QPR caused Chelsea problems last week - could they take advantage of Manchester City's poor form? Michael Cox talks tactics, while Alan Thompson discusses the trading angle...
"City have been disappointing recently in the final third, and I don't think they'll record a thrashing."
QPR v Manchester City
Live on Sky Sports 1.
Match Odds: QPR 8.07/1, Man City 1.51/2, The Draw 5.04/1.
It's difficult to consider this fixture without thinking of Sergio Aguero's title-winning strike in 2012 against QPR, the most famous goal in the history of the Premier League. QPR's major task on Saturday evening will be attempting to stop the Argentine striker from scoring past them again.
Manchester City's stars haven't been on top form so far this season. Vincent Kompany is making too many mistakes, Yaya Toure has been surprisingly sluggish in midfield, while David Silva is unavailable this weekend through injury. Aguero, though, has been sensational - 10 goals in 10 matches so far.
Aguero's winner against Manchester United last weekend was particularly interesting. The Argentine striker usually uses his pace in behind opposition defences, attempting to reach through-balls. Last week, though, Manchester United were sitting deep with ten men, and showing City down the flanks.
Aguero was still able to use his incredible acceleration in this situation, however, sprinting to the near post to beat Paddy McNair to a low cross, and firing home. With QPR badly lacking pace in the centre of defence - Aguero against Richard Dunne in a straight sprint would be somewhat one-sided - they're likely to sit deep, and against Aguero might be forced to feed off crosses.
Last weekend Pellegrini fielded quite a 'boxy' side with James Milner and Jesus Navas on the flanks, although here he's more likely to hand Samir Nasri his first Premier League start since August after his return from injury. The Frenchman should help provide the creativity lacking because of Silva's absence, and as a result Pellegrini might not field Stevan Jovetic, who hasn't yet developed a good partnership alongside Aguero. Edin Dzeko is therefore likely to play upfront - he scored the other crucial goal against QPR two years ago, of course. This still seems City's best strike duo.
Other options for City don't have a significant impact upon the way they play. Fernando should start rather than Fernandinho, while Aleksandar Kolarov's injury means Gael Clichy will be left-back despite a poor performance against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, and Martin Demichelis has been performing better than Eliaquim Mangala.
Harry Redknapp, however, has some interesting selection decisions. His side performed well against both Liverpool (an unfortunate 3-2 defeat) and Aston Villa (a good 2-0 win) with two upfront, and then they were a much greater attacking threat against Chelsea last weekend when Bobby Zamora came off the bench to play alongside Charlie Austin. So, while Redknapp might be concerned about midfield numbers, this could be a 4-4-2 for the home side, and therefore a relatively simple 4-4-2 v 4-4-2 battle.
Zamora's hold-up play in recent weeks has been excellent and, while Austin does little apart from score goals, he has managed three in his last two games so deserves his place.
Eduardo Vargas will probably play on the right flank up against Clichy, and while the Chilean was the villain after his foul on Eden Hazard allowed the Belgian to score the winner from the penalty spot at Stamford Bridge, he was very threatening going forward. Clichy might be pinned back and attacked.
Expect Leroy Fer to play narrow from the left, supporting Sandro and Karl Henry - this, in turn, should give Pablo Zabaleta or Bacary Sanga license to spring forward from right-back. QPR won't mind, however, if City's right-back is their freest player.
The overall match odds look about right for this fixture, but I think there could be fewer goals than expected. City have been disappointing recently in the final third, and I don't think this will be a thrashing. I'll back Under 2.5 goals at 2.47/5.
Back Under 2.5 goals at 2.47/5
The Betfair Trader's View: Alan Thompson
Harry Redknapp’s side put up a valiant performance at Stamford Bridge last week and, in their last two games at Loftus Road, they have scored four times - two in a clean sheet victory against Aston Villa and two in that amazing game against Liverpool when they eventually lost 3-2 with four goals coming after the 87th minute.
But, lucky or unlucky, the table doesn’t lie and Rangers sit second bottom with seven points from their opening 10 games however, all seven coming from from their home games.
Manchester City travel to west London the back of yet another shocking result and performance in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow, with the two red cards revealing a lot about their mental state right now.
It's now just one win in their last five in all competitions for City and, while I don’t see them losing this, I wouldn’t be rushing to take the 1.5 on offer here for them in the Match Odds market, and will look at the goals markets instead.
City have scored on every away day so far while QPR have scored in all but one of their home games and conceded two or more goals in seven of their 10 starts. But with the Overs goal markets reflecting the likelihood of a high scoring game, there is more value in the Correct Score market.
I will be having a dutch bet, backing Man City to win 2-1 @ 9.8 and 3-1 @ 13.5 while covering the 2-2 draw @ 20.0 giving combined odds of 4.4.