Queens Park Rangers will kickstart their 2020/21 EFL Championship campaign this weekend with a home against promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest.

Queens Park Rangers will be aiming to begin the new season on a winning note, when they face off against Nottingham Forest at The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

QPR did not have the best of the seasons last time out, as they finished thirteenth  in the Championship, twelve points off the final playoff spot. Mark Warburton & co. will have their task cut out to improve on that finish in the season ahead.

Nottingham Forest missed out on playoffs by the slimmest of margins last time, with a heavy defeat on the final day of the season against Stoke City condemning them to a seventh place finish owing to a poorer goal difference. Sabri Lamouchi’s side need to move on from that disappointment and get things back on track ahead of the new season.

Neither team has made the greatest start to the 2020/21 campaign with QPR losing 3-2 to Plymouth Argyle in the Carabao Cup first round, while Forest also bowed out of the competition at the same stage after losing 1-0 against Barnsley. And ahead of their first match of the new Championship season, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

QPR

Eberechi Eze has left QPR for Crystal Palace (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Eberechi Eze has left QPR for Crystal Palace (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

QPR will head into the new season without one of their most influential players from last season as Eberechi Eze has left to join Premier League side Crystal Palace. They have, however, signed Luke Amos permanently from Tottenham, while George Thomas, Tom Carroll, Rob Dickie and Lyndon Dykes have also arrived at the club.

There are no injury or fitness concerns for manager Mark Warburton heading into the game and there are unlikely to be a host of changes from the last week. In goal, Joe Lumley is likely to pip Liam Kelly once again. In front of him, the team will set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Osman Kakay and Ryan Manning ought to be the two full-backs on the right and left sides respectively. New signing Dickie should start at the heart of the defence, alongside Yoann Barbet, who is likely to come in for former Liverpool academy man Conor Masterson.

Dominic Ball should occupy one of the two slots in the midfield double pivot. Partnering him should be new signing Tom Carroll, while Ilias Chair should line up as the attacking midfielder and look to dictate play in the final third of the pitch.

Luke Amos started in an unnatural right-flank role against Plymouth last time out and could be used in a similar position again, while Bright Osayi-Samuel should feature on the left, even though his future at the club is in question. Spearheading the attack for the R’s should be Dykes, replacing Aramide Oteh.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lumley; Kakay, Dickie, Barbet, Manning; Ball, Carroll; Amos, Chair, Osayi-Samuel; Dykes

Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest have seen a lot of new faces coming in during the transfer window, with Tyler Blackett, Jack Colback, Fouad Bachirou, Miguel Angel Guerrero, Lyle Taylor all signing permanently, while Luke Freeman has joined on loan from Sheffield United. However, the Reds have lost a key player in Matty Cash, who joined Aston Villa.

Sabri Lamouchi will be under pressure after having made a number of signings (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Sabri Lamouchi will be under pressure after having made a number of signings (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Heading into the game manager Lamouchi has been handed a boost with Samba Sow, Joe Worrall and Joe Lolley fit for the game after missing out last time. Tiago Silva is the only player who is absent. Like their opponents, Forest, too, are expected to set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, in front of Brice Samba in goal.

The fit-again Worrall should return to the starting XI at the heart of the defence, partnering Tobias Figueiredo. Yuri Ribeiro should slot in at left-back, but there could be a change on the right side, with the more experienced Tendayi Darikwa likely to edge out Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel.

Fouad Bachirou should make his EFL Championship debut for Forest, starting in the middle of the park. He, along with Colback, will look to provide a solid base for the attackers to build upon. Joao Carvalho should slot in as the No. 10, although Luke Freeman is also a viable option for the manager.

Lolley, now that he is fit and available, should come into the team on right flank, while Sammy Ameobi is expected to be retained on the left. Lewis Grabban should be the man leading the Reds’ attack, with Taylor and Guerrero are potent options to call on from the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Samba; Darikwa, Worrall, Figueiredo, Ribeiro; Bachirou, Colback; Lolley, Carvalho, Ameobi; Grabban

Key Stats

  • QPR have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 3 home matches in the EFL Championship.
  • Nottingham Forest have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches against QPR in all competitions.
  • QPR have won just two of their last 11 meetings against Nottingham Forest across all competitions.
  • Nottingham Forest are without a win in their last six matches in the English second division.
  • Saturday’s encounter will be the 72nd meeting between the two teams. Forest have won 32 of the previous 71 matches, while the R’s have triumphed on 22 occasions (D 17).

Player to Watch

Bright Osayi-Samuel

The 22-year-old winger, along with Eberechi Eze, was one of QPR’s best players in the previous season. Osayi-Samuel ended the 2019/20 campaign with six goals and nine assists from 40 appearances in all competitions. Naturally, this has led to interest from a number of Premier League clubs, with Crystal Palace said to be the most keen.

With his future unresolved, it is natural for distraction to creep in. However, Warburton has insisted that the youngster has been training very well and remains part of his plans for Saturday. With the manager showing faith in him, Osayi-Samuel will need to repay it with a strong performance against the Reds this weekend.

Prediction

QPR 1-2 Nottingham Forest

QPR have done fairly well in the transfer market thus far. But the departure of Eberechi Eze is bound to hurt. At the same time, Forest, too, will be hit hard by the departure of Matty Cash, but Sabri Lamouchi has added a number of impressive talents to his ranks, strengthening his side across all areas of the pitch.

Even though, the Reds struggled towards the end of the last season, there is enough quality and strength within the team to see off a QPR side, that is expected to finish mid-table once again. Thus, The Hard Tackle is predicting a 2-1 win for the away team this weekend.

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