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Mix ‘n’ Match: Creative midfield to aid Remy in QPR/Sunderland XI

| 08.03.2013

QPR welcome Sunderland to Loftus Road, with the hosts 5/4 to win a match that could have massive Premier League relegation implications.

And in preparation for the fixture, we have put together what we believe to be the strongest starting line-up, were players from either club allowed to be selected in one side.

11/5 shots Sunderland shade the number of total players, with six Black Cats players making the 11.

But it is an Rs player who we select as the last line of defence, opting for Brazilian international Julio Cesar to keep goal.

The former Inter stopper has been in inspired form this term, with his haul of five clean sheets no mean feat in a side rock-bottom of the Premier League.

His 84 saves across 20 league appearances have earned what could prove crucial points for the Hoops, and the 33-year-old is an easy pick to don the gloves.

Then, in a compact back four, ex-Sunderland loanee and current QPR defender Nedum Onuoha is chosen at right-back.

Fast and strong, the former Man City man is ideal in a full-back position to supplement central defenders not blessed with pace.

Those come in the form of Chris Samba and Wes Brown, with the former’s sheer physicality arguably his biggest asset.

The pair would prove a huge threat from set-pieces, and the fact that Manchester United fans still sing Brown’s name shows what an underrated top-flight performer he actually is.

Another former United defender occupies the left-back spot meanwhile, with the consistent John O’Shea given the nod over the erratic Armand Traore.

Solid and reliable, O’Shea would also bring a penchant for the odd wonder-goal to the team.

As added protection to that backline, Mackems captain Lee Cattermole assumes the role of midfield enforcer, operating just in front of the defence.

The tough-tackler’s inclusion would give Adel Taarabt the license to roam higher up the field, and in turn give the Moroccan free rein to influence the game in between the midfield and attack.

Taarabt is not the only flair player within the line-up however, with orthodox winger Adam Johnson picked to provide left-flank width.

The tricky wide-man is comfortable on either foot, and having scored or assisted just short of a third of all Sunderland’s league goals this season, his worth to this side is obvious.

On the right-hand side, less natural width is brought by Sebastian Larsson’s inclusion, but the Swede’s capabilities with a dead ball more than justify his selection.

Larsson’s crossing too is unerringly accurate, which can benefit a strike pairing that have looked lethal in front of goal for the most part of this season.

Loic Remy’s stint in England’s top flight has been brief, but has seen the Frenchman rack up a one-in-two average goal ratio so far.

Remy has looked ice cool in front of goal, a trait shared by strike partner Steven Fletcher, who has 10 league goals this term.

Fletcher has immeasurably improved his heading ability over the past year, and he can bring a physical presence to a very technically gifted frontline.

With only the odd player causing disparity in the number of selections from either side, punters may believe the 9/4 draw is the best call when the sides meet.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee