It’s another big day for City as they travel south to Loftus Road and look to once again rebuild the confidence and belief that appears to have been so sorely missing over the past few weeks. Here’s the latest Manchester City team news vs QPR.
Manchester City Team News:
Still no David Silva who is likely to be out until after the international break, which begins next week, plus no Vincent Kompany who will be missing following a calf strain picked up in the defeat to CSKA on Wednesday. Aleksander Kolarov will also likely be unavailable until at least the Swansea match at home. There is some concern surrounding Vincent Kompany who left the pitch on Wednesday, nursing a calf problem. However City manager Manuel Pellegrini should be able to call upon Frank Lampard who returns to the side following a thigh strain against Tottenham in October.
Provisional Squad: Hart, Caballero, Zabaleta, Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Boyata, Clichy, Milner, Navas, Nasri, Toure, Fernando, Fernandinho, Aguero, Jovetic, Dzeko, Lampard.
QPR Team News:
For the first time this season, QPR manager Harry Redknapp, will have (almost) a full squad to choose from. The only omission being Rio Ferdinand who is still serving a three match ban for comments made on Twitter. Which means Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar, Jordon Mutch and Nedum Onuoha are all available for selection for the match
Provisional Squad: Green, Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Yun, Vargas, Henry, Sandro, Hoilett, Fer, Austin, Barton, Kranjcar, Mutch, Onuoha, McCarthy, Hill, Traore, Phillips, Wright-Philips, Zamora
There’s been a lot said about City boss Manuel Pellegrini’s love of what many consider to be an outdated 4-4-2 formation, but to start with at least, that’s exactly the way I would expect City to line up against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
When City are playing well, it’s a system that can work perfectly, but when a team’s not playing with a lot of confidence, playing with a man short in midfield can easily cause problems. That said, now is not the time to start messing around with new formations. City have to start playing to their potential and are more than capable of taking the game to QPR.
Which formation Harry Redknapp will plump for is yet to be seen, having started the season experimenting with a 3-5-2 set up, ‘Arry has reverted to a more regimented 4-4-1-1 playing Leroy Fer behind a rampaging Charlie Austin.
At the start of the season, the choice to play three at the back was simply leaving Dunne and Ferdinand out to dry, given that to play the system well, the centre-backs need to push up and close the space. All-well-and-good apart from when the opposition start knocking balls ‘over the top’, leaving the old fellas Dunne and Ferdinand in a sprint-off against some spritely young centre-forward.
screenshot via mancity.tv
As could be seen against Villa and at Chelsea, the new/old system is much better, so-much-so that we even got to see Richard Dunne completely boss Diego Costa, which although fun at the time, is a worry for the likes of Jovetic and/or Edin Dzeko.
If (and on the basis of the last few matches, it’s a big if…) City can play as everyone knows they are capable of performing, it should be a straightforward victory for the Sky Blues. But this season has been anything but straightforward right?
Even if QPR do play out of their skins, provided City buckle down and fight for possession, compete for second balls and press Rangers quickly and high up the pitch, it will be another three points back against Chelsea. Only thing is, if they play like they did Wednesday, it may well be the Premier League too that drops out of reach.
Match Stats (c/o Opta & Goal.com)
- Charlie Austin has scored 24 league goals for QPR since the start of last season (incl. play-offs); 18 more than anyone else.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 11 goals in his last 12 Barclays Premier League appearances.
- Edin Dzeko has scored in three of his four Premier League appearances against Queens Park Rangers.
- There have been five red cards in the last eight Premier League meetings between Man City and QPR.
- Man City have won four and lost none of the last five meetings in all competitions with Rangers.
- Manuel Pellegrini’s side have scored seven goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, more than any other team in the top division.
- Defeat last time on the road at West Ham ended a run of 17 games where City lost just once and won 12 (D4).
- Man City have lost just one of their last six Premier League away games in London (W3 D2 L1).
Predicted Final Score:
The players and the manager of Manchester City are more than capable of taking the game to QPR and getting a good result here. Whether they do or not, is another question. With both Silva and Kompany missing, it’s going to be a real test of character not only for the team, but the manager too.
Quite which team will turn up at Loftus Road is hard to say, but if it’s the one that has performed so well for the past couple of seasons, then it’s game-on again. However, if the team that looked as though they wanted to be anywhere but playing football at the Etihad on Wednesday… they’ve got big problems.