Queens Park Rangers-Aston Villa Preview
Armed with some unexpected momentum, Queens Park Rangers seek consecutive away wins in their bid to avoid the drop as they face a similarly desperate Aston Villa side in the Midlands on Tuesday.
Rangers (7-4-20) are second from the bottom on 25 points, three points and two places behind Aston Villa (7-7-17) with seven matches to play. Chris Ramsey's side picked up just their second victory outside Loftus Road on Saturday, storming past West Bromwich Albion 4-1 at The Hawthorns.
Eduardo Vargas, Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora all netted in the first 45 minutes, with Zamora's a cheeky looping shot that Boaz Myhill could only watch float over him and into the net. Joey Barton completed the scoreline in stoppage time meaning Rangers are now out to win consecutive matches for the first time this season.
"We're at that stage now when each game is massive," defender Nedum Onuoha told QPR's official website. "We've never been low on confidence, but to win a game in that style will do wonders for us."
The four-goal outburst was a season high for QPR, whose only other multi-goal game outside Loftus Road came in their other road victory - a 2-0 verdict over Sunderland. Even with the split of their last four road matches, Rangers have been outscored 33-14 in losing 13 of 15 on the road.
"We know that we need to get some points from the next two games now - that is going to be crucial," Ramsey said. "We'll keep fighting, keep showing the spirit we showed today and see where it takes us."
Vargas, though, is questionable for this match after being forced to leave in the 30th minute after suffering a knee injury following an awkward landing.
While QPR are in fighting spirits, Villa's season-long uneven league play has made another downturn with two losses on the bounce. The FA Cup semifinalists came out of the international break with a 3-1 defeat Saturday at Manchester United, dropping them into the thick of the relegation battle.
Christian Benteke gave a flash of hope for a draw in the 80th minute, but a late concession to Ander Herrera resigned the Villans to their ninth loss in 11 matches.
"I thought we stuck in there, we were always in the game until the third goal killed us off," manager Tim Sherwood told the team's official website. "I was just hoping for one more chance - that free kick or corner towards the end and our luck might turn.
"But it wasn't to be."
The goal drought that plagued Aston Villa for much of the season seems to finally be over. Benteke's goal was their seventh in the last four matches, equaling their total from the previous 15. Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor have accounted for all seven of those markers, and the duo have combined for 12 of Villa's 20 league goals.
QPR ran out 2-0 winners in the reverse fixture as Austin scored in both halves. Austin's 16 goals are fourth in the Premier League, trailing only Diego Costa, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero, and he is second in shots (111) and shots on goal (44).
Villa are 5-1-0 in their last six top-flight matches at home versus QPR.