QPR v Aston Villa
Live on Sky Sports 1
QPR's season to date is almost a mirror image of the last time they were in the Premier League when, with a mid-table looking squad at least on paper, they struggled to win games and were bottom of the table from almost the word go.
In the 2012/13 season QPR had accumulated just three points from their opening eight fixtures, so looking on the bright side at least The Hoops have one more point this time around.
Harry Redknapp's men come into this fixture on the back of what he described as his team's best performance of the season, a 2-3 home loss to Liverpool last Sunday which included two own goals and was their third league defeat on the spin.
While QPR looked threatening in attack against the Reds they looked all at sea at the back and defended very naively in the closing stages suggesting that the experienced Rio Ferdinand - who was an unused substitute last weekend - will be recalled to the starting XI, especially given that Nedum Onuoha is suffering with a slight hamstring problem.
Early team news however has surrounded the possible inclusion of Adel Taarabt who had a public disagreement with his boss over his weight, prompting club chairman Tony Fernandes to issue an apology to fans over the pair's conduct.
Aston Villa are having a typical Aston Villa-like season; some decent results, signs of promise, but ultimately a poor campaign that is likely to result in the club flirting around the relegation zone.
After a rather misleading start (see Match Odds section) in which Villa took 10 points from their opening four games, Paul Lambert's men have now slipped to 15th in the table following a run of four defeats on the trot, all in which they failed to score a single goal.
Admittedly Villa have had some really tough fixtures of late but they've been comprehensively defeated each time, and the fact remains that they've scored just four league goals this term and just two players - Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor - have found the back of the net in nine league and cup outings.
Arguably Villa's best player this season, Fabian Delph, will be missing for this crunch encounter after dislocating his shoulder in training, though Philippe Senderos should return after missing last week's defeat to Everton with a thigh injury.
QPR are available to back at 2.47/5 to win the game and if they can perform like they did at home to Liverpool last week against a goal-shy Aston Villa then they ought to take all three points.
Redknapp's men have a tough set of fixtures coming up and a win on Monday night seems almost like a must even at this relatively early stage of the season. The Hoops will fancy their chances of winning the midfield battle in the absence of Delph from the opposition, and they have enough in attack to get on the scoresheet. And that might just be enough.
Villa had a tremendous start to the season but even after taking 10 points from their opening four games they still ranked as the worst team in the Premier League for shots on target (just six recorded in four games). What they obviously did well in the first six weeks was defend well and pinch some low-scoring victories.
Lambert has seen his early-season central defensive partnership of Senderos and Ron Vlaar broken up in recent games however and the fact that they've conceded 11 and scored none in their last four matches will surely have dented confidence within the squad.
Villa are available to back at 3.55/2 with the Draw trading at 3.412/5, but on current form - as daft as it sounds given that QPR are bottom of the table - it's hard to make a case for the out-of-form visitors who are clearly struggling to create chances, let alone score them.
An interesting Opta stat tells us that Villa have lost nine of their last 10 Premier League games against London sides. That will do for us.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Villa have scored just four goals this term, QPR six - only Burnley (five) prevent this from being a match-up of the two lowest scoring clubs in English football.
Not surprisingly then Under 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.758/11 but you could possibly argue that those odds are slightly bigger than you might have expected - I fully intended to see a price of around 1.68/13 when visiting this market.
Villa have played some big clubs this season but in the four league and cup games that they played against clubs that didn't finish in last season's top seven, just five goals were scored. And it's a similar story for QPR - 0-1 against Hull, 1-0 against Sunderland, 0-2 against West Ham. Only a 2-2 draw with Stoke bucks the trend of low-scoring games when a 'big club' wasn't involved.
I definitely believe 'Unders' will prevail but I'm interested in dutching a few Correct Score bets to squeeze out a bigger return.
And those scorelines that I'm interested in are the 0-0 - available to back at 9.08/1 - and the 1-0 to QPR, 8.07/1. Dutching these two outcomes will give you a return at odds of 4.216/5.
My gut feeling is that Aston Villa are really low on confidence at present and even with Christian Benteke back in the side following a long injury absence they'll struggle to get anything at Loftus Road in what I'm expecting to be a low-scoring affair.
Back QPR to Win @ 2.47/5 (best bet)
Dutch 0-0 and 1-0 Correct Scores @ 4.216/5