Tactically speaking - Queens Park Rangers

In-depth analysis ahead of West Ham United's quest to complete a Barclays Premier League double at Loftus Road

West Ham United

West Ham United have teamed up with football stats website WhoScored.com to preview the upcoming Barclays Premier League meeting with Queens Park Rangers.
The Hammers have underwhelmed of late, but have the perfect opportunity to right their recent wrongs at Loftus Road. Chris Ramsey’s side have lost ten of their last 13 Premier League fixtures and remain locked in the battle to secure top-flight safety.
QPR have developed a statistically calculated WhoScored.com weakness of ‘defending against attacks down the wings’ and it is on the flanks where West Ham can exploit the Hoops’ defensive frailties.
Carl Jenkinson has proven to be an astute addition to the West Ham defence following his loan switch from Arsenal and he could play a key role in the London derby. Known for his offensive abilities, Jenkinson is capable of breaking forward from deep in order to assist West Ham’s attack.
Sam Allardyce’s side have won a far better win ratio with Jenkinson starting this season (37.5%) than without him (22.2%), highlighting that West Ham are a stronger team with the 23-year-old in the starting XI.
A majority of West Ham’s attacks have come down the right side (37%) this campaign, which further illustrates Jenkinson’s importance. Having developed a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play of ‘likes to cross’, it is vital the Hammers maximise the England international’s nclination to press forward as a route to goal.
Defensively, the Hammers are stronger when the right-back features from the off, with West Ham shipping an average of 1.04 goals per game in Jenkinson’s 24 league starts compared to 1.89 in the nine matches the defender has missed.
The right-back gained a commendable WhoScored.com rating of 7.16 when West Ham welcomed QPR to east London earlier this season, and if the Hammers play to their potential, they could come away with three more points this time around. They will need to play to Jenkinson’s strengths, though, if they are to secure victory in west London.
*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Queens Park Rangers

Possible starting XI
Isla  Onuoha  Caulker  Hill
Phillips  Barton  Sandro  Henry
Austin  Zamora
The formation

Queens Park Rangers are likely to stick with the 4-4-2 formation that served them relatively well in their 1-0 home defeat by Chelsea last weekend.

The Hoops set up to frustrate the Barclays Premier League leaders with two compact, narrow banks of four, with the combative trio of Joey Barton, Sandro and Karl Henry working to stifle the Blues.

On the right wing, Matty Phillips will also work hard defensively, while also using his pace and ability on the ball to get his team moving forward.

In defensive situations, Charlie Austin (pictured) will drop deeper behind Bobby Zamora, reverting to more of a 4-4-1-1 system.

When QPR go forward, the full-backs will get forward, while Barton will also look to break from midfield. When QPR go more direct from back to front, Zamora will hold the ball up and flick it on for Austin to latch onto.
The playing style

Style-wise, QPR are actually more comfortable when playing on the front foot than when trying to battle through and earn points with resolute defensive displays.

Individual mistakes, loose defending from set pieces and a difficulty in keeping possession of the ball have combined to condemn QPR to 21 defeats from 33 league matches this season.

QPR have scored more goals than any other team in the bottom eight – and the same number as top-half Swansea City and Stoke City – but their defensive weaknesses have cost them dear time after time.

Nobody has conceded as many as the 59 goals that have flown past Robert Green – and Alex McCarthy – this season.

When the Hoops have got things right – and won seven matches – their success has been based on an aggressive pressing game and a reliance on their strength from set pieces. More than a quarter of QPR’s 38 goals have come directly from set pieces.

When in possession, which they enjoy for an average of 45 per cent of games – the same proportion as the Hammers – QPR will try to play football, opening up the opposition with one-twos and crosses.

One thing Chris Ramsey’s team are unlikely to do is catch you on the break, as they have scored just once from a counter-attacking situation all season.

For a struggling team, QPR create a lot of chances. Their average of 14.3 shots per game is good for fifth in the Barclays Premier League this season, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Manchester United.

Many of those shots are taken from long range, with a staggering 50 per cent of all of QPR’s shots being unleashed from outside the penalty area. By comparison, West Ham take 34 per cent of their shots from outside the 18-yard box.
The players

Once famous for having one of the biggest squads in the Premier League, QPR have slimmed down their playing resources this season.

The Hoops have used 30 players in the top flight in 2014/15, but three have started at least 30 league games and another four have been on the pitch at kick-off in at least 22 of them, giving the west London side a more settled look.

Nobody has started more games than former West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green, whose strengths and weaknesses need to further explanation to visiting fans who know him well.

The back four is likely to consist of Chilean Mauricio Isla and veteran Clint Hill at full-back, with Englishmen Steven Caulker and Nedum Onuoha in the centre.

Isla is short, stocky and loves to get forward, while Hill remains as competitive as ever at the age of 36. Caulker is another strong defender who tackles and blocks well and will attack the high ball with conviction, while the shorter Onuoha is also good with his head and is equally determined.

In midfield, QPR possess a trio of hard-nosed battlers in Barton, Sandro and Henry. Captain Barton never stops running and presses the opposition quickly and relentlessly, while he also has the ability to set up attacks with his passing. Alongside him, Sandro is a big, powerful player who sits deep.

Henry is another strong, competitive midfielder who was brought into the side to combat Chelsea’s strength on the right flank. He may be replaced by the more attack-minded, technically-gifted Croatian veteran Niko Kranjcar or the enigmatic Junior Hoilett.

On the right flank, Phillips looks to take on defenders and can deliver quality into the penalty area. He can also shoot with accuracy and pace from any range, as Crystal Palace discovered when he scored from 45 yards out last month!

Up front, Austin has been a revelation this term. The former Burnley man is full of movement and links effectively with strike partner Zamora, while his composure and accuracy in front of goal have been unerring.

Zamora is another who West Ham supporters need no introduction to, and the 34-year-old has been effective in his usual role as a battering ram who can win the ball in the air and shield it on the ground. He can also score with his head or either foot and cannot be left alone inside the penalty box.