A couple of lower table teams from a year ago will start the 2019-2020 Football Championship season as Queens Park Rangers take on Stoke City at bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. In many ways, Stoke City is in a similar position as Blackburn Rovers who were covered in a previous soccer betting writeup. They might be going about it in different fashion, but both teams were well clear of relegation last year and want to improve upon things this season.
The primary difference between Stoke City and Rovers is that Stoke was relegated from the Premiership in 2017-2018 while Rovers were promoted from League One last year. Stoke didn’t play badly last season but they did settle for draws in a whopping 22 of 46 fixtures. At bet365 Stadium, they were 8-9-6 while they were 3-13-7 away. Taking points in 16 of 23 away is nothing to be ashamed of but it’s evident that their key to improvement is turning some of those draws into victories. Another issue likely contributed to the flurry of draws–Stoke City was near the bottom of the table in goals scored. All told, the season ended poorly for Stoke was they won only 1 of their last 11 league games and have won only 1 of their last 7 at home (though 6 did end in draws).
There is a good deal of optimism at Loftus Road despite Queen Park Rangers’ 19th place finish a year ago. Much of that has to do with the enigmatic Mark Warburton taking over as manager earlier this Summer. He’s come in brimming with enthusiasm but the reality might temper that. QPR is almost as well known for their off field financial issues as they are for their on-field play. It’s a crazy story, involving a number of Formula 1 luminaries including Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore. At this point, the ownership has settled down somewhat and Amit Bhatia now serves as chairman. They haven’t had much activity on the transfer market and their efforts to sign Alan Judge from Ipswich Town went nowhere after three separate bids were rejected.
A midseason managerial change for Stoke City to Nathan Jones is still awaiting a verdict. The team did add some playmaking and offensive weapons with the addition of midfielder Nick Powell and forward Lee Gregory. While QPR might be hard pressed to improve much on last year’s results if Stoke City can score a few more goals they could be one of the biggest turnarounds on the Football Championship table this season.