West Brom know victory on Wednesday night at home to QPR will secure Premier League promotion. Mark O'Haire expects the Baggies to seal a top-two finish...
West Brom v QPR Wednesday July 22, 19:30 Sky Sports
West Brom flop in key promotion clash
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic said his Baggies side must show whether they are "real men or near men" after Friday's defeat at Huddersfield put their Championship promotion bid in jeopardy. Albion hold a narrow one-point advantage over Brentford in third and know only victory at The Hawthorns here on Wednesday will guarantee Premier League football.
The Baggies were a goal down inside four minutes at Huddersfield and despite levelling before half-time through Dara O'Shea, struggled to create chances thereafter. The Terriers then grabbed a decisive second goal four minutes from time to consign West Brom to a seventh league loss of the campaign, prompting an angry reaction from Bilic post-match.
Bilic said, "We played bad, we were nowhere near good enough. I didn't see this coming. We were simply not good enough throughout the whole game. We now have two options, feel sorry or take our second chance. Now it is up to us to show if we are real men or near men. We have to react in a proper way and see what it brings."
QPR impress in penultimate outing
QPR clinched only their second success since lockdown last Saturday as Rangers edged a seven-goal thriller against Millwall in their final Loftus Road outing of the season. R's defender Conor Masterson put the hosts ahead and was joined on the scoresheet by star man Ebere Eze, defender Todd Kane, as well as Ryan Manning's long-range strike.
Mark Warburton's men monopolised possession and consistently created chances in an eye-catching display. The Hoops generated an Expected Goals (xG) output of 3.36 as they fired in 22 attempts at goal - 11 of which were on-target - in an enjoyable, end-to-end contest, a far cry from QPR's previous performance since the league resumed back in early June.
Post-match Warburton said, "I say this full of respect for Millwall, who are a very good team, but we could have scored eight, nine or 10 goals out there. We've missed a couple of great chances, their keeper's produced a couple of world-class saves and we've hit the bar. We looked really dangerous going forward. We hurt them."
Baggies hot favourites to seal top-two finish
West Brom have won their last three meetings with QPR since returning to the second-tier in 2018/19, including a comfortable 2-0 triumph at Loftus Road back in late September. At The Hawthorns, the Baggies enjoy a W5-D2-L1 record when hosting Rangers this century, with Albion also emphatic 7-1 winners when the duo crossed swords here last season.
West Brom 1.26 come into this clash winless in three (W0-D2-L1) and having pocketed a mediocre W8-D9-L6 since mid-December. The Baggies have taken just W4-D5-L3 as Championship hosts in the same sample with Albion also picking up top honours in only three of 11 home meetings with the bottom-half under Slaven Bilic (W3-D4-L3).
QPR13.50 have tabled W2-D1-L4 following the return of Championship football with Rangers returning a poor W2-D3-L7 on their travels dating back to early December. Mark Warburton's men have also struggled for results on the road against the league's elite, posting W2-D3-L6 at top-half teams and W0-D1-L4 at top-six sides this season.
Oppose goals at The Hawthons
The Hawthorns has tended to be a high-scoring venue with West Brom's home fixtures crossing the Over 3.5 Goals barrier in nine (41%) of their 22 contests here with matches averaging 3.05 goals. A chunky 14 (64%) of those games have also paid out for Both Teams To Score backers with Albion earning a surprisingly measly five clean sheets as hosts.
However, goals have been at a premium in WBA's most recent matches as the pressure of the promotion race has told. And with QPR's away days also pointing towards a low-scoring showdown - 10/22 (55%) featuring Under 2.5 Goals - it may to oppose a goal-heavy game when the two teams lock horns here on Wednesday night.
Entering the Goal Lines market, we can support Under 3 Goals at 1.95. Backing this selection sees our stake returned if exactly three goals are scored, providing profit if zero, one or two goals are netted and only losing if four or more strikes are recorded.