QPR's squad may be a factor in their downfall, as even Redknapp is struggling to contain the likes of Adel Taarabt, Stephane M'Bia, and Djibril Cisse. Of the three, Moroccan striker Taarabt has impressed the most, but is still considered wasteful in front of goal. His superb double against Fulham last month ended QPR's win drought, and has since looked sharper than in previous months.
Whilst both teams miss important players due to their departure to the Africa Cup of Nations, Tottenham will feel lucky that Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor remains with the club for one last game before leaving. The R's are without Ivorian Samba Diakite due to his international comittment, whilst Junior Hoilett also misses out through injury. However, Ryan Nelsen's departure to become Toronto FC's manager has been delayed, and is expected to take part in this match, against his former team.
With a poor record at QPR in the Premier League (1 win, 1 draw, 3 losses), Spurs will be relying on this season's standout players Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale to provide the impetus they will need to get the win. With a goal in every away game this season, they are almost guaranteed to net again, and whilst Defoe (6/5) and Bale (5/4) are viewed as favourites to score, Moussa Dembele could strike gold at 7/2.
Headline Offers: QPR: Taarabt to score in a QPR win - 10/1
Tottenham: Bale to score in a Spurs win - 3/1
- Tottenham have led at some point in 18 of their 21 Premier League games this season, the joint-most of any team along with Manchester United going into this weekend.
- QPR have been ahead in just six Premier League games, fewer than any other Premier League side.
- Rangers have scored a higher percentage of their goals from outside the box than any other team in the top flight (35%).
- Tottenham have scored the highest percentage of second half goals in the Premier League this season (72%).
- Spurs have also conceded the highest proportion of second half goals with 74% of goals shipped coming after the break.
- QPR have the division's worst chance conversion rate, scoring with just 8% of their shots this season.
- Sandro has made more interceptions than any other player in the Premier League this season (79)
- Harry Redknapp left Tottenham last season after a record of W71 D37 L36 as manager of Spurs in the Premier League.
- Only Manchester City (135) had fired in more shots on target than Tottenham (133) leading into this weekend.
- Tottenham have won seven and lost just one of their last nine Premier League matches.
Best Bet: Tottenham to score in both halves - 13/8