Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Queens Park Rangers
Venue: Villa Park – Tuesday, April 7th – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Aston Villa 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – QPR 5/2
With just seven games to go this season, now is the time to start winning matches if you are to retain your top flight status, and that is certainly the case for both Villa and QPR heading into this one.
Villa have improved under Tim Sherwood in recent weeks but come into this game off the back of two losses on the spin to Swansea and most recently, Manchester United on Saturday afternoon.
They had started March in fine form, beating West Brom and Sunderland to climb out of the bottom three, and Tuesday night’s game against the R’s gives them the chance to further distance themselves from the drop zone.
Sherwood will need to get his players ready for what should be a real battle as a loss in this one would make relegation fears very real again, especially as the Villains travel to Tottenham and Manchester City in their next two after this.
Queens Park Rangers looked doomed before beating West Brom 4-1 on Saturday and that result has livened up the relegation battle once again.
If QPR can get another victory at Villa Park, fans will start to believe a great escape is a realistic possibility. A win in this one will pull them out of the bottom three for the first time in six weeks as their goal difference is already two better than Villa’s.
The reverse meeting between these two ended with a 2-0 win in favour of QPR at Loftus Road, with star man Charlie Austin bagging both goals.
This will be the 14th Premier League meeting between the two sides and there has never been a 0-0 draw in the top flight so this one should deliver.
Aston Villa have eight injury worries in total as Scott Sinclair, Ashley Westwood (both hamstring), Alan Hutton (ankle), Aly Cissokho (groin), Kieran Richardson (calf), Chris Herd (knee) and Libor Kozak (leg) will all miss out. Philippe Senderos is a doubt but should return from his calf injury to be a part of the squad. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke should start in attack once again and will need to deliver the goals if Villa are to seal victory.
Queens Park Rangers could be without Eduardo Vargas, who scored in Saturday’s win at West Brom but left the game with a knee injury. He looks set to join Leroy Fer, Alejandro Faurlin and Richard Dunne (all knee) on the sidelines. Yun Suk-Young faces a late fitness test. Chris Ramsey should stick with two strikers after Austin and Bobby Zamora both netted on Saturday.
Aston Villa’s last five: L/W/W/L/L
Queens Park Rangers’ last five: L/L/L/L/W
Key Stat: QPR have not won back-to-back away games in the Premier League since September 1995 and their last league win at Villa Park came back in 1992.
Key Player: Christian Benteke – The powerful Belgian forward has seen his form improve under Sherwood and he has scored four goals in his last four league matches for Villa, more than he had netted in his previous 21, with three.
Aston Villa 1-2 Queens Park Rangers – After losing their first eleven away games this season, QPR have now won two of their last four on the road, both against sides in and around them at the bottom of the table. Villa improved when Sherwood took over but have gone backwards in the past two weeks and the R’s will be buzzing after Saturday’s win at West Brom. That should see them win this by the odd goal and climb out of the bottom three.