Norwich is a false favourite for its English Championship match on Saturday versus a Queens Park Rangers side that could lift considerably for its new boss, Ian Holloway.
Holloway has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to lead Queens Park Rangers for the second time in his remarkable managerial career and, while the odds are against him getting the Super Hoops back into the English Premier League, he is the type of character capable of making a positive impact immediately. Holloway’s enthusiasm is infectious, his sense of humour and turn of phrase are legendary and he inherits a Queens Park Rangers squad that was underperforming for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Queens Park Rangers should be positioned higher than 17th on the English Championship ladder and it is worth highlighting that the Super Hoops are only six points outside the play-offs zone and seven points behind their weekend opponent, Norwich.
Alex Neil is a coach under the pressure even though Norwich is fifth in the English Championship after 16 rounds. Neil arrived at Carrow Road with a big reputation because of his success as Hamilton manager north of the border but he did not keep Norwich in the English Premier League last season and the Canaries went into the recent international break having failed to win any of their last five games, one of which resulted in a terrible 0-5 away loss to Brighton.
A combination of giving away leads and performances that were poor in standard overall means that Norwich’s morale may be lower than what would expect of a genuine English Championship promotion contender. Leeds scored a very late goal to silence Carrow Road two weeks, United winning 3-2 after Norwich had led proceedings for 33 minutes. Questions are being about Neil’s suitability for the job of getting Norwich back into English football’s promised land, which is ridiculous given that the Canaries are fifth on the English Championship ladder. That pressure is not helping matters.
Queens Park Rangers have put in some shockers – one will not forget its 0-6 English Championship home loss to Newcastle for a long time – but the Super Hoops are 3-2-0 versus teams ranked fourth to ninth so they are not travelling as badly as their raw ranking of 17th suggests at first glance.
Dig beneath the surface and there are grounds for concern about Norwich, though. Norwich has beaten each of the English Championship’s bottom six teams but it has not defeated a top-eight side and it is without a point from its four matches against outfits positioned seventh or higher.
Marathonbet and William Hill are offering odds of +250 about Queens Park Rangers shooting down Norwich and being the latest winner for this weekly article that highlights overpriced options with good chances of paying out. It does not hurt that Holloway, with whom the English media fall in love every time that he stages one of his unique media conferences – journalists leave never short of a headline – has an excellent record in debut games for new clubs. For example, Holloway became the first boss in more than 50 years to win his first league match in charge of Leicester when the Foxes beat Bristol City 2-0 in November 2007.
QPR to beat Norwich
Saturday 19th November, 15:00 GMT
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