Aston Villa 1 QPR 3
QPR stormed to victory at Villa Park, where they produced a terrific performance against one of the Championship’s promotion contenders.
The recalled Ryan Manning put them ahead, Jake Bidwell doubled the lead, and Luke Freeman – left out in favour of Manning – sealed the win by scoring after coming on as a substitute.
Bidwell set up Rangers’ 12th-minute opener, collecting a nice pass from the excellent Ebere Eze and delivering a perfect cross from the left towards Manning, who drifted in front of John Terry to head home.
Bidwell netted on 33 minutes with his first league goal for the R’s.
Pawel Wszolek pulled the ball back from the right and, after Manning cleverly allowed it to run to Bidwell, the left-back blasted beyond keeper Sam Johnstone from near the edge of the penalty area.
And Freeman struck with seven minutes remaining, slotting past Johnstone after good work by Darnell Furlong on the right.
James Chester pulled a goal back for Villa five minutes later after being set up by Robert Snodgrass.
Rangers threatened before their early opener and Matt Smith’s shot brought a save from Johnstone, who also kept out Smith’s header from Manning’s free-kick.
Villa responded strongly to going behind and keeper Alex Smithies tipped over Albert Adomah’s cross-shot before Mile Jedinak headed the resulting corner wide of the target.
But the visitors continued to cause them problems and Johnstone denied Smith again, this time keeping out the striker’s header from Wszolek’s right-wing cross, shortly before Bidwell made it 2-0.
Rangers then had to withstand a period of sustained pressure and Smithies brilliantly saved Jack Grealish’s header in the final seconds of the first half.
QPR made three changes from Saturday’s win against Sunderland, with Manning, Joel Lynch and Wszolek replacing Robinson, Freeman and Paul Smyth.
As expected, Robinson was unable to shake off a knock he suffered during the Sunderland game, while Smyth, who has been nursing a slight toe injury, failed a fitness test.
Manning more than justified his inclusion, while Eze enhanced his growing reputation with a fabulous display.
The young forward was a constant threat to the Villa defence and set up a second-half chance for Wszolek, whose shot from a tight angle was stopped by Johnstone.
Eze also fired wide following one of several superb runs as Rangers constantly looked to hit their opponents on the counter-attack.
QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell, Wszolek (Perch 72), Scowen, Luongo, Manning (Cousins 74), Eze (Freeman 78), Smith.
Subs not used: Ingram, Baptiste, Osayi-Samuel, Washington.