QPR approach this game knowing that a victory will aid their survival hopes significantly, while Stoke will already have their eyes sat on next term with the Potters currently sat in 14th position. With the reverse fixture being a five goal thriller that swung in QPR’s favour in a 3-2 victory, the neutrals will be hoping for more of the same as Mark Hughes’ side act as hosts this time around.
With QPR sat above the bottom three due to goal difference alone, Loftus Road is certainly becoming an anxious place with just two games of the campaign remaining. Moreover, Mark Hughes know that his side must get some sort of result against Stoke, with the R’s set for a final day showdown with Manchester City which is very likely to result in a defeat. While there have been signs of positivity at the club through recent times, with the Hoops managing victories over Tottenham, Swansea and Arsenal through the last few weeks, there have also been some disastrous moments such as their latest result which was a 6-1 defeat to Chelsea. Their performance in that clash was simply awful and many people believe that this defeat has hindered their survival chances significantly.
Stoke meanwhile have already admitted that they are making plans for next term, with Tony Pulis embarking on various scouting trips in a bid for recruitment. Some supporters claim that such improvement is necessary, as the Potters will probably be quite disappointed with their current position of 14th considering the millions of pounds they have spent through recent years. Still, with two games remaining, the Britannia Stadium outfit still find themselves just two points away from 10th spot which would be much more satisfactory. Having drawn their last two games against high flying Everton and Arsenal, there are definite signs of improvement starting to appear at the club as well. Still, with their last away victory in the top flight coming all the way back at the start of January, there will be few confident faces ahead of the trip to London this weekend.
As for team news, QPR are all but certain to include Adel Taarabt who returns to the reckoning after missing the R’s last game through suspension. Elsewhere, a late decision will be made on Samba Diakite as he continues to recover from a virus. Stoke on the other hand are preparing to hand several fringe players a start, which surely won’t go down well with several of QPR’s relegation rivals. Tony Pulis will not be able to rely on the likes of Rory Delap, Andy Wilkinson and Jermaine Pennant though, with the trio all struggling on the treatment table.
Even though QPR were thrashed in their last encounter, we still think they will be good value for the three points in this clash. They have recorded several wins in the last few weeks, while opponents Stoke have been poor on the road. Bearing this in mind, our tip will be a 2-1 win for Mark Hughes’ side.