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Gone in 60 seconds, United teach QPR harsh lessons — full match report
Gone in 60 seconds, United teach QPR harsh lessons — full match report
Monday, 19th Dec 2011 16:31 by Clive Whittingham

QPR succumbed to a 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United on Sunday with the champions blowing Neil Warnock’s pre-match plans out of the window with a goal inside the opening minute.

In a match billed as the battle of two champion teams the newly promoted Championship winners gave themselves an uphill task by conceding a goal to the country’s best side within the first minute.

But it was the events at the start of the second half that summed up QPR’s problems in this game, rather than the ‘rabbit-in-headlights’ beginning to the match. Trailing 1-0 with 45 minutes to go Rangers had created enough chances after falling behind to suggest all was not lost – a fast, high tempo, committed start to the second period could have brought big rewards for the London side.

Instead a full set of Man Utd players emerged together from the tunnel, with the match officials, looking bright and focussed and ready to finish the job. Rio Ferdinand completed a circuit of nearly every United player reminding them of their roles and responsibilities. QPR meanwhile sloped out sometime later in dribs and drabs. Four players at first, then another three, then nobody else for a while, then another and another until eventually, after a scandalous amount of time, there were ten on the field.

The eleventh, Danny Gabbidon, was nowhere to be seen and with United ready and time up referee Howard Webb recommenced play. Within 30 seconds Wayne Rooney had marauded into the area and worked a position in the space left vacant by Gabbidon, who was by now on the touchline asking to come on, that he really should have done better from. Luckily Cerny was equal to the task. Gabbidon was apparently having a leg wound stitched which is a perfectly good enough reason for his late arrival but QPR should have come out together, as a team, when he was ready to join them and not before as a disorganised rabble ill-prepared for the restart. It also might have been a idea to designate somebody to fill in for him temporarily while he was off.

It all rather summed up QPR – a bit ragged, a bit off the pace, a bit slow to react all afternoon against a team that rejoices in punishing those even slightly off their game. Sky Sports dictated a Sunday noon kick off for this game and QPR, at times, looked like the sort of lethargic, hung over cloggers you might find gracing park pitches up and down the country at this time of the week.

QPR know how to play these games as Manchester City and Chelsea will testify. They know about getting into opponents’ faces, not giving teams time to settle, using the ball intelligently when you have it, taking the chances when they arrive. Why the City and Chelsea performances weren’t replicated here who can tell. QPR lost this game because Manchester United are far better than them, but it would have helped had the basics such as ball retention and concentration been right and, perhaps, if they hadn’t looked so in awe of their opponents and actually roughed them up a bit. Nobody expects a newly promoted team to beat Manchester United, but they’d stand a better chance if they could pass the ball ten yards to a team mate successfully.

A similarly lacklustre performance in another difficult match at Liverpool last week saw changes made to the starting XI – one enforced, one through choice. Anton Ferdinand’s injury at Anfield meant he wasn’t fit to face his brother Rio and Matthew Connolly was given the nod to replace him alongside Gabbidon in the heart of the defence. Luke Young and Armand Traore were the full backs ahead of goalkeeper Radek Cerny whose man of the match display a week ago kept him in the side ahead of first choice Paddy Kenny who was fit enough to make the bench after his injury lay off.

In midfield Alejandro Faurlin and Joey Barton played in the centre with Jamie Mackie starting wide right and Shaun Wright-Phillips ostensibly on the left but again given a roaming role alongside Jay Bothroyd who supported lone striker Heidar Helguson in attack.

United are said to be decimated by injuries, but there was an audible intake of breath around Loftus Road prior to the ridiculously early kick off as the visiting team was read out. Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in attack, Antonio Valencia and Nani on the wings, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra in defence – if this is a side suffering from injuries one would hate to think what they’d have done to us at full strength. For those bemoaning QPR’s performance in this game it might be worth considering United’s bench: Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young, Ryan Giggs, Ji Sung Park, Anders Lindegaard and Ezekiel Fryers. In all seriousness, how are we going to compete with that?

Answer; we’re not. Within 50 seconds of the kick off we were behind. Cerny miscontrolled a back pass and hurried a clearance under pressure, United seized possession and sprung forward at pace, Valencia crossed and Wayne Rooney headed the ball into the ground and then watched as it bounced slowly into the bottom corner. It almost didn’t feel real, it took a moment to sink in.

It should have been two straight from the kick off. This time Armand Traore gave the ball away, Nani and Rooney broke at lightning speed and then Welbeck surged into the area only to be denied by a fine sliding block from Danny Gabbidon.

This was shaping up to be a long afternoon – it needed Shaun Wright Phillips to cut in from the left and fire over just to reassure the stunned home support that their team was actually in the game at all. That first attack seemed to encourage Rangers who won the game’s first corner after good work from Jay Bothroyd in the right channel and planted it straight onto Heidar Helguson’s head but he guided the ball over. They swiftly won another corner thereafter but found that United are often at their most dangerous when you think you have them on the back foot.

This time Joey Barton’s delivery wasn’t good, and was headed clear by the first defender at the near post. From there Rangers were in trouble, frantically scrambling back like the Keystone Cops while United swept forward like a graceful flock of birds. Only Nani picking the wrong option with his cut back from the byline stopped a second goal being scored. Two minutes later another graceful and speedy counter attack ended with Carrick marauding into the area and having the ball poked off his toe by Gabbidon.

QPR looked like a team in awe of its opposition, and more importantly a team that didn’t believe it had any chance of winning the game. There was none of the high tempo pressing game that had worked so well against Chelsea and Man City, none of the disrespect of reputations that so ruffled United’s two main title rivals. There was no atmosphere around the ground, no fight and belief on the pitch.

After 17 minutes Matthew Connolly took these issues into his own hands. Wayne Rooney collected the ball on the edge of the area and for the first time in the game a QPR player decided not to let the United man settle, turn and pick his next move. This time Connolly flew out of the line and executed a robust lunging tackle that left the England striker in a crumpled heap on the floor. Referee Howard Webb waved play on and suddenly the crowd and match came alive. United were furious, Alex Ferguson gesticulated wildly on the touchline as Rangers accelerated past him down the right flank with Jamie Mackie in possession. The former Plymouth man sent in a low cross that Bothroyd smacked a yard over the bar when he should have done better.

But God that felt good. Rooney was red of face and mood, Ferdinand was yellow carded for over vehement protests to Webb about the tackle, Ferguson moaned long and hard to the fourth official. We’d stumbled across a way to get something from the game. Sadly, once play restarted, the meek, mild and timid QPR team reappeared. It was nice while it lasted.

Thereafter normal service resumed. Faurlin gave the ball away in midfield allowing Welbeck to be released for a second goal that was well finished but ruled out for offside. Phil Jones hammered wide from the edge of the area and Danny Gabbidon was yellow carded for chopping down Antonio Valencia in another pacey counter attack. Jonny Evans contrived to head against the cross bar from four yards out with the goal open after Radek Cerny had flapped at a corner from Nani, then the Czech redeemed himself with a fine one on one save from Jones as he steamed forward from a deep lying position.

I’d thought initially that a central midfield of Barton and Faurlin versus Carrick and Jones could be an area that QPR could win the game from – ultimately it turned out to be one of the main reasons we lost. The physical size of the United pair compared to their opponents was stark and they absolutely dominated them in every possible way. Jones was used more often than not as a centre half at his previous club Blackburn, and his stature and drunken horse running style can fool you into thinking he’s some cumbersome defender being pressed into action out of position. But he’s a frightening talent for 19 and was one of the best players on the park here. It looks like Ferguson may have done it again.

Ten minutes of absolute, total and utter United domination concluded with an astonishing moment of play that began with Nani tricking his way past Young down the United left and cutting the ball back into the area for Rooney who’d found space and lost his marker. A goal always looked likely from this point but Connolly managed to get Rooney’s side footed effort off the line and then Cerny produced a save the likes of which I cannot recall seeing before to deny Welbeck who must have thought he’d scored with a firm shot from point blank range. From the resulting corner Evans’ header was cleared from the goal line by Faurlin and as the ball then dropped down in the six yard box Rooney poked wide from close range.

Had the scoreline been 4-0 at this stage nobody could have complained, and yet after surviving that siege Rangers promptly went to the other end of the field and could easily have equalised twice in a minute. First Helguson trundled into the area and forced David de Gea into a nervous save with his feet – the rebound fell to Bothroyd who got his volley from the edge of the area all wrong and blasted into the upper tier of the School End. Perhaps that was him finding his rage though because when Armand Traore than crossed nicely from the left the ball again fell to Bothroyd on the edge of the area and this time he caught his shot much more sweetly and guided it a foot or so wide of the bottom corner.

By the time he was substituted in the second half Bothroyd was coming under heavy fire from the QPR supporters, but once again I thought this was largely unwarranted. His languid style and lack of bravery make him an easy target but he posed as much threat as anybody in the first half and when he sent a devilish low cross through the six yard box a minute before the break Jamie Mackie was a foot or so away from toeing it into the net with an outstretched white boot.

Mackie had a decent first half himself, getting the better of Evra on two or three occasions and never letting the French international settle. Sadly his final ball was almost Damien Delaney like in its quality which rather undermined the good work that had gone before and he vanished from the game after half time.

After the farcical beginning to the second half the teams exchanged probing attacks. First Wright-Phillips won a soft free kick from Jones wide on the left but the delivery from Barton came to nothing. Then at the other end Danny Welbeck appeared to be fouled as he accelerated around Danny Gabbidon and into the area but Webb waved the appeals away and awarded a goal kick – just as well given that Gabbidon was booked in the first half. That was a rare controversial moment for Webb in what was the best display of refereeing we’ve seen this season.

In the five minutes around the hour mark Man Utd doubled their lead, and then gave QPR a lesson in cynically protecting your own goal. First Joey Barton passed the ball straight to Michael Carrick who was then allowed to run unchecked to the edge of the area and dispatch a low shot past Radek Cerny and into the net. Then, when Phil Jones repeated Barton’s trick and handed possession to Heidar Helguson, he immediately chased back and deliberately fouled the Icelandic striker. A yellow card he was glad to take, something QPR should be doing a lot more of. First Shane Long and now Michael Carrick have scored goals at the School End after QPR passed up opportunities for tactical fouls earlier in the moves.

In between those two incidents Shaun Wright-Phillips carried the ball to the edge of the area but refused the opportunity to shoot and instead teed up Jamie Mackie who shot straight at De Gea.

Both teams gave the ball away cheaply in this match, but Man Utd’s response to both receiving broken possession and then giving it up themselves was a world away from QPR. They almost made it three when Armand Traore, dallying on the ball while desperate for a passing option to appear, conceded possession setting up another quick counter attack that finished with Welbeck trying to curl a shot over and around Cerny but finding the Czech keeper equal to it with a spectacular camera save. That was to be Welbeck’s final input into the game, replaced by Javier Hernandez for the final 25 minutes as he continues his comeback from injury.

Neil Warnock made changes of his own, taking off Heidar Helguson for DJ Campbell and Shaun Wright-Phillips for Adel Taarabt. The Helguson decision in particular angered the home crowd and for the first time in Warnock’s career at QPR his decision was booed by the supporters who wanted to see Bothroyd removed instead. That Helguson is carrying a thigh strain into a busy Christmas period of winnable games that we need him fit for seemed to be lost on the back row managers among the QPR support.

Still United came, with Rooney missing at the far post after a short corner routine had resulted in the ball flying his way and then Rio Ferdinand hitting the inside of the other upright with a header from another corner although he had been flagged offside and the goal wouldn’t have counted. Jones hit the inside of the same post after another lung busting run and fine low shot past Cerny, and Nani tested the QPR keeper after skipping into the area but again the Portuguese could be accused of picking the wrong option at the death.

The game was in a familiar pattern once again – QPR lose possession, Man Utd create gilt edged chance. When Faurlin, having his worst game of the season, gave the ball away again on halfway Jones moved into the area and Gabbidon executed a fine block tackle. How strange that all the hope before the game rested on the centre of our midfield and all the fear surrounded the centre of our defence but on the day Gabbidon and Connolly were QPR’s two best outfield players and Faurlin and Barton two of the worst.

With a quarter of an hour to go QPR finally did put a bit of something together, and should have halved the deficit. Faurlin looked much more like his old self as he threaded a delightful reverse pass into the path of Taarabt in the area and the Moroccan then produced a trademark ball in behind the last defender with the outside of his boot. From five yards out it seemed easier for DJ Campbell to score but he fluffed his lines and sent the ball bouncing up onto the roof of the net.

The game rather petered out from there. The home crowd got their wish when Bothroyd, apparently injured, went off to be replaced by Hill so Traore could move forward down the left – ironic cheers and jeers for Bothroyd as he left the field presumably intended to ensure that his confidence is completely shattered for the next match. Another nod to the difference between the two sides came when Ferguson sent on England winger Ashley Young for Nani for the final few moments.

The last time these teams met on this ground 15 years ago United scored an equaliser so late it still raises the heckles of QPR fans who were there to this day. There could have been late drama here as well as QPR created two good chances in the dying embers of the game. First a long free kick from Connolly fell to DJ Campbell in the six yard box but sadly he had his back to goal and despite valiant efforts couldn’t about turn enough to get a shot away.

Then when Mackie got round Evra again down the right the Frenchman pulled him back and was fortunate not to give a penalty away. QPR packed the area for the free kick but Joey Barton’s hapless afternoon continued as he played a pass straight to a United player on the edge of the area, presumably looking for Faurlin, and inadvertently set up a counter attack that ended with Young shooting straight at Cerny.

It was another tiny incident from across the 90 minutes that summed up QPR’s problem on the day – they just couldn’t get the basics right. There is no Barcelona/Man City/Arsenal type patience and build up with United – if you give them the ball anywhere on the pitch you can expect to be facing a shot of some sort within 20 seconds. The speed and power with which they attack in broken play is astounding and far too much for a team like QPR to live with. The solution is to not concede possession in bad areas but QPR did that time and time and time again on Sunday – conceding two goals having held possession of the ball less than 15 seconds prior to the ball hitting the net and getting away with countless other similar incidents besides. Without the ball I didn’t think certain players worked hard enough, wanted it enough, or believed enough. There was a definite feeling that some were simply going through the motions in the full knowledge that we weren’t going to win the game.

But it’s hard to be too critical or downhearted. Look at the United team. Look at the United bench. We didn’t help ourselves but we played excellently against Manchester City and lost and had we done so again here we’d probably still have taken nothing from the game.

At the start of the season we looked at the fixtures for November and December – Chelsea, Stoke, Spurs, Man City, Norwich away where we never win, Liverpool and Man Utd all back to back and thought it looked somewhere between tough and impossible. That’s what it has proved to be. We haven’t disgraced ourselves in any of those matches, and have actually taken six points from them which is more than I’m sure many of us expected.

We’ve reached the end of that testing sequence now and have more winnable games with Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea over Christmas. There will then be January strengthening and a fixture list through January, February and March that reads: Wigan home, Villa away, Wolves home, Blackburn away, Fulham home, Everton home and Bolton away. It will be there, first in the transfer window and then across those seven fixtures, that our fate will be decided this season – not in a home game against the reigning champions in December, and not on Wednesday night against Sunderland contrary to the message board doom mongers who are already labelling that one a “must win game”.

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QPR: Cerny 8, Young 6, Gabbidon 7, Connolly 7, Traore 6, Mackie 6, Barton 5, Faurlin 5, Wright-Phillips 5 (Taarabt 65, 6), Bothroyd 6 (Hill 75, 6), Helguson 6 (Campbell 65, 6)

Subs Not Used: Kenny, Orr, Derry, Smith

Booked: Gabbidon (foul)

Man Utd: De Gea 6, Smalling 7, Evans 7, Ferdinand 7, Evra 6, Valencia 7, Jones 8, Carrick 8, Nani 7(Young 88, -), Rooney 8 (Giggs 78, 6), Welbeck 7 (Hernandez 63, 6)

Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Berbatov, Park, Fryers

Booked: Ferdinand (dissent), Jones (foul)

Goals: Rooney 1 (assisted Valencia), Carrick 56 (unassisted)

QPR Star Man – Radek Cerny 8 To be honest I was leaning towards giving this to either Connolly or Gabbidon who I thought were both excellent against two high quality forwards with next to no protection from the midfielders in front of them – who seemed keen to set United up more than their own attack half the time. Connolly in particular did exceptionally well against England’s best striker after being out for so long and it was very reassuring to see him back to his best after a difficult 2011 for him personally. But for the amount and quality of saves made, particularly the miracle stop from Welbeck in the first half, and despite a few flappy moments under crosses and nervous times with various pass backs, I’m going for Cerny for the second week running.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire) 9 The best refereeing performance of the season so far. Webb was really on his game here, never more than ten yards from any decision to make and expertly using the advantage rule to keep the game flowing. I can think of a couple of soft free kicks and the Welbeck incident that had question marks over them but really, across 90 minutes, he was almost faultless. That said, QPR’s lack of physical presence in the game certainly made it an easy afternoon.

Attendance: 18,033 (3,100 Man Utd approx) The atmosphere wasn’t helped by the early kick off and United goal in the first minute. The ground seemed to be coming alive and building up to something after half time but Carrick’s goal soon burst that particularly bubble and for the final half an hour it seemed as if people were, like me, sitting quietly and wishing the time away. The grief handed out to Bothroyd and the booing of Neil Warnock’s substitution I just cannot for the life of me understand. What is this achieving? It’s making it harder for our team when we’re supposed to be helping them. Mindless.

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GetMeRangers added 16:58 - Dec 19
I am not sure that the atomsphere was also dampened by the ability of ManUre to string every pass (it seemed) together and at some pace. The early goal did not help. One moment of humour was the concern shown, by those around him, for my 8 year olds voice... screaming rahter than singing is not quite the way to go

This was perhaps the best refereeing I have seen in a very long time... and really pleased that Cerny is showing some of the great keeping that won him Golden Gloves a few seasons back, especially as he likes to distribute the ball as much by arm as by foot.

themodfather added 17:23 - Dec 19
to lose an early goal literally knocked the stuffing out of us...instead of pressing them we were chasing shadows...some woeful qpr passing cost us dear....
still they are one of the world's top teams and 2-0 is probably good , cos it could've been 7 or more!
winning home games soon will help ease the nerves.

Neil_SI added 17:24 - Dec 19
As a friend of mine once said about a talented player to me who I'd never seen before "different gravy" and that's what United's performance was. The way they passed and moved the ball with such incisive precision was incredible really and such an eye-opening lesson for us.

Howard Webb was also excellent, and easily the best refereeing performance at Loftus Road for a long time.

thehat added 17:55 - Dec 19

Top report Clive - Just how I saw it too. I also watched Man Utd come out for the second half together and as a team.

We looked like a team of individuals again.

NorthfieldsR added 17:58 - Dec 19
Now looks like the 8 days pre transfer deadline was not enough time for NW and TF to rectify the abysmal situation left by the permatanned tosser. We're starting to limp towards January and the need to buy genuine Prem players. God knows where we will be in the table when the door opens.

The home support was poor. Perhaps playing at 12 noon and not being tanked up prior played a part. Certainly no supportive atmosphere and no animosity a la Chelsea to put off the mollycoddled celebrities.For God's sake it's less than two years since Paul Hart played keep ball with four full backs to hold on for a miserable win. People have such short memories.

All players to my mind put their best effort in but were simply outclassed. Shrek played a blinder bar one or two stray passes much as I'm loathe to say it.

J Barton was the exception. He was abysmal. He should stop listening to the w--ky band he likes and listen to something more motivating! What was unforgiveable was the lack of ball received by AT who was looking sharp. Barton as captain might not like AT, but he should at least make sure he gets the ball when he's on song. he looked the only route to any possible comeback.

In Warnock we should still trust...and without the cameras on Wednesday night perhaps AT might finally step up to the Premiership plate . He has nothing to fear of the professional example set him by Barton in this game.

R_in_Sweden added 18:37 - Dec 19
Spot on report.

Expectations are unreasonably high amongst some of our support at the moment. For me Barton has been a disappointment, there is no justification in Barton's bleatings about how he should be in the England squad. Blaming The Smiths for his performances is well wide of the mark though. Agree about the crucial run of fixtures in the new year. I'd like to see Taarabt start against Sunderland.

dixiedean added 18:43 - Dec 19
I think we are unanimous on 1 point,which is Barton was our worst player by a distance.Yes, everyone's entitled to a bad game,even those earning 80 G a week, but he owes us a big performance on Weds against the deadliest rivals of his beloved Geordies( yawn). Maybe that will spur him on.I think marks of 5 for him & Faurlin are generous, 3 & 4 respectively is the most I'd give. Apart from the odd game I don't think Barton has performed very often- certainly not well enough to justify all the hype about him.Trouble is he knows he's almost 'undroppable' with the current squad. NW has had a bit of stick for not being tactically aware,but in fairness I'm not sure how else he could have set us up- or who else he could have picked. I've a sneaky feeling we'll see more of Adel v Mackems. It was good to see him looking hungry when he came on and played our best pass of the match to set up DJ. He's bound to get clobbered by Cattermole ,assuming he's not already suspended, so could be a few cards flying.Don't expect much quality though- a drab 0-0 beckons. Last time I predicted that was Stoke away (!)

hoops123 added 18:46 - Dec 19
Lacked passion or belief and made it too easy for them. The gulf in class was evident however. One ray of light for me was Tarrabt - looked sharp and up for it and produced the one piece of class from which DJ should have scored. Needs to replace Mackie for me. Love Mackie's work rate but he lacks genuine quality when it's needed the most. Need to strengthen, but confident we have enough to stay up - just!

karlski added 19:03 - Dec 19
'Faurlin looked much more like his old self as he threaded a delightful reverse pass into the path of Taarabt in the area and the Moroccan then produced a trademark ball in behind the last defender with the outside of his boot.'

No doubt that Faurlin had a poor game by his standards, but I think this comment reveals a bit more about the team in general than just Faurlin: the ball he played was only on because Taarabt took up the position he did. One thing that we really do lack without Adel in the side is someone constantly moving about and trying to work space, looking for the ball - without him we have been very static when in possession not just against United but in other games as well. Obviously when he was unfit this advantage was lost because he was well off the pace, but he did look a lot sharper yesterday and I think could be very useful with all these games coming up, I would also like to see him start against Sunderland. Personally though I would start him instead of SWP: he has not delivered anything of note in recent games whereas Mackie gave Evra a good going over and while his final pass in this game was wayward, he has created chances in previous game whereas SWP has not. On the other hand, the SWP-Taarabt link up could potentially be useful, so it's tricky. SWP just looks a little frustrated and stale to me at the moment. As for Faurlin (and Barton) - I think the other factor here was the size and athleticism of Jones/Carrick. They made our two look positively slow, like they were doing everything in a vat of treacle. Agreed Faurlin should have taken Carrick down but I actually don't think he ever had the chance to, he couldn't get near him! What concerns me more is that he made the same mistake of over-committing to a challenge initially, making it very easy for Carrick to skip past him, just as Morrison did. He needs to learn how to shadow/jockey a player rather than just nip in for the challenge all the time.

Agree about the whole team coming out of the tunnel incident, noticeable against the United approach.

January/Feb is indeed a make or break period, but to me that certainly starts v Sunderland this Wed, a winnable game if we are at the races. Also don't underestimate the difficulty of finding suitable players to strengthen with in the January market - it's not guaranteed we'll end up with any added quality at all, although I hope we do!

Hate to say it, but watching Utd live (so different to on TV!) was instructive and, if I could forget that it was against us for a moment, a pleasure. Rooney's movement is unbelievable, always in space, rarely a wasted step, precise with his touches.

Terrific report as usual!

Monahoop added 19:36 - Dec 19
"frantically scrambling back like Keystone Cops while United swept forward like a graceful flock of birds". Yep! That's the way I saw it for the best part of 90 minutes yesterday, Clive.
Faurlin and Barton were on another planet and that's where the crux of our problems lay throughout the game. With these two shilly shallying about Utd were able to move into easy win mode and if it hadn't been for Cerny's moments of genius I feel they would have done a Fulham on us, probably worse!
Cerny I feel should be our second choice keeper after putting in two decent shifts. Ok we lost both games, but for him and his quick reactions we would probably have the worst goal difference in the Prem.
The game was as good as over after a minute. That hit us hard and it soon transpired into a men against boys scenario something which we just could not turn around despite the best efforts of one or two.
Good report Clive. Well done.

RangerKIK added 19:37 - Dec 19
'What's wrong with a simple kiss, don't go stampeding towards the clitoris'. One of the great lines in movie history. (John Cleese in Monty Python's ''Meaning of Life'). Anyway that line pretty much sums up the way we are playing football at the moment. We are not spending enough time on the preliminary's and always seem to be thundering towards goal, as you said Clive, as if fearing a time violation. Clitoris/Girlfriend or Goal/Football team - doesn't matter but either way getting there too early nearly always leads to disappointment, annoyance, not to mention a whole bunch of resentment! We need to hold on to the ball, wait for the openings to appear and stop trying to force it before everythings nicely set up. (None of that was an intentional inuenndo I promise, ahem). Then we might have at least a chance of some success.

A patient build up and then expoloding in the final third (sorry, sorry, sorry I think I have turned into Alan Carr) is the 'beautiful game'. To be fair we were a bit better yesterday then we have been recently but we still look very pedestrian and predictable in the final third. Mackie did get round the back on a few occassions (sorry once again) but that was more due to Evra and Barton making a pact in the tunnel to play for each others teams rather than any brilliant speed and skill. However this noticeably changed when Adel came on. Quick feet and thinking, cutting the ball into unpredictable places and looking for a return.... This thinking led up to creating our best chance of the game.

On that subject was I the only one to get a big grin on my face when he came on? I know he's lazy, arrogant and repeatably hitting the self destruct button as if the batteries have run out but I still love him and hope he stays. A moment of genius every 3 games can still amount to more points at the end of the year for us than 3 grinding performances ala Joey. Are we really better off with Boothroyd playing or ........... Mr Barton? Joey gives us leadership granted but at the moment....that's it.

Man Utd are much better than us, we knew that going in and we were lucky to get away with just two, but it's still great to wake up Sun morning looking forward to us playing these sort of teams and I am sure we will get something out the next two games.

Loved the Keystone Cops reference Clive. When Barton hit that square pass to Carrick, leading to their second goal, how great would it have for the picture to have sudenly switched to a grainy, speeded up, black and white picture with a Piano playing the theme tune to the 'Benny Hill' show. Mind you it would have to have been speeded up x 10 to make Carrick and our back four look like they were running at NORMAL speed let alone looking like Charlie Chaplin running for a bus!

Anyway roll on Wednesday you Superhoopas!!!!!!!


YorkRanger added 21:49 - Dec 19
Wasn't at the game and watched on TV so forgive me if I've missed key aspects of the performance, but was Bothroyd so bad that he warranted the jeering and cheering that Clive refers to. How is that going to help us or him on Wednesday. We really do have some idiots as supporters.

RBLOCKPAT added 22:07 - Dec 19
When we play 442 it suits us as a team when we went to Liverpool we changed to 451 and it just didnt work we had every chance of getting something at Anfield the way the reds had been playing at home but it just didnt work because we were just banging the ball upfield and posed no real threat with our only efforts from distance being wild pot luck shots and it is starting to get too regular for us, against United again we had a good oppotunity too do well against a team on not the best form but we looked nervous and in awe from the start and when we had good chaces we just are devoid of composure and quality, Jamie Mackie God bless him gives 100% all the time and he just needs to learn that at this level when you get a chance there is no time to take that extra touch just hit it first time, last season Jamie was very positive coming through the middle and I see him more as a centre forward given he is brilliant in the air and strong on the ground I dont think that wide right is best for him although he gives it a bloody good go and I just wish that Jay Bothroyd showed half of JMs commitment unfortunately he reminds me of Tamas Priskin who has the talent but doesnt have the heart for battle. How can someone as tall and as athletic as JB get continually beaten in the air and the answer is because he doesnt try hard enough to win the header or the loose ball and we cannot afford to accomodate him playing like that, Clive you and me will have to disagree on JB, ok he can hold the ball up and lay it off, but to be honest this season thats all he has done, all his striking qualities have been left in Cardiff as far as I am concerned. Joey Barton has got real class but I think he is playing too deep and he should play infront of Ali Faurlin, we need to see Joey pushing up to help thread that ball through to the front two, we need a feeder as Adel showed when he came on, if Adel is not playing Barton needs to be able to create the chances for our forwards and cannot do that from the halfway line. Adel looked hungry and fit when he came on and lets hope he can show the Prem what he is made of, we must play him in the next five matches we just have to create more chances and take them and keep SWP wide right bring in Jamie Mackie to partner Helguson and Adel out left. Come on Neil just stick to 442 and give it a real go.

NorwayRanger16 added 22:52 - Dec 19
Very impressed by both Webb and Rooney, they are supposedly the best this country has to offer and i must say they both delivered. And you're right about Jones, 19 with an enormous potential. Maybe its because its against one owns team that you really notice and appriciate just how good these professionals are. But have to say Rooney' the best player we have been up against, better than both Silva and Suarez that both where brilliant. His hold up play, movement and vision was something to behold. The gulf in class from what we've been used to for years is there for everyone to see. That said, this is not the games we should be looking to win, and a lot of what i've seen from Bolton, Wolves, B'burn etc. says that we're in with a good chance of staying up.

On to the players then. Both Barton and Faurlin we're miles away from being competetive enough. Faurlin' poorest performance since the promotion, so many missed passes he should hold his head in shame (too harsh???). He had several like Bartons pass for Carricks goal, only luck that none led to a goal against. And while we're on Carricks goal, how on earth can we let him run a good 60 yards unchallenged??? and let's not get started on Cerny contribution on the goal, should have been an easy save (that apart Cerny had another blinder). Another great match report Clive but an 8 for Cerny, come on?! Should have been a 7. His flapping at crosses and command of the area was very poor and he should as i said above never let in that tame effort from Carrick. But you where on to Connolly who for me was our top performer, not by a country mile but just shading the likes of Cerny and Gabbidon.

Can't agree with your "addoration" (kidding) with Boothroyd as watching him plat is massively underwhelming, but i agree 100% re your criticism of the booers whos actions are flabbergasting!

Karski and Rblockpat, spot on re Taarabt. Unless there is reasons unknown for not letting him play he should be given a proper go up until new year. Looks a lot fitter and hungrier than in a long time. Should get a start ahead of either SWP, Mackie or Boothroyd and accomodate the line-up accordingly.

derbyhoop added 22:56 - Dec 19
Was that the worst midfield performance the Premiership has seen this season?. Barton and SWP were dreadful, Faurlin had the worst game I've seen him have in 2 years. The only plus from the starting 4, was the effort Mackie put in to bully his way past or through Evra in the first half. Pity, he always spoiled it by lashing a cross into the Man Utd supporters.
At least when Taraabt came on there was a noticeable improvement in quality. If you put the best of Mackie and SWP together, you still woudn't get a player with the ability Adel can show in his sleep.

MelakaRanger added 00:41 - Dec 20
Sorry Clive but the Sunderland game is most certainly a must win game. We must start winning again rather than keep on not winning. The division is so tight at the moment that 7-9 points form the next 4 games could see us in the top half again. Equally 2 or 3 points could see us in the bottom three! Hence Sunderland is a must win game and we need a win and a draw, minimum, against Norwich and Swansea. If we dont do this then we enter the next sequence of games that you believe will make or break us with a losing habit and in the bottom 3 or 4

Winning becomes a habit but so does losing.

As for the dribs and drabs of players coming out for the 2nd half. Where was Warnock to make sure we came out as a team? Where was the team spirit?

And as for Bothroyd - he's a legend is his own lunchtime and nothing more. We need players to man up and deliver. He hasn't and doesn't.

SWP was a headless chicken. Warnock does not play him to his strengths, as a winger who runs against the opposition, so why have him?

But it was good to see Adel play again and play pretty well too.

Others have said ' in Warnock we should trust'. Well maybe but I am still of the opinion that hes not quite good enough for the Premiership. I hope I am wrong but its only right to start asking hard questions - which I hope Tony F is doing!

ade_qpr added 00:43 - Dec 20
another fine report Clive, but surprised you made little reference to Adel considering the would he play/get transferred/why he isn't in the squad stories that have plastered across the board. Yes I'm to blame for one. Know he didn't do a lot but at least he seemed to have a positive attitude to his play and demeanour.

Northernr added 01:18 - Dec 20
Couldn't disagree with you more Melaka, on just about every single point you make.

What happens if we lose to Sunderland? Nothing, still more than half a season worth of games left. Probably won't even go into the bottom three. How is that a must win? All last season we had this ridiculous nonsense of "this is a must win", "this is the hardest game so far", "this is the most important match" every bloody week. We could do with a win against Sunderland, it's not the end of the season if we don't get it. The season is 38 matches long.

At the start of the season we looked at the eight games we've just had and said "god that looks tough." What's changed? It was tough, shock horror. We've actually managed to take seven points points from them which is more than I thought we would and we've come out the other side outside the relegation zone.
What more exactly do people want? We're not going to take a lot of points from back to back games with chelsea, man city, spurs, stoke away, norwich away, west brom home, liverpool and man utd are we? Seven points is a fantastic outcome from those games.

Northernr added 01:20 - Dec 20
The biggest problem we have at the moment is the unreasonable expectations of certain supporters which is now manifesting itself in a crap atmosphere at matches which in turn isn't helping the team. Worry about that rather than a "must win" game against Sunderland, we can actually do something about that.

karlski added 04:44 - Dec 20
Northern whilst I completely agree with the general sentiment you express of being a tad exasperated with the whole 'must win game' thing, and of course the season is 38 games long, I can also kind of understand where it is coming from. Obviously in the literal sense it is not 'must win' because the season doesn't end any time soon, but certainly I would class it as an important game to win. I agree we have done decently from a tough run of fixtures, but equally we didn't take many points from some easy fixtures at the start of the season and we have left points on the table at home in eminently winnable situations. Therefore this game begins a run of fixtures where, when the list came out, we'd be looking at them thinking ok we can pick up a few points here, and given our position in the table it would be very helpful if we did. The point about confidence/forming a habit is not irrelevant either.
I remember in your recent write up about the season where Liverpool blew the chance to win the league you said they would look back at dropping points at home against lesser sides earlier in the season. This game against Sunderland is exactly the type we might live to look back at come the end of the season and say I wish we'd picked up the win there.
There are 38 games, but each is unique. You only play Sunderland at home once, and whenever it is in the season, you'd still be thinking before a ball is kicked 'well that one would be quite important to win on paper'. Given our tough run-in, picking up points now in these kinds of games is pretty important.
Hope that made some sort of sense. Brain's a bit mushy.
On other hand, the atmosphere/boos for Bothroyd I completely agree about, shameful and completely unhelpful. Hope it's rocking Wednesday night!

MelakaRanger added 06:40 - Dec 20

Its good to disagree, its what make discussion and dialogue so important. Without this, everyone just follows everyone else, questions do not get asked and situations and excuses are simply accepted. Improvement then never occurs. I respect your knowledge and input and agree with an awful lot of what you have said in the past. Lets just agree to disagree.

I suspect, though, that a lot of people are also having doubts about Bothroyd and to a lesser extent SWP.

My use of 'must win' for Sunderland is said in the context of we must start wining again and getting into the winning habit. The more you lose, the more you think you are going to lose and you lose some more. Its a vicious circle. In my 44 years of watching and supporting QPR, I have seen this before many times. Its time to start winning again. We MUST start winning again and start winning regularly.

As for Bothryod. I would love for him to prove me wrong. But I dont think he will. Having said that there is no excuse for booing him of the pitch.

Finally on a personal note. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you. I also want to thank you for the hours and hours of your time that it takes to make this site the most professional and enjoyable to read forum for us QPR fans.

Incidentally, today I saw my first Malaysian (in Malaysia) wearing a QPR Malaysian Airlines shirt. Who would have thought..................


Northernr added 09:05 - Dec 20
Same to you mate, and we had a gang of Malaysians in QPR shirts in F Block. I thnk Tony had all his Air Asia managers over.

AshteadR added 09:13 - Dec 20
Thanks for the report Clive - summed up perfectly. The only thing I'd add, was our constantly por delivery into the box (apart from the odd exception) both from dead balls and open play - terribly wasteful.

With regard to our next run of fixtures, we really need to take 6-7 points by the time the final whistle goes against Norwich. Anything less and we'll probably be in the bottom three.


kinderegg added 09:50 - Dec 20
I think it was over before we began with the goal after 60 secs but...

With a new back 4 (connolly, Cerny playing) we should have reverted to 5 in midfield. Bring Derry on to stem the tide and protect our back 4 a bit.
WE do seem slow and not as creative, thats why we changed the system before, but i think it can help us try and win the midfield battle we so clearly lost against Man who!!
Boothroyd is skillful but doesnt show enough will and pace to get on the end of crosses etc.. Anyway hope he plays adel again he at least has something in his locker and a point to prove..and a transfer to earn!!

benbu added 10:23 - Dec 20
Take nothing away from United they were in good form sunday. Rooney was superb and his movement was incredible. At 1-0 down we fought back and should have taken one of our chances and we could have turned the game around. United were also very good in the final third and could have converted one of many first half chances to cruise into a 2-0 lead.

At 1-0 the atmopshere wasnt too bad, but the 2nd goal did kill the noise. I was really disappointed like most others on here with our midfielders, we wasted so much possession and just gave the ball back to them constantly. Our crossing of the ball was also poor, and the choice to cross instead of getting into the box was also as if our attackers were too scared to go for it.

Agree that booing JB is piss poor and not on and isnt exactly cheering the boys on to get a result. We have had a tough run of games, Liverpool away United at home was never going to be easy, and most other sides would lose these fixtures too. Do agree we need to start picking up points, im not worried about our position but 2 wins and a draw from the next 5 games and we will be sitting nicely in mid table. Have to start winning at home, tomorrow night is a big game (but not a must-win just yet).

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