It’s the time when the kids over-indulge in chocolate eggs and end up feeling a bit queasy. As Easter is traditionally the time for sorting out a few league issues however, supporters of teams in danger of falling through the relegation trapdoor have a different reason for feeling uneasy. The games begin to run out, and hopes can quickly turn to despair. QPR are one such club.
The Loftus Road outfit currently lie seven points behind Aston Villa, and eight astray from Southampton and Sunderland. To escape, they need to catch up and pass not only the two teams immediately above them - Reading and Wigan - but also at least one of this trio. To assess their chances, let’s take a look at QPR’s fixture, and assess their prospective points haul from the season’s last seven games.
They start on Monday with a local match at Fulham. Derbies are notoriously hard to predict, but if only for the fact that QPR have something to fight for, I think they’ll take a point back with them on the short journey home. Next comes a classic ‘six pointer,’ at home to Wigan. This is a ‘must win’ and whoever loses is probably doomed, but I think home advantage could count for QPR and I expect at least a draw, and probably a nail-biting, unedifying game running out with a narrow win for the hoops. It’s the kind of tussle that could be decided by an own goal or deflected shot.
With four points in the bag from two games, hopes may well be rising, but the next game is Everton away, and I see nothing there for QPR. The following fixture is at home, and another ‘must win’. Stoke City aren’t in the sharpest of form at the moment, and this may mean another three points. So, of the seven points to make up, so far so good, with three games left.
Sadly, I think that’s where it may end. The next game takes QPR to Reading, and with the Berkshire team also scrapping against the seemingly inevitable, I can see little more than a point being garnered there. So two games left, and if these predictions are about right, QPR still may be in with a chance. Next comes Arsenal at home. Odds are that the Gunners will be battling for Champions’ League qualification, and will be unlikely to fall over at Loftus Road. Pointless from this one, I’m afraid. It may well be all over by now, but just to round it off, Newcastle visit Loftus Road on the final day. Doubtless Sky will be parading this as a Survival Sunday, but it’ll probably be all over for QPR by this stage, as others cling on for survival. A draw will probably be the best they’ll get from their final game, and that may well be their swansong for the Premier League. Unfortunately, nine points from the seven games is hardly likely to be enough, leaving Villa, Southampton and Sunderland needing just one win each to secure the west London club’s return to the Championship.
Sorry QPR fans, but I think it’s just a bridge too far for Harry Houdini this time. Time may well be called in the last chance saloon. But hey, who knows. I certainly have been wrong in the past, and another page in the book of great escapes may be about to be sritten. If Redknapp does manage to conjure some kind of unlikely escape, the drinks in that saloon will doubtless be bubbly indeed.