Rob Green is QPR's key to Premier League survival, not Charlie Austin

One man is proving more vital to the R's fortunes than anyone else right now.

A lot of praise has been showered upon Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin recently. And rightly so.

Austin is the fourth-highest scorer so far this Premier League season (joint with Saido Berahino), which also makes him the joint-best English goalscorer in the top flight.

When are you battling relegation, however, a striker's role can be a little misleading.

Yes, the 25-year-old's goals may keep QPR up. In fact, one individual goal itself from the R's forward might be what does it.

But, by that measure, how could one even begin to quantify the importance of Rob Green's saves?

As Opta stats show, no Premier League goalkeeper has made more than Green this season - and that's despite the shot stopper missing the R's' 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.

  TeamSavesPunchesCrosses CaughtAccurate Keeper SweepersAppearancesMinutes Played
Robert Green QPR 53 10 19 11 13 1,170
Adrián West Ham 45 8 11 11 14 1,260
Brad Guzan Aston Villa 45 8 27 8 14 1,260
Tom Heaton Burnley 45 6 16 5 14 1,260
Lukasz Fabianski Swansea 44 10 40 5 14 1,260

That's not quite to say the 34-year-old is the best goalkeeper in the division - a dispute a lot harder to settle, with many leaning towards either Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois or Manchester United's David de Gea.

What it does tell you, though, is that Green is by far the most important goalkeeper in the top flight at the moment. He is facing the most shots and making the most saves - simple.

And, when it comes to QPR's survival, no one is more important to the club right now than their goalkeeper.

Fortunately for the west London side, the former England man looks to be in the form of his life. Harry Redknapp must be counting his lucky stars that he backed Green over Julio Cesar, as well as keeping him in the starting line-up despite competition from Alex McCarthy...

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