The third edition of our new Monday feature assesses the fallout from the weekend and hunts for the early value in upcoming coupons with a team to follow and another to avoid. This week, two of the Premier League's original clubs, QPR and Nottingham Forest...
It’s incredible to think, given the rate that they’ve signed players in the past year, that Queens Park Rangers are currently experiencing something of a selection crisis in defence, but their host of hamstring problems are said to be on the mend and their patched-up backline could soon be strong enough to compliment an impressive midfield.
At White Hart Lane eight days ago, QPR produced an excellent first half-display to lead at the break, giving the first glimpses of a side that had started to gel. Although they ran out of steam in the second period, the combination of Alejandro Faurlin and Esteban Granero in the middle of the park was a real cause for optimism for Mark Hughes’ men.
Even with their injury woes, Rangers may still have enough to get past West Ham this evening at Loftus Road considering their home record in 2012, and it’s that form in front of their own supporters that is the basis for keeping the R’s on side. Their upcoming home run-in until Christmas reads West Ham, Everton, Reading, Southampton, Aston Villa, Fulham and culminates with West Brom on Boxing Day.
It's the Baggies that the R's face this weekend at the Hawthorns and, despite Albion boasting fine home form of their own, we wouldn't write the Londoners off from claiming a first away win since November.
It’s never easy assessing a team the morning after they’ve been beaten by their hated local rivals, but there are enough indications that Nottingham Forest are best avoided on the coupon in the coming weeks.
Regardless of the psychological fallout of such a bitter defeat, Forest now have to prepare for the visit of Blackburn without their first-choice forward line. Dexter Blackstock was dismissed seconds after half-time on Sunday and is subject to a violent conduct suspension of three games, while Simon Cox picked up his fifth yellow card in nine appearances and will miss one match.
Even with the on-loan Billy Sharp available up front, Forest appear to lack the pace and width to attack teams. The temporary return of Jermaine Jenas may add some impetus to the first eleven, but there are question marks over his fitness levels and he only has five games to make an impression.
Forest face three of the current top seven in the next four games, while Saturday’s short trip to bottom club Peterborough is by no means a certainty in the circumstances.
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