Baggies face resurgent Rangers

Queen’s Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion; Loftus Road, Wednesday 6th March 2024, 8pm

The Baggies return to the road this week looking to build on the four points that they earned from their last two away games, ending a run of three successive away defeats. With the two opponents this week apparently struggling at the wrong end of the table, expectations should be high, but both QPR and the Terriers are enjoying something of a recovery currently and both are in the top ten of the six-match form table.

Rangers are on a particularly good run having lost only one of their last eight games and will be fresh from the shock result of the weekend when they won 2-1 away to runaway leaders, Leicester City. That was their third successive victory, a run that has lifted them out of the relegation zone, albeit only on goal difference – they are in a group of four teams all on 38 points, a group that also includes Sunday’s opponents Huddersfield Town. The R’s win at Leicester was obviously impressive, although it was the Foxes’ third successive defeat as their imperious form has begun to stutter, but it shows that they will provide stern opposition for Albion as they seek to continue their improved away form.

Martí Cifuentes took over at Loftus Road at the end of October and after an encouraging start in which they lost only one of his first seven games in charge, including another run of three successive wins, they suffered in the weeks either side of Christmas picking up just one point from six games, before their resurgence started with a win over Millwall in mid-January. Moroccan midfielder, Ilias Chair, is their undoubted star and he continues to be available despite being sentenced to a year in prison in Belgium last month having been found guilty of assault. The club will be hoping that the appeal process will drag on until the end of the season as his removal from the squad would be a huge blow – he is joint top scorer with Lyndon Dykes on five goals and also has registered six assists with five of those goal involvements coming in the last eight games. also has him as the star man in three of those games and when Chair plays well, Rangers normally secure a result. Callum O’Hare is similarly influential for Coventry City and Albion’s ability to stunt his impact last Friday saw him withdrawn at half time – let’s hope that they can control the Moroccan’s influence equally as well.

There are a couple of names familiar to Baggies fans in the Rangers’ squad. Sam Field is a mainstay at the base of midfield for the west London club with the 25-year-old having made a loan move from the Hawthorns permanent in the summer of 2021. He has since racked up 130 Championship appearances for the R’s and started every one of their league games last season, missing just three matches in he current term. Chris Willock never made a senior appearance for Albion despite several impressive appearances for the youth teams during his loan from Benfica in 2019; he then famously scored for Huddersfield Town in the game that looked to have cost the Baggies automatic promotion in July 2020, but then made a permanent move to Loftus Road at the end of that COVID-affected season. He, too, has been a regular for Rangers and has found the net 20 times in 145 appearances approaching the end of his fourth season in west London.

Corberán confirmed in his pre-match conference on Tuesday that both Conor Townsend and Brandon Thomas-Asante would miss the trip to Loftus Road. Townsend has a minor hamstring issue that will also keep him out of Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield, but the Spaniard has a few options to choose from as a replacement. Erik Pieters has been playing in the centre of defence in recent games keeping out regular teammates Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi, but he is a left back by trade and could easily slot in there. The other options are Adam Reach and Pipa, but I would expect Pieters to move across and Bartley to resume his place in the centre.

BTA’s absence is no surprise but it will be interesting to see if the Baggies boss opts to change things around in this three-game week. Wallace has led the line for the past two games flanked by Johnston and Fellows – while Jed hasn’t really sparkled as a central forward, the two wingers have done well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them continue. Weimann is probably the obvious alternative to Wallace in the middle, with either Diangana or Swift in behind. It would be a surprise to see either Mowatt or Yokuşlu left out, albeit the Turk did get a rest at Plymouth the other week, and there is always the chance that new signing, Yann M’Vila, is fit enough to be considered, although that is unlikely to be from the start.

Rangers’ league position means little given their current form, and even Corberán has described this as one of Albion’s toughest remaining fixtures. Nonetheless, the Baggies should be good enough to take all three points provided they play somewhere near their capabilities and keep Ilias Chair contained. Four points from the two away games this week would be an acceptable total, which would make a point a reasonable result. However, despite their recent form, I feel this is a game Albion should win – QPR’s most impressive successes have come away from home of late and they have only beaten bottom half teams at home in their recent good run. If Corberán gets his tactics right, and the players perform as they can, three points should be there for the taking.


Albion have lost just one of their last nine games against QPR, winning six of them with three of those coming at Loftus Road. Kyle Bartley’s goal was enough to claim all three points last season while in the previous campaign, a late Charlie Austin winner for Rangers was the beginning of the end for Valérien Ismaël in January 2022 – he would last only three more games. That match did see Daryl Dike make his debut off the bench, and those of us there were excited as to what he might bring – he went off injured after his first start the following week.

The Baggies previous two visits to Shepherd’s Bush were very successful. In September 2019, Nathan Ferguson announced himself to the Albion fans with the opener in a 2-0 victory, Matheus Pereira scoring the second with a wonderful free-kick under the wall and the infamous throat-cutting gesture in celebration, while in February 2019, loan signings Jefferson Montero and Jacob Murphy were both on the scoresheet but it took a 94th minute winner from Jake Livermore to secure the 3-2 victory.

Albion’s biggest game at Loftus Road was the 2-0 win in May 2008 that secured the Championship title with goals from Chris Brunt and Kim Do Heon, while their biggest win there was on Boxing Day 1968 – an Ian Collard brace and further goals from Ronnie Rees and Dennis Martin earned the Baggies a 4-0 win.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion D W L W D W
Queen’s Park Rangers W D L W W W

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

24 Oct 2023 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Thomas-Asante (pen), Diangana)
Queen’s Park Rangers 0

Last meeting at Queen’s Park Rangers

5 Nov 2022 – League Championship
Queen’s Park Rangers 0
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Bartley)

Albion’s Record against Queen’s Park Rangers

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 47 22 11 14 78 55   23 10 3 10 29 26
FA Cup 4 1 1 2 4 5   1 0 1 0 1 1
League Cup 2 1 0 1 4 4   0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 53 24 12 17 86 64   24 10 4 10 30 27

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