QPR 2 #Aston Villa 0

Harry Redknapp's beleaguered Queens Park Rangers' side made home advantage pay for once at Loftus Road last night as they piled more pressure on Aston Villa's goal shy side with a 2-0 victory, moving off the bottom of the table in the process. There were signs in the previous week's narrow loss to Liverpool that Harry "Houdini" may be working his magic again, but yesterday's result represented a more complete package, as they maintained a clean sheet at the back and were clinical going forward in recording only their second league win this term. Charlie Austin's performance could be compared to his namesake "Steve", except he was only valued at six million dollars.

Advertisements
Advertisements

What price Charlie after his two goal strike against Villa ? He will surely be worth far more to QPR than that should he continue to fire the goals that keep his side in the Premiership this season. Before getting too carried away with themselves, they will have to consider their next two league games as a rather more stern test of any kind of renaissance for their fortunes, as they face the powerhouses of Chelsea and Manchester City. This result will have done wonders for their confidence though and it seems paramount that they get as many points as possible at home, especially against sides not expected to challenge at the top of the table.

By contrast, Villa have now failed to score in their last five games (all lost) and a paltry return of three points from the last eighteen on offer will not be wasted on manager Paul Lambert.

Advertisements

He has stated that he is not concerned by the lack of end product from his strikers recently, but had signalled attacking intent last night from the off with the bold selection of Belgian international striker Christian Benteke up front to partner Gabriel Agbonlahor, with Andreas Weimann also in the side.

It had been a stormy week for Rangers, as a very public dispute between manager Redknapp over the alleged lack of fitness of playmaker Adel Taarabt, in interviews after the defeat to Liverpool, had added to the tension around the place. They would have hoped for a quick start to the Villa game to soothe the anxiety, but it was the away side who seemed to settle the quicker with plenty of early possession, including a meandering run from Agbonlahor across their goal that ended when Richard Dunne blocked his shot. Two minutes later, the Columbian midfielder Carlos Sanchez tried his luck for Villa but found Rangers' returning keeper, Robert Green well placed to make a comfortable save.

On 17 minutes and against the run of play, QPR broke the deadlock with their first real chance of the match.

Advertisements

The move was simplicity itself, as Richard Dunne's long pass down the middle was chested down by Bobby Zamora as he held off Ron Vlaar, allowing Austin just enough time to smash a right foot drive home.

Villa rallied and almost equalised on 20 minutes when Benteke's header drifted just wide of the post, but QPR were now well into their stride and almost added to their lead a minute later when Yun Suk-young shot just wide.

The Midlanders revived after the break and were close to an equaliser on 55 minutes. Benteke's strength in the air allowed him to meet an Ashley Westwood free-kick and head down to Ciaran Clark, but he failed to hit the target.



Redknapp's battlers came close to a second goal midway through the second period as "Junior" Hoilett curled a right foot shot against the outside of the post with the keeper well beaten, after a layoff from Mauricio Isla. It was a temporary respite for Villa though, as on 69 minutes Austin got his second of the night. After Sanchez gave the ball away in midfield QPR found Eduardo Vargas, who delayed his cross from the right to find Austin lurking at the near post and his crisp right foot finish past Villa keeper ,Brad Guzan added to the home fans' delight.

Lambert looked to the substitutes' bench to rescue something in the last twenty minutes, but it summed up their night as one of the subs, Joe Cole went for the same header as Benteke on 73 minutes after a curled cross from Matthew Lowton, and another promising position was wasted as the ball went harmlessly wide.

QPR were beginning to draw "oles" of appreciation from their fans by now, as they maintained possession with confidence growing, and one spell of such sustained 'keep ball' resulted in Vargas being played through only for Guzan to block his shot.

Villa had not given up, but their resistance was all but ended when Green made a brilliant double save with ten minutes to go. Firstly he palmed away Tom Cleverly's volley and followed that up by blocking Clark's rebound effort to cap an encouraging evening for the defensive unit and gain a welcome three points for his team. #Football #Premier League

It had all looked so much more promising on September 13th for Villa, when remarkably they beat Liverpool at Anfield and scored their last league goal. Clearly, winding the clocks back came a few days late for Lambert's men !