The Royals travel to an in-form QPR side on Saturday as Jose Gomes looks for a win in his second game in charge. Steve McClaren’s side come into the game on the back of three wins in their last three games, and will be hoping to build on that against a struggling Reading side.
How do QPR play?
QPR set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation against Ipswich in their last fixture, and they are yet to lose in the nine times they have used this formation. They have won seven of their fixtures in this formation, and drew the remaining two. This clearly shows that this is a very strong formation for the Rs, and will be difficult for the Royals to counteract.
In the 4-4-1-1 formation. QPR have only conceded six goals and scored 17, which is an incredible return for a side who had started the season very poorly. It could be very difficult for the Royals to walk away with the points if QPR set up in this formation. A lot of QPR’s attacking play goes down the right-hand side (40% to be precise) and they may look to exploit the inexperience of Reading left-back, Omar Richards.
Rangers are particularly strong when defending set-pieces, having only conceded four goals from dead-ball situations all season. This means the Royals will need to find a different route to goal to using set-pieces.
How can Reading get at QPR?
Rangers’ main weakness is avoiding giving away fouls in dangerous areas of the pitch. The Rs have also conceded five goals from penalties so far this season; the most by any team in the Championship. They also average the most fouls conceded per game in the Championship with 15.
This could be a glimmer of hope for the Royals if they can put QPR’s defence under pressure and run at them. John Swift’s quality from dead-ball situations around the area will be a major strong point for the Royals if they manage to exploit QPR’s main weakness.
McClaren’s style of play causes the R’s to not have the ball very often, as shown by the fact they average 45.7% possession so far this season. The Royals, who kept the ball a lot in Jose Gomes’ first match, will need to find a way of benefiting from this.
Now for my prediction. I can’t see anything other than another loss for the Royals. QPR’s form of late has been good and Reading’s has been nothing short of awful, and I simply can’t see that changing this weekend. I am going with 2-0 to Steve McClaren’s side.