Pre-match Report: Queens Park Rangers
Aston Villa have it all to play for going into their match-up against Queens Park Rangers. The Villans have done themselves a few favours in terms of attempting to take a firm hold on 2nd place on the Championship season to this point. Cardiff City currently sit in the 2nd place automatic promotion spot with a four point lead on Villa.
While Villa are fresh off of arguably their best performance of the season against Wolves. QPR aren’t exactly having the best of times in the Championship at the moment. QPR start the day being 13 places below Aston Villa, but the Hoops are also coming off of a 1-0 victory against a laughable Sunderland squad. Making his full debut against Sunderland, Ebere Eze scored the lone goal of the match and that might be enough to help him keep his place in the starting eleven for Queens Park Rangers.
QPR boss Ian Holloway may have a trick or two up his sleeve for Aston Villa, all signs point towards a road which has Villa winning this game. If there is a danger-man threat for Queens Park Rangers, it is Luke Freeman. Freeman should be monitored at regular intervals and it seems that John Terry and James Chester should be able to shut down the former Bristol City midfielder if he finds space in the Aston Villa third of the pitch.
On the other side of the pitch for QPR, Ian Holloway might get a little gutsy and employ three defenders as the rearguard and employ wing-backs to unsettle the mostly creative midfield of Aston Villa. Holloway has used three at the back for a few games over the course of the season, most notably in the 1-0 win on New Years Day against Cardiff City.
Lewis Grabban has been a goal-scoring machine for Aston Villa lately, and it would be a wise choice to think that he nets another in this contest. Grabban now has 13 goals in his last 17 Championship appearances. The main man setting up the goals for Aston Villa is Robert Snodgrass. The relentless winger now has 12 assists in the Championship, better than any other player in the league.
Villa must make certain that complacency is not an issue against QPR. Even though Villa looked like world-beaters against table topping Wolverhampton, the Claret And Blue cannot afford banana slips with ten games remaining in the campaign. While QPR and Villa are on two different sides of the Championship table, Villa need to keep putting games together as much as possible to try and catch up to a Cardiff City side that has looked like ‘slowing down’ is not in their vocabulary. This will be a good ‘gauge game’ for Aston Villa in terms of getting themselves up to dispatch a team that has no business taking any points away from Villa, especially at Villa Park.