A QPR Report

Posted by on Mar 17, 2010 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Queen’s Park Rangers have a change of complexion now: gone are the fancy moisturisers and defoliants of the early part of the season. Neil Warnock has thrown the scrubs and cleansers out the window and resorted to good old soap and water. The Ardiles style Front Five are no more and Rangers now find themselves in the uncharacteristic position of being a team of toughs. Damion Stewart’s Thai kick boxing skills on a stooping Shane Long cost a typically aggressive Warnock side the points at Reading last night but it was an encouragingly tenacious showing from the Super Hoops.

Neither of QPR’s strikers played on the shoulder of the last defender. Jay Simpson was furthest forward, but Adel Taarabt, raiding from the left in September and October, was enjoying the most liberal of roles, and making a very impressive job of it too. My fellow blogger Lloyd cast doubt on the Moroccan’s end product in a recent heartfelt epistle and despite strong statistical evidence against this in recent matches, the man I spotted reading OK! magazine in St. Pancras station on Friday was left empty handed on this occasion, despite some terrifically tricksy tricks.

Neil Warnock’s withdrawal of the Spurs loanee for the lanky and defensively minded Peter Ramage backfired spectacularly with a quarter of an hour left on the clock including injury time. No sooner was the swap completed than Gylfi Sigurðsson put Reading ahead from twelve yards. Simpson, now isolated from his main provider, scarcely got a kick after that as Rangers tumbled to defeat. Nor were attacking reinforcements forthcoming from elsewhere in midfield. The decision to deploy Tamás Priskin in a wide right role may be a response to his dire scoring record of this season (17 matches and just the one goal for Ipswich) but he looked a carp out of the Lake Balaton waters. Hogan Ephraim, who sounds like an Appalachian hillbilly, battled well on the left in a Rangers display full of closing down and sharp tackles, but was never going to add much offensively and Warnock regular Mikele Leigertwood had by now been withdrawn to right back following Stewart’s harsh dismissal. The midfield was anchored by the calm passing of Alejandro Faurlin, but his tidy screening of a well honed Rangers defence was an operation too distant from the final third.

The reorganization brought about by Stewart’s departure was achieved seamlessly by the wily ex-Blades and Palace boss. I was especially impressed by Matthew Connolly – his denial of space of Jimmy Kébé at right back was matched by an imperious display on transferring to the centre. The aerial bombardment as the ten men tired became more intense and Connolly and Kaspars Gorkšs headed away countless high lofts. The Wolves duo of Matt Hill and Carl Ikeme both emerge from the proceedings with credit and the latter is doing splendidly to keep Radek Černý out of the picture. Rangers lie menacingly in wait for unsuspecting promotion candidates.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham (pen name: Lanterne Rouge) is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 47 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Football Attic, The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

5 Comments

  1. scarf
    March 18, 2010

    Carl Ikeme *shudders*. The player I most remember for punching a cross into his own net during a particularly horrible 0-6 defeat away to Carlisle a few years ago…

    Adel Taarabt looks a player though, certainly. It'll be interesting to see whether he gets many/any opportunities at Spuz if Keane or Pavlyuchenko (or both) leave White Hart Lane in the summer.

    Reply
  2. Matt R
    March 19, 2010

    Have to confess to being a little surprised at quite how bad a season Priskin has had. He certainly had his weaknesses at Watford… an inability to comprehend the offside rule, a reluctance to hold off a challenge. But his finishing was pretty sublime and the rest of his game was catching up. £1.7m was still a fine price… but I didn't expect him to bomb out completely. Any thoughts, scarf?

    Reply
  3. Matt
    March 19, 2010 Reply
  4. Lloyd
    March 21, 2010

    Not sure what Scarf thinks, but a QPR fan describes Priskin as the worst player ever to have pulled on the Hoops in today's Observer. In the same spiel he describes Swansea, somewhat petulantly, as 'boring', though, so I don't know how trustworthy his view is!

    Reply
  5. Lanterne Rouge
    March 24, 2010

    I think one major factor with Priskin is that QPR seemed to be playing him in a wide right role, whereas I have always regarded him as a forward – I am pretty sure that Watford bought him in their last Premier League season as a striker although Matt would be able to confirm. He certainly looked lost on the wing last week.

    Reply

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