Talking Tactics | Swansea City v Queens Park Rangers
It's difficult to predict how Swansea City will fare against QPR on the final day of the campaign. The game will mark Mark Warburton's last at the QPR helm, with the 59-year-old confirmed to be leaving the west London side this summer.
QPR will be eager to send Warburton off on a high, though they have seen their form nosedive. They have secured just one win in their last nine, and a play-off finish is out of the question for the Rs. Nevertheless, despite a dip in form, Warburton is expected to continue with a three-man defence at Swansea this weekend.
They make the trip to south Wales without top-rated players Chris Willock (7.15) and Robert Dickie (7.08) and the absence of the pair is a huge blow for the capital outfit. The absence of the former should see the experienced Charlie Austin partner Lyndon Dykes up front with Moroccan attacker Ilias Chair set to provide an additional goal threat from midfield.
No QPR player has scored more goals than Chair (9), who has also won more WhoScored.com man-of-the-match awards (5) than any other player for Warburton's side. With Warburton electing to use a three-man backline, it's key the wing-backs provide the width for the Rs and it's seen QPR develop a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'Attacking down the wings'.
With Dickie available, QPR would have fancied their chances of securing a result at the Swansea.com Stadium, but their record over much of the season suggests Warburton's side will concede at Swansea. QPR have failed to keep a clean sheet since a 1-0 win at Cardiff at the beginning of November, 14 away games ago.
Considering Swansea have failed to score in just one of their last nine home league matches, the hosts will be keen to extend the lack of a shut-out on the road for the visitors.
It may have taken time for Michael Obafemi to get up to speed at Swansea, but he has enjoyed a superb second half to the campaign. Only Joel Piroe (22) has scored more league goals than Obafemi (12) for the Swans in 2021-22, while the latter has directly contributed to a goal in each of his last four league outings, scoring three and providing two assists.
With Dickie absent, there is more pressure on Jimmy Dunne to keep the Swansea attack at bay on Saturday. Dunne's WhoScored.com rating of 6.95 is the third best of all QPR players, so he should be able to handle the pressure that'll come with trying to minimise Obafemi's influence when Swansea host QPR.
It should be an intriguing battle.
QPR started 2022 brightly, but the wheels have come off over the second half of the season. This calendar year, only Reading, Peterborough and Barnsley (all 13) have lost more games than QPR in 2022 (11) to emphasise just how costly a difficult run has been for Mark Warburton's side.