In the only Premier League game on Saturday afternoon, Spurs head to Loftus Road looking to force their way into the Champions League conversation at the top of the league. Luke Moore takes a look…
QPR v Tottenham
New manager Chris Ramsey has been tasked with keeping Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, and although he has delivered Rangers’ first, long-overdue, away win of the season, his assignment is starting to look harder and harder. It isn’t likely to get any easier when a top-four seeking Tottenham come to town.
Rangers aren’t picking up enough points to stay in this division – they weren’t under Harry Redknapp, and they’re not under Ramsey – and if they are to have a fighting chance they really need to claim a few high-profile scalps at Loftus Road; they host Everton, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle after Saturday and their away form can’t be relied upon at all. They’ve picked up a miserable three points in 13 games.
Joey Barton misses the game through suspension, Leroy Fer and Richard Dunne are injured.
After being dumped out of the Europa League and losing in the Capital One Cup final, Spurs’ sole project is now to finish in the top four places and win a spot in next year’s Champions League. The Thursday-Sunday-Thursday grind is now over for them and they can play their strongest side with impunity hoping to pick up enough points to finish ahead of two of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Loftus Road would of course be a great place to start, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men are of course a far stronger side that Saturday’s opponents. But he will also be wary of facing a side fighting for their Premier League lives, and the Rs have enough players to hurt Spurs – not least in the shape of Charlie Austin.
Tottenham have no injuries or suspensions going into this game.
Despite being the home side, QPR are big outsiders here and are currently trading at 4.94/1 to win the game. Spurs are big odds-on favourites at 1.814/5 and The Draw is available to back at a healthy-looking 4.03/1.
Although Rangers’ home record was decent enough in the first half of the season, they are now one of only two teams (the other is Everton) to not yet win a home game in the calendar year. Their record against Spurs is a pretty poor one too – they’ve lost five of their last seven against the north Londoners and won just one. The reverse of this fixture finished 4-0 to Tottenham in August.
All this said, I wonder if Spurs are quite reliable enough away from home to justify the 1.814/5 price, but they reacted to going out of the Europa League and losing the Capital One Cup final with a good win over Swansea so maybe their focus on the league is sound.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
There’s goals in this game, I’m fairly certain of that. Rangers concede a fair few, but are capable of bagging one through the in-form Charlie Austin, and Spurs have an in-form English striker of their own in Harry Kane. What’s more Spurs know they can win this game, and QPR know they need to – draws aren’t enough and they have to go for the win.
Pochettino’s men have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 away games, too.
That should lead to an open game, especially with a closed-in, raucous atmosphere in the most in-your-face stadium in the league roaring on the home side. 1.84/5 on Overs is a nice bet.
If you fancy Unders, it’s currently trading at 2.26/5.
Match Odds and Over/Under 2.5 Goals
If we’re deciding that Spurs are going to see this game out and win, then it’s probably worth taking the extra value on Overs as well. In addition to everything I’ve said above, the away side have scored the most amount of league goals in 2015 so far – 20. Their last eight games in the league have gone over 2.5; if they’re going to win, they’re going to win with goals at both ends.
2.77/4 should be available on the Tottenham/Overs combination.
Back Tottenham/Over 2.5 Goals in the Match Odds and Over/Under 2.5 Goals market at 2.77/4 or better (2pts)
Luke Moore Premier League P/L