Winless in five versus defeated in their last four. Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa don’t so much want to throw the form book out of the window ahead of this Monday night clash, but rip it up and burn it, too.
Circumstances haven’t helped either team in the past few weeks.
QPR’s tricky run has involved trips to the in-form Southampton and West Ham, a visit to a souped-up Manchester United searching for their first win of the season and then last weekend’s bizarre events at home to Liverpool, when a draw was snatched from the jaws of defeat, then let go again, then regained, then lost again in farcical fashion.
It was the sort of defeat you experience when you’re struggling, said many, but it also one of a team who don’t know how to hold onto a result. Harry Redknapp could have taken solace in his team’s performance, but instead he chose to hit out at a player who wasn’t even in the squad.
Adel Taarabt won’t play here, either, but crucially for Villa Christian Benteke will be able to start for them.
After a run of five successive fixtures against last five of last season’s top six brought just three points from a win at Anfield, Villa now get to face up to the team rock bottom of the table.
Gabriel Agbonlahor’s winner in front of the Kop in mid-September remains the last goal that Villa have scored, with the defeats to Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton coming via an aggregate score of 11-0.
Rangers will be a little more welcoming having conceded at least twice in six of their eight league games so far – even obliging to score twice for Liverpool last weekend, and you get the impression that if Paul Lambert’s men are to fire here then the returning Benteke – who has played just 110 minutes of league football this season – will be central to their plans.
More on him later, with the first port of call here being a win for a Villa side who’ve also tasted victory at Stoke this season as well as at Liverpool. They are temptingly priced at 3.20.
With confidence shattered at QPR – who might find that Bobby Zamora doesn’t get as much change out of Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos as he did Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren – then Villa on the Draw No Bet market is also a backable 2.25, whilst winning to nil is also an intriguing 5.25.
For short price backers, a draw or away win is at 1.61.
As you might have guessed by now, we’re going to talk about Benteke here.
The Belgian is out to make up for lost time after injury ruined both his World Cup and the start of this season, and he’s at 2.85 to score at any time on Monday evening at Loftus Road, whilst he’s 4.70 to score at any time in a Villa win
If you’re not as confident in Villa as this column, then QPR’s Eduardo Vargas is a lively force who should figure after his cameo against Liverpool. He’s at 3.60 any time.
QPR 1 Aston Villa 2 – 11.50
Aston Villa Draw No Bet – 2.25
Christian Benteke to score at any time – 2.85
Benteke anytime/Aston Villa Wincast – 4.70
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