The first matchup between the two saw West Brom edge the home side in shots 19-10 with an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal, but QPR was able to split possession 50-50. West Brom finally broke through in the 79th minute with a Shane Long goal and looked to be on its way to the fourth round. However, the home side was able to produce some rare magic with a goal from striker Kieron Dyer in stoppage time to tie the match and earn tomorrow’s replay.
QPR has struggled mightily this season in the Premier League, currently sitting in last place, 5 points from safety. Nevertheless, The Hoops are playing well lately, coming off a 1-0 win against Chelsea and a 0-0 draw against Tottenham. West Brom on the other hand, has played surprisingly stellar this season and while high hopes of Champions League qualification may be out of reach at this point, Albion sits comfortably in 7th, two points ahead of Liverpool. The Baggies have been on a bit of a slide lately losing their last three Premier League matches and six of their last nine matches overall.
Tuesday’s matchup bodes well for visiting QPR based on recent form, but West Brom has proven to be one of the toughest home teams in the league this season. Last weekend loss of Zoltan Gera will be a huge blow for The Baggies not only for Tuesday’s match, but also for the rest of the season. The good news for the home side is that striker Peter Odemwingie and right fullback Steven Reid will be fit. Unfortunately, according to ESPN FC, Albion striker and goal scorer in the first leg, Shane Long will miss the match with a severe dead leg.
Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar starred for QPR in the first meeting at Loftus Road, coming up with some huge saves that literally saved the match for the home side. Manager Harry Redknapp will be expecting a similar performance to help his team succeed on the road and progress on to the fourth round.
On paper, West Brom should win Tuesday’s match, but to say QPR doesn’t have a great chance to win based on recent results and a team looking for inspiration would be foolish. QPR is fighting for safety in the Premier League, but has a chance at rare glory in the FA Cup. Often times the most dangerous teams in tournaments are squads with nothing to lose. With the momentum of The Hoops, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities to see QPR advance.