Saturday, 19 January 2013

QPR match preview


The Hammers and The 'Rs come into this London derby at the Boleyn Ground with strongly contrasting form.

Big Sam's boys have struggled on the road of late, with Wednesday night's exit from the FA Cup at the hands of league leaders Manchester United coming on the back of arguably their worst performance of the season in the form of the previous Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Sunderland.

Rangers, on the other hand, have gradually started to pick up some form under new boss Harry Redknapp, and are unbeaten in their last four matches, with 1-0 wins away at West London rivals Chelsea in the league and in an FA Cup replay at West Brom sandwiching draws at home to Spurs in the league and in the original FA Cup tie against Albion. Nevertheless, QPR still find themselves rooted to the bottom of the league, five points adrift of safety, but of the two sides, it has to be said the visitors are the one in the ascendancy.


Looking at the last six meetings between the Hammers and QPR, one would have to reflect that we're fairly evenly matched with our West London counterparts in terms of results. We, of course, triumphed 2-1 at Loftus Road earlier in the season courtesy of strikes from Matty Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te, but one has to travel back to the 2004/2005 season in the Coca-Cola Championship to find our last two meetings with the 'Rs, where we won 2-1 at Upton Park after a 1-0 victory for the West Londoners at Loftus Road. The previous three meetings resulted in a win apiece and a draw, so the tally from the last six meetings between the two of us stands at three wins for West Ham, two for QPR and one draw, so all to play for today.


West Ham have no fresh injury woes, and full back Joey O'Brien is now available for selection having recovered from a hamstring injury. Industrious midfielder Mark Noble is also available having passed a fitness test, meaning that the Irons' only long term absentees are defenders James Collins and George McCartney. Andy Carroll's recovery from his injury sustained before Christmas is progressing well, but today will come too soon for him; as it will for fellow striker Mobido Maiga, still away with his national side Mali at the African Cup of Nations. Goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is back from his loan spell at Ipswich Town but has injured his ankle in a training session with the Championship side so is out of contention. New signings Wellington Paulista and Marouane Chamakh are also in contention to play, but club sources suggest Paulista is unlikely to, despite receiving international clearance.

As for QPR, the West Londoners have injury worries aplenty, with defenders Armand Traore (knee), Jose Bosingwa (back); holding midfielder Esteban Granero (hamstring); former Hammers favourite Bobby Zamora (hip) and fellow striker Andy Johnson (knee) all out of contention. former West Ham transfer target Loic Remy is available to make his Rangers debut however, followung his £8 million move from Marseille.


If selected, goalkeeper Robert Green and centre half Anton Ferdinand will be facing their old club. Stopper Green spent six seasons at West Ham and was an integral part of the side which won promotion from the NPower Championship last season; whilst Ferdinand is a product of the famous West Ham academy, and spent four seasons with the Irons after making his first team debut against Preston North End in August 2003, before leaving for Sunderland in a £7 million deal which also brought left back George McCartney to the Black Cats. Former West Ham top scorer and Hammers fan Bobby Zamora is struggling with a hip injury and out of contention.

Alex Shilling

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