QPR v Reading, Live on Sky Sports 1,
The thing that will be in the minds of the players is the game where Reading went to QPR recently and turned them over in the League Cup. They can call upon that if Brian McDermott needs to fill his players with any confidence and his team should recover from that amazing 7-5 defeat.
QPR have been threatening this season and are getting better. They were unlucky to lose so late on against Arsenal to a very dubious winner from Mikel Arteta. The first victory is just around the corner and they can take three points from this match on Sunday.
This is the perfect opportunity for QPR to get points on the board. Mark Hughes has been struggling with injuries and suspensions there’s no doubt. If you asked him truthfully if he’s ever picked his best team this season he’d answer no. Simply because he hasn’t had the players available. But he’s getting closer to that.
QPR should turn the tables on that league cup result and can beat Reading at 5/6. This is another game where both teams can score because QPR aren’t watertight at the back by any stretch of the imagination. With Pavel Pogrebnyak hovering around there will be opportunities to score. It will be tight but 2-1 to QPR at 13/2 and 3-1 at 12/1 are worth backing.
Liverpool v Newcastle, Live on Sky Sports 1,
The 4/7 on Liverpool is too skinny by a million miles. When you take the form into consideration, the fact that they got turned over by Swansea at Anfield in midweek and the fact that, apart from Luis Suarez, they’re struggling to get goals. They had a pretty good result and performance against Everton last week but those kind of performances have been few and far between.
The 5/1 on Newcastle is a good price because they are very capable of beating Liverpool. Had Cheick Tiote not get sent off in the derby they would have beaten Sunderland easily and that is a measure of the new-found confidence in this squad. With Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini back the defensive five is together again and they are much more solid than they were at the start of the season.
Liverpool have had real trouble winning games at Anfield and the pressure is on them to do just that. Newcastle under Alan Pardew are a different team to a couple of years ago when you wouldn’t back them to get anything away from St James’ Park. Now they have to be taken a lot more seriously. When you have players like Yohan Cobaye, Papisse Cisse, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa you have players who can win you a game or save you a game. As a neutral you could get a feast here.
Both teams will fancy themselves to get goals. Liverpool will because they’re the home side but if you get at Liverpool you can hurt them. They’re susceptible to a counter-attack and that’s something Newcastle are very good at.