Crystal Palace v QPR: Back goals and a home win when QPR travel to Selhurst Park

Palace can cement their position in mid-table and further distance themselves from the bottom three with another three points here. Jaymes Monte previews the game…

C Palace v QPR
Saturday 14th March, 12:45
BT Sport 1

Crystal Palace

I’m sure that when the powers that be chose this game for live TV coverage they were expecting to bill it as a ‘relegation six-pointer’, but huge credit goes to Alan Pardew – and his players – for the fact that any attempt to do so would now be a case of extreme exaggeration.

The Eagles may have lost three of their last four, but in that period narrow defeats have all been against top six teams. Wins against West Ham, Leicester, Burnley and Spurs since Pardew’s arrival in the Selhurst Park dugout have moved Palace into comfortable mid-table obscurity and another three points here would see them shift closer to the likes of West Ham, Swansea and Stoke in the Premier League table than QPR, Burnley and Leicester.

Team News: The hosts have the luxury of welcoming back in-form striker Glen Murray (three goals in his last two games) who missed last Tuesday’s defeat to Southampton through suspension. They will, however, be without Miles Jedinak who serves the second of a four-game suspension for elbowing West Ham’s Diafra Sakho.

QPR

I have never understood the theory behind a club sacking their manager then opting to appoint a successor from within the current set up. Nothing changes fundamentally. And invariably the end result is relegation. It happened with Norwich and Neil Adams last season, and it’s looking increasingly as though it may be the case at Loftus Road.

Since Harry Redknapp left the club Rangers have lost four and won just one, and with Aston Villa picking up results of late they’re now three points adrift of safety.

In Chris Ramsey’s defence, all four of those defeats have been by the odd goal, and two have been a consequence of conceding last-minute goals. Nevertheless, if I were a fan of Queens Park Rangers I’d be extremely worried.

Team News: Ramsey will be without the services of Joey Barton who completes a three-match suspension this weekend, while Leroy Fer and Richard Dunne remain unavailable due to injury.

Match Odds

I really can’t see anything other than a home win here, and although odds of 1.814/5 look to be ever-so-slightly on the short side it’s a bet that I’m more than happy to take.

Palace are a side on the up and, despite some setbacks of late, have looked well worth their place in the Premier League since Pardew arrived. Rangers are there for the taking and you have to think that Tony Fernandes is beginning to question his decision to promote from within.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Slightly surprising is the manner in which Palace’s results have come since the new manager arrived. At Newcastle Pardew was famed for having a well-organised and resolute defence that would regularly be the backbone to his relative success on Tyneside. But with just one clean sheet in eight Premier League games with the Eagles it has been his strikers who have carried the torch.

QPR have, of course, struggled for goals on the road this season, but that trend has been bucked slightly with three goals in their last two away fixtures – having managed just six in the previous 11.

Therefore, I am going to take a chance on there being more than 2.5 goals in this match at an appealing 2.111/10. And if we were to combine that with a Palace win in the Match Odds And Over/Under 2.5 Goals market then you’re looking at a price of around 3.185/40.

To Score

One man who is profiting from the return of Pardew more than most others is Glenn Murray. The club’s 2012/13 season top scorer was frozen out under Neil Warnock earlier this campaign and ultimately found himself loaned out to Championship side Reading. But since the turn of the year he has returned to Selhurst Park and even signed a new contract at the club recently.

He’s repaid his new manager’s faith with three goals in his last two appearances, and at odds of 3.412/5 to score this Saturday he’s certainly a player to keep on side.

Recommended Bets
2 pts Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.111/10
1 pt Back Palace/Over 2.5 Goals @ 3.185/40

Jaymes Monte 2014/15 Season P/L

Staked: 93.5 pts
Returned: 85.78 pts
P/L: -7.72 pts