Talking Tactics | QPR v Swansea City
For the third time this season, Swansea came from behind to secure victory last weekend when they beat Preston 3-2 at the Liberty.
The comeback kings they have picked up seven points from a possible nine this term. However, they can’t rest on their laurels in the midweek round of matches as Steve Cooper looks to continue his unbeaten start to life as Swans boss.
Five teams are yet to lose a Championship game at this stage of the campaign and it’s crucial Swansea maintain their bright start to the season in order to keep up with the early pace setters.
They will be up against it at QPR tonight, though, with Mark Warburton enjoying a solid start to life in west London.
A 2-0 loss to Bristol City on Saturday was far from ideal, but four points from three matches is a commendable return. A 4-0 win over the Swans in this game last term should boost the side coming into this clash, but that result was very much an exception to the rule for a QPR side that finished just three places above the relegation zone.
Defensively, the Rs have been lacklustre stemming from the aforementioned victory having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last seven league matches and their struggles at the back should be a boost for the south Wales side.
Swansea are unbeaten in their last eight league matches and have won four of their last six meetings with QPR, so recent form is very much in the away side’s favour.
Only Charlton (seven), Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Bristol City (all six) have scored more league goals than Swansea (five) this season, and when factoring in QPR’s underwhelming clean sheet record, man of the hour Borja is the player the London outfit should be fearing.
No player has scored more goals than the Spaniard (three) in the Championship this season, with Borja making a fine impact on his return to the club following a loan stint with La Liga outfit Alaves.
Indeed, Borja made the WhoScored.com team of the week after his man-of-the-match outing against Preston as he had a direct hand in all three goals, scoring two, to return a 9.00 rating. Having become something of a forgotten man in Wales, the 26-year-old has rediscovered the form that saw Swansea splash the cash on him in 2016 as he succeeds Oli McBurnie as the club’s leading forward with aplomb.
Now Swansea will be looking for Borja to add to his three goals and follow up his man-of-the-match display against Preston with another star showing as he looks to put the QPR backline to the sword.
Two of QPR’s three statistically-calculated WhoScored.com weaknesses are focused on defending, with the London club failing to keep out an opponent for seven successive league matches.
That said, Borja won’t simply saunter through the QPR defence and have a free shot at Joe Lumley. Tonight’s opponents still boast their defensive strengths and if Grant Hall can maximise his qualities at the heart of the defence, Swansea’s star forward will find it easier said than done to hit the back of the net. The 27-year-old boasts a better WhoScored.com rating (7.12) than any other QPR player in the Championship this season as he seeks to re-establish himself as a key man for the side.
Boasting a statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘concentration’, Hall has the mental capacity to ensure opposition forwards can endure a torrid 90 minutes as they struggle to get the better of the defender.
Borja, though, has proven his striking calibre upon his return to English football and another WhoScored.com man-of-the-match display at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium will do the Swans the world of good as they seek to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign in their bid to return to the Premier League.