Fulham v QPR: six key battles

Fulham and QPR meet in a west London derby at Craven Cottage tonight. Here are six potential battles we think could be crucial in determining which team comes out on top.

Moussa Dembele v Nedum Onuoha
Fulham youngster Dembele is still raw but is quick and unpredictable. Blackburn couldn’t handle him in Fulham’s last home league match and in that kind of form he’ll test even the usually excellent QPR skipper.

Ross McCormack v Gabriele Angella
McCormack is an asset for Fulham, not just because of his goalscoring but also his work-rate, link-up play and clever movement. That asks constant questions of defenders in terms of their positioning and decision making, so Angella can expect a difficult night.

Matt Phillips v James Husband
Husband has impressed at left-back while on loan from Middlesbrough and is likely to have a key role for the Whites, who will need to contain Phillips. The wide-man’s right-wing deliveries for Charlie Austin are all-important for QPR – cut that supply line and they sometimes find the going tough.

Tom Cairney v Paul Konchesky
The Whites have a useful right-sided outlet of their own in Cairney, who is expected to shake off a knock in time to play this evening. He is set to face veteran full-back Konchesky, who made more than 120 appearances for Fulham during a three-year spell at Craven Cottage.

Charlie Austin v Richard Stearman
Stearman, recently signed from Wolves, is another recent arrival to have started well for Fulham. Now he faces a major test in the shape of R’s marksman Austin, who has scored seven goals already this season.

Jamie O’Hara v Alejandro Faurlin
This one has the makings of an absolutely crucial battle. Faurlin, hugely popular among QPR fans, looks the part when given time and space, and O’Hara, who has been excellent for Fulham this season, will want to make sure that does not happen and it’s the hosts who control things in midfield.