High-flying West Brom welcome QPR to The Hawthorns for Friday night's televised Championship action. Mark O'Haire previews the match-up...
"WBA rank second for Expected Points (xP), as well as top two for non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG) ratio and shots on-target"
Ismael demands killer instinct at Albion
West Brom boss Valerien Ismael said Albion must develop a killer instinct after their underwhelming recent form continued with a 1-1 draw at Preston last Saturday. The Baggies struggled to break down Millwall and Derby in their two outings prior to heading to Deepdale - matches that also ended all-square - and that pattern continued in Lancashire.
Once again Preston refused to let WBA press with the hosts playing long balls out of defence. And after being held to a stalemate yet again, Ismael admitted his side need to change the way they play and be better on the ball. He said, "For sure we want to press but in the last three games there is no chance to because the opponents don't want to play."
Ismael added, "What we have seen is that we need to work more on the last third. The problem is the quality of the last pass, the quality of the cross - it was not good enough. And when you get a chance to score you have to take it - we have to develop that killer instinct. We create chances, we had a big chance to score and we need that killer instinct."
Warburton unhappy with QPR's quick turnaround
QPR boss Mark Warburton told his players not to lose belief after their 2-1 defeat at home to Bristol City. Rangers were unbeaten across their opening six encounters before falling to unfortunate back-to-back losses. Last weekend's reverse was particularly sore with former striker Nahki Wells netting a last-gasp winner for a Robins side on the back foot throughout.
Warburton said: "The message to the players is to not lose sight of the fact we're going in the right direction. We're a very good team. We're creating chances and scoring goals - our goal difference tells you that. We're creating chances against good teams both home and away. It's about goals. We've spoken so many times about that - we've got to be ruthless."
With QPR back in EFL Cup action in midweek against Everton, Warburton was particularly critical of the schedule with just a two-day turnaround ahead of the trip to West Brom. The Rangers supremo confirmed there would be changes to his XI, suggesting he would be shuffling his squad to ensure his players are capable of competing on both fronts.
West Brom have enjoyed recent head-to-head encounters with QPR, posting a positive W6-D2-L2 supremacy over the past decade of duels. The Baggies have enjoyed a W3-D1-L0 advantage over Rangers since 2018/19 at this level and also earned a W5-D3-L1 return when the duo have crossed swords at The Hawthorns going back to 2000.
West Brom 1.664/6 are unbeaten through eight matches of Valerien Ismael's tutorship, although supporters have been frustrated by Albion's recent displays when being held to draws in the team's last three fixtures. Nevertheless, WBA rank second for Expected Points (xP), as well as top two for non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG) ratio and shots on-target.
QPR 5.409/2 generated 6.65 Expected Goals (xG) in their past three fixtures but have come away from those contests with a solitary point (W0-D1-L2). The visitors are hitting top-six figures in the final-third but the R's lack of defensive solidity has hindered the Hoops, shipping multiple goals in five of their past six Championship outings.
West Bromwich Albion
Queens Park Rangers
Seven of the past eight league meetings between West Brom and QPR have featured Over 2.5 Goals 1.664/6 and the market is anticipating another goal-heavy game at The Hawthorns. Unlike Albion's most recent opponents, Rangers are likely to take a proactive approach to proceedings, leading us towards an enjoyable and open Friday night encounter.
With the Baggies given the freedom to express themselves, it could be a tough evening for the R's in the midst of a tough schedule. Therefore, backing West Brom to win and Over 1.5 Goals via the Bet Builder on the Sportsbook holds plenty of appeal here at 1.855/6. The hosts' proficiency from set-pieces and smothering press may hurt the Hoops.
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