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Something about ladies and taxis - Knee Jerks
Wednesday, 22nd Feb 2017 12:40 by Antti Heinola

Antti Heinola returns with his six talking points from QPR's home victory against Wigan on Tuesday night.


Subs

The injury to Grant Hall really disrupted our rhythm, I thought. Up until that point, I felt we'd been dominant, with Manning and Freeman feeling the freedom to get forward and really penetrate the Wigan defence, safe in the knowledge that Hall, who seems to grow more and more into his role there, was sweeping up behind them.

I've read Ollie's old autobiography recently, and he talks a lot about converting players into new roles, and how Gerry Francis was a master at it. Case in point, of course, turning Clive Wilson from a decent midfielder into a first class left back, who, it has to be said, was all round a better player that Stuart Pearce. Ollie's tried the same with mixed results, but despite my early misgivings, using Hall in that position, shuttling between being an anchor and a sweeper, is working pretty well. Hall is fast becoming a really accomplished player.

When he came off, the obvious thing would have been to put Perch on, or maybe Luongo as a more deep lying midfielder. Instead, showing the attacking instincts he honed at Blackpool, he decided Wigan were there for the taking and bravely switched to 4-4-2 with Lua Lua coming on. Lua Lua actually had probably his best game for us - diligent in tracking back as well as a delight to watch skating past defenders - but overall, it left our central midfield struggling. Freeman and Manning dropped deeper, seemed a bit unsure of what to do, and for the rest of the first half Wigan were in the ascendancy.

It did get better after half time as I'm sure words were said during the break, but I'm not sure why that was - maybe Lua Lua and Wszolek just tucked a little bit to help out their central midfielders, and Ollie was rewarded with Washington's winner.

Then from going attacking, Ollie decided to shore things up by going to 4-5-1 and pushing Wszolek infield with his second substitution. It worked in that any threat Wigan did carry, mainly through the effective Bogel, dwindled, but it did leave Smith and then Sylla a little isolated, even if Yeni and Lua Lua and Freeman did their best to support him. I felt slightly that that defensive change came a little early, but you can't argue with three points. Well, you can. But you get my point.

Washington

It took him months to get going at Peterborough, and it's taken him a year here. But look at him now. Four in his last six, effectively five after the goal at Blackburn, and he hit the post v Huddersfield. He could easily have had a goal in each of his last six games now. It was a lovely, calm, crisp strike for the goal, arrowing into the bottom corner. The kind of finish he would not have managed even a month ago. Amazing what confidence can do - and playing with a target man.

There were signs too of that partnership with Smith developing. Washington of course also set up the first goal, and they were on a much better wavelength already than from the Huddersfield game. Very encouraging. and when was the last time our front two scored a goal each in consecutive games?! Furs and Gallen?

He has a great attitude and work ethic too - hopefully he'll be an example of how perseverance and patience can pay off.

Furlong

I love having a Furlong in the team again. Feels great - and was lovely to hear Chris Day at half time remembering having a kickabout with him when he was still a kid (which wasn't long ago).

More importantly, I thought he was excellent last night. He is a really, really good defender. Stays on his feet, he's quick, he works hard, he's learning. The more technical, attacking side to his game will develop naturally but the fact that he deals so well with players who look so much stronger than him is a great sign.

When he fills out a bit I could see him moving into the centre and here's a prediction: Future Hoops Captain.

Lynch

I'm a big fan of Lynchy. But last night old Bogle had him on toast in the first half especially. Turning him this way and that and drawing a penalty from him. then after the break he wrestled him in the box and almost gave away another pen, and left him unmarked for Wigan's one good chance of the second half to go and help Onuoha when Onuoha (who had a very good game) didn't need it.

But he never hid and actually as the game wore on, he wore down Bogel until he was no longer a threat. Even the best defenders struggle sometimes, but he stuck at his task and in the end dealt with his threat well.

Smith

Really impressed with him. He seems to have a point to prove after being in the wilderness at Fulham. Clive’s said, I think, that Leeds fans were not impressed, but the ones I know rated him highly and you can see why. He's not quite fully fit yet, but he's a powerhouse and a dangerous weapon.

The problem with that, though, is that the team can rely on him too much. It's easy to 'hit the big man', or to lump it in the box without much thought, and if that happens too much you get one-dimensional. An example was our corners, where we loaded the six yard box, telegraphing the in-swinger and giving them very few problems. But that's a minor criticism and not one aimed at Smith. We have some good attacking weapons now: Lua Lua, Freeman, Manning, Wszolek, Washington, Yeni and Shodipo to come back. We must exploit them.

Smithies


What the fuck was that? Call yourself a keeper? I thought you saved penalties? Oh yeah, you made an amazing point blank save from a header from five yards out. Big deal. Have a long, hard look at yourself, mate.

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Myke added 13:30 - Feb 22
LOL @ Smithies - probably the easiest one he conceded alright - funny how we EXPECT him to save them. Was watching on SSN (in between City kickabout) and there was a delay in saying who the penalty was for and I was sure we'd be 2 up or Wigan would have missed. Was shocked that they had converted.
Some good points here, I love the way Olli goes for it regardless of whatever setback he encounters or even if we are 3-0 up like on Saturday. Hall is an important player, but like Smith, we must not become too dependent on him (not least because he picks up a fair few knocks) and need to be able to vary the tactics and personnel without too much disruption.
If we can kick on and amass 55 + points by the end of the season and have a definite formation and game plan I'll be pretty optimistic for next year (again!)
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062259 added 14:25 - Feb 22
The other thing about next season is where you would look to improve the squad. For the first time in what seems a long time, it feels like there is good quality cover in most if not all positions. I'm not saying it's playoff quality right now, but I don't see a lot of movement in the summer. Sure, get rid of Caulker and maybe re-invest his salary in one or two players (including another centre half, perhaps?), but that's it for me....
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