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QPR hail Cesar after escaping West Ham with a draw — full match report
QPR hail Cesar after escaping West Ham with a draw — full match report
Sunday, 20th Jan 2013 22:34 by Clive Whittingham

QPR survived a second half onslaught in sub-zero temperatures at Upton Park on Saturday to escape from their latest meeting with West Ham with a point.

Queens Park Rangers must wait until May to discover whether this was a point well won as part of an ongoing resurgence, or another damning indictment of the lack of ability in a team destined for the Championship.

Manager Harry Redknapp has good reason to think it’s the former. There was a determination and resoluteness about his team that has only been present since the turn of the year and a five match unbeaten run against three teams in the top seven of the Premier League, and a West Ham outfit that belied its own recent declining form to provide stiff opposition, is no mean feat.

This Hammers side may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some of the others to have graced the Upton Park pitch wearing claret and blue through the annuls of time, but it’s a team that knows its play-book inside out and operates like a machine. The play goes forward directly and early, second balls are won on the edge of the attacking third and worked into wide areas so that crosses can be delivered into the box where knock downs are collected and chances created. Purists wince and criticise, but a promotion and current position of twelfth in the first season back in the top flight tells its own story.

For the first 15 minutes of the second half on Saturday the ball rarely left West Ham’s possession, and stayed almost exclusively in the QPR red zone. A fifty fourth minute scramble of biblical proportions left bodies strewn across the penalty box after goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved from Marouane Chamakh, Ryan Nelsen blocked the follow up from Mo Diame, and Kevin Nolan headed over from close range. A minute later the ball was pinging around the danger area again until Stephane Mbia swooped in with a brave clearance that left him laying motionless in the goalmouth. Mbia later blocked a firmly struck Winston Reid volley that appeared destined for the net while Cesar saved another shot from Joe Cole at the near post after a handball appeal fell on deaf ears. The Mexican troops at the Battle of the Alamo would have been impressed with the relentlessness of it all – but QPR held on.

At Loftus Road in October Rangers, then under the management of Mark Hughes whose oft-stated defence of his dreadful reign in charge was that he prepared meticulously for every game, were disrespectful to Sam Allardyce’s men. They fielded a lightweight midfield four of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ale Faurlin, Esteban Granero and Ji-Sung Park that was wholly inadequate both in shape and physical presence to cope with the same West Ham three that started again in this return meeting: Diame, Nolan and Mark Noble. The result was a 2-1 away win that flattered the home team. Redknapp knew his team would have to be more streetwise for the trip to East London and they were certainly that with a tight, deep midfield two of Mbia and Shaun Derry providing stiffer resistance assisted by the hard work of Wright-Phillips and Jamie Mackie in wider areas.

And they weren’t hanging on for a point during that siege after half time either. By that stage QPR were actually winning. Club record signing Loic Remy combined well on debut with Adel Taarabt who was returned to a deeper lying attacking role after a recent spell as a lone striker. The Moroccan fed the Frenchman with cute through balls twice in the opening quarter of an hour only to be pulled up by offside decisions. When the home defence lazily pushed up looking for a flag on a third occasion Remy checked his step, sprung the trap, marched onto Taarabt’s exquisite pass and finished calmly past Jussi Jaaskelainen from 20 yards as if he was rolling the ball into an empty net in a training game. That was some start, and gave hope that a third consecutive hard-fought 1-0 away win could be Rangers’ for the taking.

But there was also plenty of evidence here to suggest that QPR are a million miles away from being good enough to successfully fight their current relegation battle in their present form. West Ham may indeed be well drilled, hard working, and extremely awkward to play against, but they’re no all conquering heroes and with just two wins from their previous 12 matches were in worse form than their visitors prior to the start of this game.

They fielded Chamakh as a lone striker with support from Matt Jarvis, Nolan and Cole who was booed throughout by the visiting fans for his decision to return to his boyhood club rather than sign on at Loftus Road at the start of the transfer window. Chamakh has, along with the likes of Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey, come to symbolise the flawed squad building policies that Arsenal are employing while desperately praying for strict financial fair play regulations to bring other clubs back towards them in the hunt for honours. The Moroccan striker has been farmed out on loan to West Ham after a lousy 18 months at Ashburton Grove and was welcomed to the east side of town by a Twitter message from the son of chairman David Sullivan criticising his ability and the club’s decision to sign him.

Here it was all QPR could do to hold him at bay – often literally. Clint Hill and Wright-Phillips were fortunate to survive to penalty shout on the half hour when the former had both arms around Chamakh as he received the ball with his back to goal, then the latter arrived on the scene after the West Ham man had turned and appeared to trip him as he prepared to shoot. It fell into the ‘seen them given’ category rather than any kind of stone wall appeal and Rangers were grateful that referee Howard Webb ignored the home team’s prolonged pleas for a spot kick.

And, for all the positives, this would have been a defeat every bit as comprehensive as the one at Loftus Road earlier in the season had QPR fielded a less able goalkeeper than Cesar. The Brazilian, man of the match in a 0-0 draw with Spurs last week, had to watch on Tuesday night as Rob Green pitched for inclusion against his former club with an outstanding performance in an FA Cup win at West Bromwich Albion. Redknapp’s decision to stick with the former Inter Milan man for the league games was quickly and repeatedly vindicated.

There were moments when Cesar rather rode his luck. A sixth minute corner was played short to Mo Diame who beat two men on his way to the byline and then sent in a low cross shot that Matt Jarvis somehow failed to poke in from almost on the goal line at the near post. Unsighted and with little time to react, Cesar allowed the ball to run between his legs, right along the line, and out for another corner on the far side. Later a long ball forward took one bounce in the six yard box and hopped into the goalkeeper’s arms when any slight touch from a plethora of players immediately in front of him would have sent it skimming into the net.

But more often the stopper was in outstanding form. After Diame’s near miss a second corner was nodded down by centre half Winston Reid and Kevin Nolan – an omnipresent threat to QPR – turned it goalwards from inside the six yard box but Cesar saved well with his legs. Later in the first half he highlighted his growing comfort with the physical side of the English game by rushing out of his goal to meet a high ball lofted towards Nolan with a punch over the former Newcastle man’s head. On the hour a firm header from Chamakh, intelligently directed and placed towards the bottom corner, looked like a goal for all money but Cesar executed his footwork well and dived down to his left to save the ball right on the line – an excellent save made to look far easier than it really was. Six minutes from time Mark Noble must have through he was about to win the game when Cesar rather rashly came out to meet him on the edge of the area but the goalkeeper remained upright to block the first shot, and then when Noble regathered the rebound and tried to run around the formidable Brazilian he quickly retook his position and was able to simply catch the chipped second effort.

And he can consider himself very unfortunate with the equalising goal too – scored at the midway point of the second half. Allardyce had replaced Chamakh with Carlton Cole by this stage and with almost his first touch of the ball the new arrival powered a header towards goal only for Cesar to produce a miraculous one-handed save to his left at no kind of range at all. You couldn’t help but feel sorry for the gloved warrior when the rebound fell plum onto the foot of Joe Cole who could scarcely miss from three yards out.

Nobody could deny the Irons deserved that equaliser. Rarely has a goal felt so inevitable. It might have come at the end of the first half had Diame not been dispossessed at the crucial moment by a fine covering tackle from Mbia after skipping around two would-be challengers at the edge of the penalty area; or during the waves of pressure exerted at the start of the second half; or ten minutes before the end when Diame shot wide with better options for a pass; or when the Hammers played a training ground free kick routine into Matt Jarvis who’d run free into the left channel of the penalty area but skewed a first time shot hopelessly wide; or right at the death when Cesar didn’t get sufficient distance on a punch and Clint Hill had to block a low shot away in the six yard box. West Ham certainly didn’t want for chances.

QPR on the other hand struggled to pose any threat whatsoever for long periods of the game. Centre backs Nelsen and Hill – selected between full backs Nedum Onuoha and Fabio Da Silva – were heroic in their efforts but their lack of pace not only requires the presence of Shaun Derry in front of them for extra protection against a massacre similar to the one Louis Suarez carried out on them three weeks ago, but also means Rangers are far, far too deep defensively and struggle to clear their lines.

Adel Taarabt running with the ball is one way the R’s can consistently maintain possession down field and relieve pressure on themselves, but West Ham’s method of dealing with him was predictably brutal. After setting up the first goal for Remy, the Moroccan could easily have doubled his assist total for the day with an outrageous flick to Shaun Wright-Phillips on the edge of the area after 21 minutes but unlike at Stamford Bridge, where the pair combined for a memorable winner, the much-maligned winger fired horribly high and wide. When they linked up again in similar style moments later Wright-Phillips fed in Mackie for a shot that was blocked behind for a corner by O’Brien. Five minutes later a nutmeg and dropped shoulder carried Taarabt past three men in the centre circle and Howard Webb’s decision not to then show a yellow card to Mark Noble for deliberately and cynically hacking him down was at best generous and, in actual fact, wrong. Noble was one of several players to have a crack at Taarabt’s shins on the day, but in the end the only booking of the game went the way of James Tomkins for a lunge on Armand Traore in the second half.

Redknapp had introduced Traore for Wright-Phillips on the hour to add extra guile and defensive nouse to the left flank and it had a good deal more positive impact than his other two changes. The decision to send Jay Bothroyd on for Jamie Mackie was no doubt done with the striker’s much improved display at West Brom during the week, but here he was largely back to his bad old self with a lethargic approach to lone striker play that did his team mates few favours. It also meant that Remy moved – for a brief time – to the right wing which you sense really isn’t his game and, even if it was, he was always going to struggle to match the work rate and defensive ability of Mackie. Sure enough, the equalising goal came down that side with Nedum Onuoha, who’d been struggling to keep tabs on Matt Jarvis even with Mackie’s help, now badly exposed. Ji-Sung Park was utilised for the last eight minutes, presumably for fresh legs, but he replaced Adel Taarabt who took what little creative ability and attacking intent QPR had shown to that point with him when he left.

And yet… and yet it could all have had a fairy tale ending for the Hoops. As the fourth official readied the stoppage time board Stephane Mbia suddenly found himself in possession, accelerating down the centre of the field into an under-staffed West Ham half with Bothroyd supporting to his left and Remy to his right. Bothroyd made an intelligent run to draw defenders away and leave space for Remy but it actually seemed to confuse Mbia more than help him and after mis-controlling the ball once and then appearing to fall over it he played a poor pass which caused the new French striker to check his run and cut inside before shooting and by that point Reid had been able to scramble across and block.

That would have been daylight – or winter gloom – robbery had it nestled in the back of the net but it will take a string of remarkable results and occurrences like that to get QPR out of the situation they find themselves in and better decision making and control of the ball from Mbia could have created a gilt edged chance rather than the half one it turned out to be.

So Rangers are left to wait and see whether this was a point well won or simply more water pouring into a stricken vessel. There is organisation and defensive steel to the team that simply wasn’t present before Harry Redknapp arrived. It should have been the first thing Mark Hughes instilled in a club that is always going to be an underdog in most Premier League matches, but apparently the last thing he thought of on his arrogant mission to show what a fabulous manager he is when he’s allowed to spend freely. It’s taken until January for QPR’s defence to start functioning as a unit but sadly it remains flawed by a lack of pace, it may all be in vain because of the results that have gone before, and it’s currently being done at the expense of attacking ambition and drive further down the field.

That considered, a point at Upton Park against that West Ham team playing as it did is probably a result worthy of praise regardless of how it was achieved or what it means in three or four months time.

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West Ham: Jaaskelainen 6, Demel 6, Reid 7, Tomkins 6, O’Brien 6, Noble 7, Diame 7, Nolan 8 (Vaz Te, 88 -), Jarvis 7, Cole 7, Chamakh 6 (Cole 62, 6)

Subs not used: Spiegel, Potts, Collison, Taylor, Diarra

Goals: J Cole 68 (assisted Jarvis/C Cole)

Bookings: Tomkins 72 (foul)

QPR: Cesar 9, Onuoha 6, Hill 7, Nelsen 7, Da Silva 7, Derry 6, Mbia 7, Mackie 5 (Bothroyd 67, 5), Wright-Phillips 5 (Traore 58, 6), Taarabt 7 (Park 82, -), Remy 6

Subs not used: Green, Ferdinand, Faurlin, Hoilett

Goals: Remy 14 (assisted Taarabt)

QPR Star Man – Julio Cesar 9 Not the most challenging decision on a Star Man award I’ve had to make this season it must be said. Rode his luck when he needed to, made outstanding saves the rest of the time, and while not quite winning the point single handedly he certainly had more to do with it than most. As the debate about David Da Gea’s future at Manchester United continues – another flap for a goal at Tottenham today – and with QPR reasonably likely to be a Championship team next season, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Old Trafford scouts aren’t having a little sniff around this situation by the end of the campaign if he keeps playing like this.

Referee – Howard Webb 8 It was something of a surprise to find Webb in charge of this one with Chelsea v Arsenal and Tottenham v Man Utd to come on the Sunday – and given the way Martin Atkinson and Chris Foy handled those fixtures I wonder if the authorities regret their decision. But this was a fixture that needed a strong referee and got one. I felt he should have produced a yellow card earlier and more often for the fairly obvious targeting of Taarabt, and West Ham will no doubt feel aggrieved by the first half penalty incident, but otherwise I felt he controlled the game well, was rarely more than ten yards away from a decision, and did his job extremely well.

Attendance 34,962 (2,000 QPR approx) There was much discussion before the game about just why QPR had decided to take a lower allocation of tickets for this fixture than they could have done. The club continues to air on the side of caution after being stung when a large allocation at Man City back in August didn’t sell – although for a 5.30pm ESPN kick off 200 miles away that was a fairly basic error on Rangers’ part and greater consultation with fans groups would help them get these allocations right in the future. I don’t know whether it was the cold, or the fact that QPR were on the back foot for the entire game, or a bit of both but I thought those of us who did get tickets were much quieter than we needed to be, and have been at most of the recent games home and away. It’s tough when you’re standing there watching your team get battered for a full game – the nerves and sense of inevitability about the defeat gripped me for most of the game – but in such circumstances the players could do with the vocal support and I felt it was lacking slightly from all of us. Totally understandable though.

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muzz added 23:06 - Jan 20
Tough game to watch. We could barely get out of our own half in the second. I thought we battled hard and fought to keep what we stole but I found myself a bit frustrated by the number of times we failed to keep possession. I can only wonder how the game would have ended had Taarabt been on the ball instead of Mbia on that stoppage time possession.
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Ribenaboy added 23:25 - Jan 20
Hughes' game plan against the Spammers, and the Bolton away game last year, had me tearing my hair out.
I would not back that epic plum to be able to come up with a strategy for a game of paper, scissors, stones with Edward Scissorhands
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extratimeR added 00:06 - Jan 21
Yeah, it was a bit quieter than usual yesterday, numbing weather did not help, and being chucked off Tube at Plaistow and told "we are now not stopping at Upton Park" as if no one wanted to get off their! meant we missed first 5 minutes of game, (but saw goal).

Cannot believe we got a point, Cesar magnificent, Tony F was sat a few rows behind us, (well done him!), I wonder what he thought of the bloke behind me who everytime Bothroyd had possesion announced " your a useless f****k**g W*****r Bothroyd".

West Ham fans seemed good humoured buch, thats changed from the old days!

good report

Thanks Clive!
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Northernr added 00:07 - Jan 21
On the debate of whether Redknapp simply did the best with what he had and the opposition we faced, or was too negative and should have gone forward more, I'll copy my post across from the message board.


Players who didn't play, who could have.
Strikers - DJ Campbell, Jay Bothroyd, Rob Hulse.
With all due respect, would any of them really have made any difference? We put Bothroyd on and got worse.

Midfielders - Faurlin, Granero, Park, Ephraim
Now given the way we conceded possession, you could easily say that Faurlin and Granero could have been of some use. Granero, I believe is injured, while we've seen with faurlin this year that not playing him for several weeks and then playing him two games in quick succession does not bring good results. We've also seen that when they played against West Ham previously they were out fought and out battled - West Ham ran all over them. Park hasn't shown me anything all season to suggest he'd have been much use there yesterday. Ephraim, again, far too lightweight for that game.

defenders:
Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore, Ben Haim, Ehmer
Traore could have started for SWP, that was an improvement when we did that in the second half. So there's one thing he could have done differently. I didn't think the defence played badly, I don't think any of the other three would have improved it.

Ok, now lets look at who you could have taken out.
SWP did go off for Traore and that was an improvement so there's one change. Mackie didn't offer a lot in attack but we saw when we took him off that West ham immediately scored down his wing with Onuoha left one on one with Jarvis - wouldn't have fancied Jarvis going at Onuoha all day without Mackie to help and we got defensively worse when he went off.
Derry didn't have his best game, but we saw against Liverpool and against west Ham earlier in the season that we need him there with the two centre halves we have, and as I say I don't see that we have a replacement for either of those centre backs at the moment.

So we're basically down to replacing SWP with Traore, and not replacing Mackie with Bothroyd when he did. Would that really have changed the game massively? I don't think so.

I think we have to accept that we're not very good, and Redknapp's doing what he can.
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Tomo_5 added 01:14 - Jan 21
I understand why Arry took Tarbs off but in hindsight we could of grabbed a very unlikely winner at the death. I never thought I would ever say this but we need Bobby back and quickly. We have some very winnable games coming up which we need someone up front to hold the ball up for Tarbs and Remy to run onto. The defense starting to resemble a defense but this sustained pressure on them is pretty tough to handle. The strongest part of our game when Hughes was in charge was our Midfield. Where is it now, anyone seen it? We really need to be getting Grenaro and Faurlin back together, the first game against Chelsea was in my opinion the best central midfield pairing and play that we've had this season.
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Myke added 01:55 - Jan 21
Gosh Clive I can't agree with your high praise of Caesar considering he gifted them the equaliser. As he was at fault for both goals against West Ham at Loftus Road, that's three goals and fours points he's given away. I can't believe how little criticism he gets for making the same basic error time and time again. I'm not a Green fan, but if he repeatedly made the same basic error he would be absolutely slaughtered. When oh when is Caesar going to learn not to parry the ball back into the danger zone as he does time and time again, That might work in Italy with quality defenders and a relatively uncongested box to get you out of trouble, but with our lot and foreign bodies lurking everywhere its a recipe for disaster. He is here six months now It's time for the penny to drop. I'm surprised Nelson or Hill haven't told him in plain (universal) language to divert the bloody ball wide or over and not keep spilling it back into the tap in zone. So frustrating. The good work against Chelsea and Spurs undone against a very mediocre Hammers.
Look at Readings two most recent results and the enormity of our task is crystallised. We were both 2-0 down at home to WBA recently and we never looked like turning it around. While by all accounts, if we were still playing at Newcastlle we wouldn't have scored. The very fact thet we are now -at least partly - pinning our hopes on the returning 'hero' Zamora- a couple of months ago ridiculed for being honest enough to admit that he wasn't crazy about football - indicates the enormity of our task. Cisse shipped out, sentenced to deportation for the crime of 'not caring' apparently. This the guy whose goals kept us up a few short months ago (talk about eaten bread soon forgotten) and probably the only player we had - waaay to early to judge Remy - who knows where the goal is. Bothroyd has one decent game and we're all wetting ourselves Jesus wept. We need to stop hysterically clutching at straws and equally stop hysterically hanging guys out to dry. We need a cold hard analytical assessment of where we are strong and where we need to strenghten; not necessarily to buy, but from within the squad. Where for example is Young? Is he injured? If not why is he not playing at right back? Onouha is not a full back. Rednapp perceives a lack of pace up front and buys Remy, yet we have Hoilett with pace to burn twiddling his thumbs on the bench. We've improved certainly under Rednapp - from a benchmark of 4 points that was never going to be difficult - but not nearly enough. If we don't win 3 games on the trot very soon, it won't even be a contest come easter
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QPRFish added 03:40 - Jan 21
I've got to agree with myke i'm afraid. I thought cesar could and should've done better with the equaliser. It was coming, but a gift from a otherwise top class keeper.
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Kaos_Agent added 05:24 - Jan 21
Thanks Clive. Glass 3/4 full for me. Great to see the excited dialog between Tarbs and Remy. This will bear more fruit. Continued solid play from Cesar IMO. M'Bia and Derry generally solid. Hill and Nelsen solid as well, though Clint's clutching may hurt us eventually. West Ham did work hard in the 2nd half but also had most of the bounces going their way.

Sure I wanted the 3 points but this was a hard fought away draw which produced reasons for optimism. Absolutely huge that Remy got a goal in his first game, as he will be hungry for more.

Team confidence level remains up. Positive locker room talk. Still undefeated in 2013, let's not forget!

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OutWestR added 06:24 - Jan 21
Nice one Clive, cracking read as always. While on the subject of cracks, I went sledging with my kids at the weekend and managed to snap my leg in two places. I've got at least 2 months in plaster to look forward to, so the chances of travelling the 100 odd miles to LR are very slim for now. Your previews and reviews are going to be even more invaluable for me for the foreseeable future!
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JB007007 added 07:59 - Jan 21
Thanks Clive,
Agree we battled hard again, but the lack of ball retention and attacking ambition meant that one goal was never going to be enough. I wish I shared some peoples optimism, but this time I cant see us getting out of it. We're a couple of games off the others ahead and just out of the relegation zone, that leaves 13 games left and take the Manchester home games out and some of the other tougher ones and the opportunities of getting to around thirty points looks hard enough!
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Northernr added 08:07 - Jan 21
How Cesar could have done more for the equaliser I don't know. Fabulous save from a point blank header.
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R_in_Sweden added 08:12 - Jan 21
Thanks once again for your take on things Clive.

Have to disagree with some of my fellow posters. Cissé lost interest in "the cause" quite a while back in my opinion, if he's been "sentenced to deportation" then his punishment has to be considered to be fairly lenient. Tax free high earnings in the sun, it's a tough life. Not sure how men in skirts are viewed in Qatar though.

I think that blaming Cesar for West Ham's goal seems a little harsh as well considering the initial save from Carlton Cole was a blinder, will have to watch the replay.

Remy and Taarabt looked great together in the first half, be interesting to see them in action against a less physical or gifted team that we can put on the back foot, although as a counter attacking (which seems to be our tactic home and away) force they look good.

Mbia has now definitely taken over the mantle of top nutter from Diakité after another theatrical collapse in the second half. He certainly adds to the team, although when running through at the end I envisaged two things - a rocket into the top corner or some confused fumbling as he found himself in foreign territory...
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ozranger added 08:48 - Jan 21
While I am not going to side with myke, I will say you have left yourself open a bit re the subs. I think that it was Fabio who is back to struggling at left back. I have seen him all too often lost in his position (watch his positioning on the goal) and easily beaten in the air. Not saying that the option should be taken, but what about Traore behind Taarabt again as they had a good partnership before. I know I have been praising Fabio, but it was evident here that he was a little awol at key moments and that we cannot survive with. Unsure what may have happened if HR did that at half-time (T for F) and brought on someone else for SWP, but it could have been an interesting IF.

Also: "It’s tough when you’re standing there watching your team get battered for a full game" makes me want to say try doing that when your team IS getting battered and losing by 7-1 as mine did on Saturday arvo here and being there with the other 150 poor souls suffering it.
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Northernr added 08:51 - Jan 21
Funny old game, several people remarked on Saturday how well Fabio is playing and how good he is in the air for his height. I suspect that replacing him with Traore would have made little to no difference either way.
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Northernr added 08:52 - Jan 21
and I've stood and watched QPR get thrashed quite often enough to both know what it feels like and not actively seek it out again!
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ozranger added 09:02 - Jan 21
Gees Clive, steady on. I'm not saying you haven't. I am just saying I did on Saturday arvo only hours before you did, but in my case our opponents didn't let us off the hook. But, I digress. While many may say that Fabio is playing well, why are teams now chipping the ball over his head? Also, I re-broach my thought of getting Traore and Taarabt back together. Even when we were playing poorly, the two worked well together. Surely you cannot say that the Fabio/SWP combination is better? Remember that even with Adel on the left he could wander around and still provide those through balls. Personally, I would rather have a combination that plays well together than two individuals trying to play well.
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Northernr added 09:08 - Jan 21
Sorry, was actually laughing with you rather than being arsy!

The thing about moving Taarabt to the left is you're taking him out of the centre where he's playing really well, creating and scoring goals for us. I don't see this problem in the air for Fabio that you perceive at the moment.
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nadera78 added 09:23 - Jan 21
The problem we have in midfield is an interesting dillema. M'bia does so much good work shutting opponents down and winning the ball, but he's a tad headless and needs Derry alongside him for control and organisation. But we clearly need someone like Faurlin in there to put his foot on the ball and retain posession. That would require a change of formation to accommodate the three of them. Decisions, decisions.

As for the left back, Traore has shown that he cannot be relied upon to be fit for two consecutive matches. It's better to have the consistency of a known back four than keep chopping and changing whenever he happens to decide he's fit to play. So Fabio gets it for me.
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Toast_R added 09:28 - Jan 21
There's negative tactics and there's just being awful.
Felt Ranger's performed the latter again as they did against Newcastle.
Two average teams and we treated the occasion like they were Barcelona.

I know we are limited but Jesus, even Blackpool who were worse on paper then us, managed to find a way to have a bloody go at teams and occasionally reap reward for it.

Most one sided game this season and I can't understand why Ranger's were unable to string more then two passes together.

There needs to be more confidence out there, push up and look for the ball.

At the moment I think we'll die on our arse much the same way the much fancied Norway exited the 94 World Cup. Needing a goal with 20 minutes left to play but would still rather not conceed then try and score one.
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dixiedean added 10:46 - Jan 21
I think both full backs were to blame for allowing so many crosses from Joe Cole & Jarvis by standing so far off them. I could understand that if they were facing players with searing pace,eg Bale,Lennon, but neither of those is quick,so standing 5 yds off every time gave them time to receive the ball, set themselves and pick out a cross at leisure. We defended a lot better from crosses from corners rather than crosses in open play,so blocking crosses for corners was a far better option.Wouldn't have said that 2 months ago ! Mbia has one major fault ( apart from being a nutter) which is when he carries the ball forward he runs with his head down,so consequently his passes are always badly weighted or he delays, so the forward's run is compromised. He adds some much-needed steel though ( when not rolling around in fake agony) Don't agree with criticism of Cesar for the goal. He can still be prone to flap a bit,but think that is harsh on this occasion. Betty reverted to type,showing no inclination for holding the ball up when we desperately needed it. Seemed a logical sub at the time ( although given lack of match time I'd have taken Remy off), but he just didn't perform as expected/needed. I did worry where OutWest was going with his post when he started " On the subject of cracks..."
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extratimeR added 11:03 - Jan 21
Fabio not playing well????? he had greay game at home to Spurs and ditto Chelsea away, time for substance abuse testing on this board Clive!
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isawqpratwcity added 11:06 - Jan 21
Very thoughtful report, thanks, Clive!

I was disappointed with the way we played on saturday, but that doesn't make it a bad result. The trouble is that that f*cking tw*t Hughes was allowed to persist for so long, that Harry has a sh*t-awful job of having to first, motivate and direct players so that they can play somewhere close to their potential, secondly identify those that can't or won't play to an acceptable or minimum standard and lastly, replace those duds in the transfer window. All the while, getting enough points to induce optimism in squad, fans and owners.

He is doing a marvellous job: the improvement is manifest. I still think we will do it. I've been mildly disappointed with some of his preferences and prejudices, but I don't envy him his job one bit. Onya, Harry!
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carrotcrunch_R added 11:37 - Jan 21
Great report northern and was spot I for one can't understand all the critising of the players cos they gave there all , i was always under the impression if you get a result away from home you have done your job however we do need to win more in our home games but scrapping for any points away from home is also of upmost importance.
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QPunkR added 12:14 - Jan 21
It would seem we had more blind fans at the game than I thought, QPR the equal opportunities Club! How on earth anyone can criticise Cesar for his performance on Sat is beyond me. Save after save he made, and was unlucky with the equaliser, very good save from close range from Carlton Cole.
Thought Fabio has been playing very well recently as well.
And that may have been me lambasting J-Bot on Sat as a useless f-in khunt. Mainly because he is a useless f-in khunt. That and bringing on Park meant we were left playing with only 9 men at the end :'(
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YorkRanger added 12:40 - Jan 21
I find the criticism of Cesar incredible, outstanding performance and a great save from the header from Carlton Cole - not only that he was the principle reason why we got a point from Spurs and also from West Ham for that matter. I appreciate its a game of opinions but.....
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