QPR v Aston Villa

Kodija rifles home; credits Teamtalk.com

Jonathan Kodija repaid some of the £15m fee Aston Villa paid Bristol City, with his eight goal of the season at QPR to hand Villa only their second away win of the season, against lowly QPR.

Villa’s top scorer had earlier had a penalty saved by Alex Smithies, but he redeemed himself with 17 minutes to go with a powerful shot that squirmed under the QPR goalkeeper.

Steve Bruce made six changes to the side that lost to Norwich 1-0 and he started and finished with an attacking 442 formation that sought to bring the best out of his expensively assembled front line pairing of Kodija and Ross McCormack.

It worked as his side delivered 18 shots on goal, double QPR’s total.

With a defence that was rarely penetrated in behind, Villa were able to defend aggressively in front and left back Jordan Amavi was particularly impressive.

Amavi was rarely beaten and there can be no wonder the likes of Liverpool and Everton are said to be interested in his services.

The France U21 international has just returned after a lengthy spell on the sidelines after rupturing his knee ligaments playing for France U21, though the £10m signing from Ligue 1 Nice looks back to his best, which will have pleased manager Bruce.

With Idrissa Gueye recently prised away from Goodison Park by Ronald Koeman, Bruce will be keen to retain the services of the 22-year-old as he looks to force Villa into the top 6.

Hoop dreams fading

Ian Holloway will be concerned with Hoops form; credits westlondonsport.com

Ian Holloway will be desperately disappointed with the form of his charges with his side just three points above the relegation zone.

After winning his first game back at the helm, QPR have slumped to five consecutive defeats, scoring only once in the process against Wolves in a 1-2 loss.

With the starting line up featuring only one striker Holloway must have felt playing 4-2-3-1 was still the best way to get a result against the more attack minded Aston Villa, who adopted a 4-4-2, with two recognised strikers in Ross McCormack and Kodija.

With Conor Washington as a lone striker supported by Tjaronn Chery in the number 10 role, QPR sought to score by finding the latter in pockets in the hope he would supply Washington.

For all Chery’s endeavour, QPR lacked penetration with nobody prepared to take someone on in a 1 v 1 or receive in behind.

Too often, QPR players supported behind the ball, happy to receive and pass backwards rather than play on the last man and penetrate in behind.

When QPR did attack, the back four were often too deep, stretching the units which prevented a more compact, higher tempo game from the home side and it was little wonder QPR only had nine shots at goal, none on target.

It was no surprise to see Washington replaced at half time, although you felt playing as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 was not the way to get the best out of him.

With Sebastian Polter left on the bench, this seemed like an opportunity missed for Holloway to play 4-4-2, particularly as they were at home, and the search for the right formula continues.

The Christmas period is a tough one for QPR as they travel to Brighton on the 27th, kick off 12.00 GMT, whilst Aston Villa host Burton Albion on Boxing Day 15.00 kick off GMT.

QPR: (4-2-3-1) Smithies; Bidwell, Hall, Onuoha, Perch, Lynch, Luongo, Wszolek (sub Shodipo, 62) Chery (sub Mackie, 78) Washington, Ngbakoto.

Subs (not used): Ingram, Borysiuk, Polter, Sandro, Sylla,

Villa: (4-4-2) Bunn; Hutton, Baker, Chester, Amavi, Jedinak, Gardner, Bacuna, Adomah, McCormack (sub Agbonlahor, 70) Kodjia (sub Gestede, 89)

Subs (not used): Gollini, Elphick, Westwood, Grealish, Ayew.

Referee; Geoff Eltringham

Attendance; 16,285