This should be a very interesting contest, with Portsmouth – the top team in League One – going head-to-head with Championship side Queens Park Rangers. One of the best things about the FA Cup is seeing teams who otherwise wouldn’t meet due to league differences getting to test their mettle against one another. But this match is a particularly unusual one, as Portsmouth are actually the bookies’ favourites.
This begs the question whether the League One frontrunners really are better than a side doing only moderately well in the Championship. Or will the leap in skill for Portsmouth prove to simply be too large and they are being overhyped in the face of a team from a tougher league? Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s by checking out the game this Saturday.
Portsmouth vs QPR Prediction: Portsmouth 2-1 QPR
We think that both motivation and style of play will be the difference makers here. The FA Cup has long been a platform for clubs chasing promotion to show off their worth, and we have no doubt that Portsmouth will be taking this very seriously indeed.
On top of that, Portsmouth have an attack-heavy style, which we think will benefit them in this contest. Due to these factors, we predict a home team win, and a few goals to get through too. That leaves us with a scoreline prediction of 2-1 to Portsmouth in what we expect to be a very hard-fought battle.
Our recommended tip: Portsmouth win
Portsmouth may currently be a division lower than their opponents but while QPR are sitting around the middle of the Championship standings, Portsmouth have impressed by claiming the top spot of the League One table. This has earned them the slightest of advantages when it comes to the bookmakers. Ladbrokes are offering QPR match odds of 19/10, compared to odds of 7/5 on a home side victory. There may not be too much in it but an edge is still an edge and that psychological advantage can make all the difference in the world of football.
There are actually very few contests between Portsmouth and QPR and even fewer in recent times, especially for two teams that first met way back in 1921. You can even make an argument that the more modern meetings are still so long ago that they don’t bare too much relevance to a contest in 2019.
You have to go all the way back to 2011 for the last meeting of these two in the Championship, with QPR besting Portsmouth 2-0. And considering they have a slight overall statistical edge, we suppose that gives QPR the advantage when it comes to previous matches. However, we doubt it will have much of an impact here.
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Players to watch: Ronan Curtis & Nahki Wells
Portsmouth: Ronan Curtis
On one hand, this is a big chance for someone new to strike out on their own and show their worth in the face of a Championship side. And while that may very well be true, we think in a game this important, we’re going to stick with an established talent. With the stakes this high, Portsmouth may be wise to not take too many unnecessary risks. Curtis is the exact kind of reliable hand and explosive goalscorer Portsmouth will need to overwhelm Queens Park Rangers.
Queens Park Rangers: Nahki Wells
The highest scorer for QPR is yet to net a single goal thus far in the FA Cup. We therefore have no doubt that forward Nahki Wells will be absolutely itching to pull the trigger and hit the back of the net in this vital contest. Not only that, but Wells has an ability to pull the team together – as we saw by their improvements since he joined the squad. That is exactly what they will need to pull off the win here.