A few teams have started the 2022/23 Championship season strongly, and one of those is definitely QPR. The London side haven’t been in the Premier League since the 2014/15 campaign and have spent the past few seasons closer to League One than the top flight, but under Michael Beale they are currently flying. With a game in hand, QPR are just two points behind the early Championship leaders Burnley and they can place some pressure on Vincent Kompany’s side by opening the weekend with a win.
It wasn’t a straightforward start to life in west London for Beale with QPR winning just one of their opening five Championship matches while also bowing out of the EFL Cup in the first round. But since returning from the September international break, QPR have hit good form, winning six of their eight games, only dropping points in a draw with Stoke City and defeat to Luton Town.
Birmingham, meanwhile, are currently looking at another battle towards the bottom of the Championship. Since securing back-to-back 10th-placed finishes in 2014/15 and 2015/16, Birmingham haven’t finished higher than 17th in the Championship and last season were just two places above the relegation zone (albeit with a 10-point gap). While Birmingham currently sit 15th in the table, they are just three points clear of the drop zone and will be wary of a slip.
The Blues only recently lifted themselves up the table thanks to consecutive wins over Bristol City and Hull, and their 1-1 draw with Burnley last week should not be overlooked, taking points off a promotion candidate. But the unbeaten run came to an end last weekend, at the hands of another promotion candidate Blackburn. How will they fare against this promotion candidate?
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Birmingham vs QPR match stats
Usually you would expect the teams higher up the table to dominate in corners when they face those struggling, but that may not be the case on Friday. Birmingham are averaged 5.38 corners won in the Champions League this season with 5.19 corners conceded, while QPR have won 4.38 but conceded 5.13.
If Birmingham are to cause QPR problems, they’ll be hoping Scott Hogan continues his good recent record. The striker is Birmingham’s top scorer in the Championship this season with seven goals, and has also found the net in each of his past two matches – against Burnley and Blackburn.
2 January 2022 – Birmingham 1-2 QPR – Championship
28 September 2021 – QPR 2-0 Birmingham – Championship
27 February 2021 – Birmingham 2-1 QPR – Championship
24 October 2020 – QPR 0-0 Birmingham – Championship
29 February 2020 – QPR 2-2 Birmingham – Championship
QPR did the double over Birmingham in the Championship last season and have enjoyed themselves in this fixture with just three defeat in the past 17 matches (having lost three in a row before staring that run).