Three points expected against struggling QPR

West Bromwich Albion v Queen’s Park Rangers; The Hawthorns, Tuesday 24th October 2023, 8pm

Carlos Corberán welcomes Gareth Ainsworth’s Queen’s Park Rangers to the Hawthorns on Tuesday evening knowing that his side need all three points if they are to keep in touch with the top six. Having only picked up one point at home to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, the Baggies really need to take all three against another struggling side before a difficult away game at Coventry City next Monday.

While Argyle certainly didn’t play like a team in the lower reaches of the table, Albion were well below par and will be expected to show much more against a Rangers side that have lost their last four matches and have won just twice all season. However, both of those victories have come on the road and Ainsworth’s team have picked up seven of their eight points this campaign away from Loftus Road, and all but one of their away defeats have been by the odd goal.

Local hero, Ainsworth, returned to QPR, a club for who he made more than 150 appearances in a six year spell in the noughties including two spells as a player-caretaker manager, amid much fanfare in February having been linked with the club the previous summer. Rangers had enjoyed a great start to last season under Richard Beale before he left to take over at Ibrox, but it all went very wrong under his replacement, Neil Critchley, as he won just once in his “unlucky” thirteen games in charge. Much was expected of Ainsworth, who had enjoyed a near 40% win rate in his spell in charge at Wycombe Wanderers, but one victory in his first ten games left the club perilously close to the drop. Two wins in the last three games saved them in the end, but it was a very close call.

They started the season among the favourites for relegation with Ainsworth lacking the funds to make much of a positive impact on the squad – the club are still paying off instalments of the £42m fine they received in 2017 after breaking FFP rules leaving them operating on a shoestring despite receiving £20m for Eberechi Eze’s transfer to Crystal Palace in 2020. Eight new players were brought into the club in the summer, but most were on free transfers and most were the wrong side of 30 – veteran goalkeeper Asmir Begović is now the club captain and other new signings included Chris Martin, Morgan Fox, Jack Colback and Steve Cook.

Having lost the season opener 4-0 at Watford, they got their first win at Cardiff City in the next match but their only victory since then was at Middlesbrough before Michael Carrick got the Smoggies firing. Two points from the last seven games has seen them drop into the bottom three already four points from safety.

Carlos Corberán may look to make changes to improve on the stalemate from the weekend. Erik Pieters had a difficult time and Conor Townsend looked a lot better when he came on, while both Jayson Molumby and Tom Fellows also did well from the bench.

Fellows is perhaps the most interesting option. Having made one league start for Albion in the final days of Valérien Ismaël’s tenure, he spent last season on loan at League Two Crawley Town, making 40 appearances including 25 starts. Interestingly, he appeared on both flanks, in both defensive and attacking positions, and even started one game as a striker. His one start for the Baggies was on the right of a front three, and that is where he has operated off the bench this season, so that would be his natural position were he to start. That would probably mean that either BTA or Wallace would drop to the bench unless there was a change in formation.

Another player who is yet to get a start this season, but more surprisingly, is Pipa. Brought in to offer competition at right back and as a player that Corberán knows well, he will be frustrated to have only played fourteen minutes in two substitute appearances this season. In fairness to Corberán, Pipa’s arrival does seem to have raised the levels of Furlong’s performances so there has been little call from the terraces to make a change. However, Tuesday’s match against struggling opponents may be the perfect opportunity to give the Spaniard a chance from the start.

The middle of the park is another area where Corberán may look to rotate. Chalobah responded to a surprise start with a decent performance before being substituted – he looked to have picked up a knock but it is unclear if that was a factor in his withdrawal. Molumby came on for his first minutes since the trip to Preston and looked lively as always, and could be in line for a first start since the goalless draw with Millwall, while Yokuşlu also came on for the final twelve minutes having started all but one of the Baggies’ previous league games this season. Alex Mowatt was quiet on Saturday, which may be down to the absence of John Swift as a natural passing partner for him, but while CC is not one to make changes based on one below par performance, he may look to freshen things up in this three-game week.

The Albion players who do take to the field on Tuesday evening will feel the weight of expectation from the Baggies fans who will not be happy with anything other than a victory. The failure to beat Plymouth means that the pressure is on for this match as Albion try to keep pace with the play-off chasers.


Albion have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Queen’s Park Rangers, winning five of them, a run that started with the record 7-1 victory at the Hawthorns under Darren Moore in August 2018. The three games in that spell that haven’t been won were all important in one way or another.

In July 2020, Albion just had to beat QPR on the final day of the COVID-hit season to guarantee promotion but were held to a 2-2 draw thanks to a fantastic goal from the now England international, Eberechi Eze; thankfully, Brentford lost at Barnsley and the Baggies were promoted anyway. Eighteen months later, a dismal performance under Valérien Ismaël at Loftus Road in January 2022 resulted in a 1-0 defeat and the knives were sharpening for the Frenchman despite Albion still being in the top six – he would last three more games. Last season, Corberán’s team looked to have recovered from a disappointing defeat at Rotherham when they took a 2-0 lead inside a quarter of an hour in the Easter Monday meeting with the R’s, but Gareth Ainsworth’s team recovered to take a point leaving the Baggies with too much to do to make the play-offs.

Over the years, Albion have the edge in their encounters with QPR recording 23 wins in the 52 meetings between the clubs compared to the west Londoners’ 17. At the Hawthorns, Rangers have won on just five occasions, most recently in April 2015 when Chris Ramsey’s team recorded a shock 4-1 win to complete only their second ever league double over Albion. It was no more than a flash in the pan, however, as they finished bottom of the Premier League and were relegated.

All Rangers’ other wins at the Shrine have been by the odd goal, the first coming in December 1983 when Terry Fenwick and Simon Stainrod scored either side of half time for Terry Venables’ team before Tony Morley scored a late consolation for the hosts.

While the 7-1 win under Big Dave stands out, there have been a couple of other big wins for Albion. In September 2007, Tony Mowbray’s free-scoring Baggies stuck five past John Gregory’s team, who incidentally played for the R’s in that 1983 win, with Kevin Phillips’ brace added to by further goals from Ishmael Miller, Robert Koren and Jonathan Greening. Current Rangers’ boss, Gareth Ainsworth, scored a consolation for the visitors that day.

Just over a decade earlier, Alan Buckley was in charge of Albion went goals from Richard Sneekes, David Smith, Andy Hunt and Paul Peschisolido earned the hosts a 4-1 win at the Hawthorns to give the Baggies faithful some post-Christmas cheer in late December 1996. The visitors included future Albion striker, Danny Dichio, in their line up.

Stat Attack

Current Form

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

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

10 Apr 2023 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Thomas-Asante, Ajayi)
Queen’s Park Rangers 2 (Dykes, Martin)

Last win

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

Last win at the Hawthorns

24 Sep 2021 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Grant (2))
Queen’s Park Rangers 1 (Gray)

Albion’s Record against Queen’s Park Rangers

  Overall   Home
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 46 21 11 14 76 55   23 11 8 4 47 29
FA Cup 4 1 1 2 4 5   2 1 0 1 3 3
League Cup 2 1 0 1 4 4   1 1 0 0 2 1
Total 52 23 12 17 84 64   26 13 8 5 52 33

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