One of the games on matchday two of the 2022-23 EFL Championship season will see Queens Park Rangers (QPR) take on Middlesbrough at Loftus Road Stadium on Saturday the 6th of August. The previous meeting between these two teams ended in a 2-2 draw in February 2022. Coming into this game, QPR lost 0-1 to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, and Middlesbrough played out a 1-1 draw at home against West Brom. Having failed to win their first game of the season, both these teams will be looking to get off the mark in this encounter.
We look at three stats that could shape the outcome of this match.
QPR attempted only four shots in their match against Blackburn; none hit the target. The closest a QPR player came to scoring was Ilias Chair, and that was just a minute after the restart. His shot flew slightly above the crossbar as he aimed for the top left corner, and its xG value was 0.23. The team will need to make quick improvements in their ability to generate quality chances and finish them off in this match.
Middlesbrough attempted 11 shots against West Brom last time out. Only two hit the target, but none resulted in a goal. The strike by Isiah Jones in the 10th minute had an xG of 0.1, and it was in the bottom-right corner. The other shot on target was from Marc Bola in the 42nd minute. Just like QPR, Boro also need to generate opportunities closer to goal and slot the ball into the back of the net more frequently.
QPR came out successful in 123 out of the 244 attempted duels in their last game. Olamide Shodipo won 18 duels, followed by Rob Dickie with 14, Jake Clarke-Salter winning 13. Kenneth Paal came out successful in 11 duels. While winning more than half the duels is respectable, the team will need to improve on the offensive duels area if they are to threaten Middlesbrough in this game.
Middlesbrough won 94 out of the 187 duels they contested, meaning they won marginally above 50% of these. Anfernee Dijksteel won 12 of these duels. Closely following him were Darragh Lenihan and Matt Crooks, who won 10 each. If Boro need to threaten QPR, then they need to improve their offensive duel win rate.
QPR recovered the ball 94 times against Blackburn. Exactly half of these (47) came in the midfield. Topping the list is Jake Clarke-Salter, who made 16 recoveries. Following him in second and third are Rob Dickie and Kenneth Paal, with 14 and 13, respectively. QPR need to try and make these recoveries in the final third so that they increase the level of threat that they can create.
Middlesbrough made 93 recoveries in their previous game against West Brom, most of which came in the defensive third and in the midfield. Darragh Lenihan made 18 of these for the team, followed by Jonathan Howson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who made 14 and 11, respectively. Boro should try to apply more pressure in the final third to create more threats and higher-quality chances.
With both teams not getting the desired win in their opening fixtures of the season, QPR and Middlesbrough will look to get off the mark. According to the odds, the visitors are favoured to win this clash, but the hosts will have the home crowd backing them to cause an upset.
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