Looking for chinks in the QP Armoury
Another year, another trailblazer. Cardiff City’s defeat against a wounded and angry Leicester City side has left Queen’s Park Rangers atop the pile. 3-0 wins over Middlesbrough and Ipswich send out a statement of intent and the chasing pack will already be nervous that one berth has already been reserved.
Capturing Adel Taarabt on a permanent deal was one of the canniest moves of the Summer, even if it remains surprising that other clubs failed to challenge Rangers for the Moroccan’s services. Last season, Neil Warnock injected impetus into a flailing club thanks to a few smeltings of his customary Sheffield steel – I saw them fall to Reading in bad tempered fashion in the Spring – a defeat that did little to mask an underlying upward trend.
Taarabt, probably the most skilled player in the division, has the sapphire to Shaun Derry’s steel. Derry may be in the twilight of his career but he’s an excellent midfield general. Jamie Mackie’s brace at Portman Road signal a new happiness in a man on returning to West London and a bench including Ákos Buzsáky, Mikele Leigertwood and Radek Černý is notable not only for arcane spellings. If the outfield XI suggests more roundheads than cavaliers, Warnock has the sideline armoury to change things.
So are there any chinks in this QP Armoury? The defence still looks prosaic, with that other diacriticker Kaspars Gorkšs a journeyman central defender at best, and nor should the Super Hoops rely on Leon Clarke or Heiðar Helguson for +20 goal campaigns; but other signings like Tommy Smith, Bradley Orr and Kyle Walker show the depth of talent along South Africa Road. Rangers have a tough match at the Walkers Stadium on Saurday – a win there and who would bet against them?