An ideal start to the new Championship campaign – in which they navigated their first six games unbeaten – saw QPR pick up where they left off last term, but Warburton’s side now head into their EFL Cup third-round clash on the back of successive defeats in the second tier.
After being sunk 2-1 by table-toppers Bournemouth in midweek, Warburton’s outfit suffered a rather disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Bristol City, with Chris Martin and Sam McCallum’s strikes seemingly setting up a 1-1 stalemate before Nakhi Wells won it for the Robins in the dying embers.
While going down in that fashion was a bitter pill for QPR to swallow, Warburton’s side can take solace in the fact that they scored at least two goals for the eighth game in a row across all competitions, with their tally of 16 Championship strikes this season second only to Fulham.
The second-tier hosts had to rely on a penalty shootout against Leyton Orient to confirm their place in round two of the EFL Cup, where they would enjoy a far more comprehensive 2-0 success over Oxford United to advance to the third round and set up a tasty encounter with Everton.
However, the Rs have not advanced past the third round of the EFL Cup since the 2008-09 campaign, where they were knocked out by Manchester United in the last-16, and a weekend trip to West Bromwich Albion in the league will certainly be taken into account as well.
The Rafael Benitez revolution at Everton was dealt quite the blow at Villa Park on Saturday evening, as a Toffees side bedevilled by injuries to key players succumbed to a 3-0 defeat against Dean Smith’s inspired outfit in the Premier League.
With Jordan Pickford, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all unavailable, Everton navigated the first 45 minutes with the scoreline at 0-0, but a second-half flurry of strikes from Matty Cash, Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne’s own goal brought the Toffees crashing back down to earth.
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Benitez’s side had previously taken 10 points from their first four fixtures of the new season – and like QPR, netting at least two goals in every game – but the visit of Norwich City to Goodison Park next weekend represents a prime opportunity to get back on track.
Despite going down to 10 men on the hour mark after Moise Kean’s sending off, Everton managed to prevail 2-1 against Huddersfield Town in the second round of the EFL Cup last month, but they have been knocked out in the third round in six of the last 11 editions of the tournament.
QPR and Everton have not locked horns since the Toffees claimed a 2-1 win away from home in the 2014-15 season, their fourth victory on the bounce against their upcoming opponents, who have not prevailed against the Toffees on home turf since 1996.