Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Lions versus Christians — full match report
Lions versus Christians — full match report
Sunday, 24th Feb 2013 23:15 by Clive Whittingham

QPR slipped to an inevitable 2-0 defeat against champions-elect Manchester United at Loftus Road on Saturday.

In a season of upsets that has made heroes of Bradford City, a Manchester University student who ended up playing for Oldham Athletic, Shaun Wright-Phillips and others there was a straw for the Loftus Road faithful to clutch at ahead of Manchester United’s visit on Saturday that you just never know in football.

Wayne Rooney had a sinus issue and was fit only for the bench, Paul Scholes didn’t travel at all and the growing stature and importance of Phil Jones was placed on hiatus by injury. With the gap between the two Manchester clubs now 12 points in United’s favour and an important Champions League game with Real Madrid on the horizon there was a school of thought that said this would be a good time for beleaguered Queens Park Rangers to meet the champions-elect. Perhaps Alex Ferguson’s side would be thinking about other things.

Harry Redknapp was able to start Bobby Zamora in attack for the first time since he became QPR manager in November, and the fragile Loic Remy had roused himself sufficiently for a place on the bench so QPR had an attacking threat to pose for the first time in a while. At centre half the imposing figure of Chris Samba stood shoulder to shoulder with Clint Hill to form an uncompromising, physical duo in front of Julio Cesar – a goalkeeper in such wondrous form that some have suggested United may like to purchase him this summer to replace their own inconsistent David De Gea. Adel Taarabt, newly matured and finally looking ready for a bigger stage than this corner of W12, was ready to prove his worth. Rangers were well rested after a week in the Dubai sun and had nothing to lose by ploughing their heart and soul into this one.

The visitors brought a pantomime villain to rev the crowd up still further. Ashley Young embarrassed his sport with a dive for a controversial penalty against QPR at Old Trafford last year, and even had the gumption to try it on again in the first meeting between the two this season. On the second occasion Hill and Shaun Derry – sadly absent here – picked him up from the turf and delivered a few home truths. This was the first opportunity for the Rangers fans to do likewise. Five minutes in Zamora administered a dose of his own medicine, pinching a dangerous free kick from the winger with a theatrical fall that referee Anthony Taylor was happy to blow for. Esteban Granero, starting in the middle of midfield with Stephane Mbia between wingers Taarabt and Andros Townsend, delivered the ball poorly and it was easily cleared.

And there, in a nutshell, was the problem. Upsets in football are complex recipes with a multitude of ingredients and a large slice of luck. Harry Redknapp, as you’d expect given the dire situation he finds himself in, talks a lot about luck and the rub of the green but QPR didn’t have enough about them to source the other components required for a positive result in such circumstances.

Only Townsend - whose recent arrival on loan from Spurs means he’s neither weighed down by the confidence sapping run of two wins from 27 matches nor the thought that he’ll be heading to the Championship with the R’s come May - played with the tempo, speed and urgency required.

In the last minute of normal time Samba strode onto a deep Adel Taarabt free kick and headed powerfully for the bottom corner only to see De Gea turn it around the post with his toe. The linesman on the Ellerslie Road side of the ground overruled the referee and awarded a goal kick– that element of luck again – but given that Taarabt and Granero had only managed to deliver one or two half decent set pieces between them in the entire game prior to that it’s probably fair to assume they wouldn’t have done a lot with the corner anyway. When faced with such awesome opposition each chance to commit men to an attacking situation and deliver a quality ball into the penalty box must be treasured and perfectly executed – here, as usual, Rangers’ set pieces were delivered to an amateur standard and tossed aside as if other chances would flow freely thereafter.

The atmosphere was morgue-like. A palpable sense of resignation swept across the ground from very early in the game and left three sides of the stadium suffocating under an oppressive silence. To make matters worse, United’s travelling 3,000 sent a 30 minute funereal dirge down the field to the tune of Magic by Pilot – their team may be, their song is not.

Despite their injuries, United were still able to field Robin Van Persie in attack – 19 goals in 24 league starts since a summer move from Arsenal – and when he injured himself beyond repair by dropping into an ill-placed camera pit behind the Loft End goal midway through the first half that thought about it possibly being QPR’s day returned. Within three seconds it had been extinguished again because, with Van Persie still trying to extricate himself, the ball broke loose off a decent save by Cesar to Rafael who let fly with a 30 yard barnburner that almost tore the net off the back of the Brazilian goalkeeper’s posts.

That had been coming. Cesar tipped over a flicked header from Hernandez after a quarter of an hour and the little Mexican was just out of reach of Nani’s cross three minutes later when Chris Samba played a blue light pass to Stephane Mbia deep in his own half and he was immediately set upon and robbed of possession.

In response QPR could mostly muster only long range efforts with Townsend blasting over and then wide and Taarabt mishitting from adventurous distance. When the home side did finally deliver from a wide set piece Samba planted a header goalwards only to see it cleared from the line by Rafael. As if stirred from a slumber, United sought to re-establish their dominance immediately after that let off and glided down field with an effortless counter attack that seemed certain to yield a second goal once Rafael had expertly picked out Van Persie but Cesar expertly turned his first time volley wide.

Alex Ferguson then replaced the Dutchman with Danny Welbeck and later sent on Wayne Rooney for Javier Hernandez and Antonio Valencia for Young. Such an embarrassment of riches in reserve only served to further highlight the gap between these two sides who share the same league in name only. Rangers for their part were forced to rely on the labouring Bobby Zamora who gamely battled through the first half, spent the half time break seizing up, and could then barely move in the second but insisted on staying out there until the hour mark by which time it looked as though the hip injury which requires further surgical attention may leave him wheelchair bound for the rest of the day.

Redknapp sent on Loic Remy in Zamora’s place and he immediately cut inside from the left flank and fired a powerful shot on goal that De Gea got a strong hand to and saved but thereafter the Frenchman was eliminated from the game by a talented and well drilled United defence that had already suffocated the influence of Taarabt. The Moroccan’s only serious impact on proceedings came late when Michael Carrick seemed to have upended him right on the edge of the penalty area but Taylor waved appeals for a free kick away. In the end the Super Hoops were reduced to moving Samba into the attack as an auxiliary centre forward. Ferguson’s technique of pinpointing one or two key opposition players, removing them from the game, and then allowing his own attacking threat to spread havoc had worked perfectly once again.

United rarely needed to move out of second gear to secure a comfortable victory, which made the occasional piece of play acting and dissent all the harder to stomach – Patrice Evra forced the play to be stopped in the first half by laying down and clutching his chin when, in reality, there was nothing wrong with him. QPR, filling the subservient role they happily occupied all afternoon, meekly kicked the ball back to De Gea once the Frenchman had picked himself up and had a prolonged moan at the officials.

Later there was a run out for Junior Hoilett instead of Andros Townsend but the former Blackburn man made little difference and in fact it seemed a little strange to remove Townsend rather than, say, Jamie Mackie given their respective effect on the match. Redknapp also replaced Esteban Granero with Jermain Jenas at half time which was merely swapping one ineffectual central midfielder for another – a point emphasised by the amateurish first touch of the football he concocted in the lead up to United’s second killer goal from Ryan Giggs that had the home defence appealing for offside in vain.

It had only been a matter of time – Rooney had a shot blocked just beforehand, Nani flicked a header goalwards that Cesar needed two attempts to keep out, Giggs crossed right through the area after Hill had fouled Rafael and then later chipped a delicate effort flush onto the face of the crossbar – but a weak challenge from Jose Bosingwa on Danny Welbeck in the build up didn’t improve the mood of a fast diminishing home crowd.

Bosingwa has become such a figure of hate and ridicule in West London since a summer move from Chelsea that a bookmaker recently erected a billboard facing onto the West Way at White City mocking his refusal to sit on the substitute’s bench earlier this season. That incident, prior to the only home win of the campaign so far against Fulham, sparked an angry reaction from Redknapp who fined the player and then, a week later, effectively condemned him in the eyes of the QPR fans by revealing just how much money those two weeks of wages amounted to. Recalling the Portuguese to his team exposed the QPR manager’s desperation almost as much as his perseverance with the one legged Zamora but the row over the money the player earns and the effort he puts in relative to that distracts attention from the key issue of Bosingwa not actually being a very good footballer regardless of how hard he tries not to mention the wider problem Rangers have at the moment with their identity.

Chairman Tony Fernandes, ashen faced at fall time, defended a £20m January transfer splurge on a seemingly doomed team by saying QPR must get rid of its “small club mentality.” On the contrary, Rangers should be embracing it. Mark Hughes’ technique of populating his squad with ageing big name players used to grander things in the hope of elevating Rangers to that sort of status was flawed – QPR should be proud to be who they are and look for players with equal pride in that identity. Jose Bosingwa cares little for QPR and even if he did he’s barely good enough to play for the team. The ducked challenge on Welbeck in the build up the Giggs goal is immaterial – signing him was a mistake, recalling him shows a total lack of self regard and respect. He laughed when the QPR fans booed him before kick off and went on to give no indication of why he should be selected ahead of Nedum Onuoha in future.

QPR were never likely to trouble Man Utd unduly however or whoever they played – the league table doesn’t lie. The problem was there was little to take from this performance to suggest the spirit, will and ability exists to source the 20 points Harry Redknapp believes they need from the final 11 games. If the R’s play like this at Southampton next week they’ll be beaten by a similar scoreline.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Have Your Say >>> Interactive Player Ratings >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Cesar 7, Bosingwa 5, Hill 6, Samba 5, Traore 6, Townsend 7 (Hoilett 70, 5), Granero 4, (Jenas 45, 4), Mbia 5, Taarabt 5, Mackie 4, Zamora 6 (Remy 60, 6)

Subs not used: Green, Onuoha, Park, Wright-Phillips

Man Utd: De Gea 6, Rafael 8, Ferdinand 7, Vidic 7, Evra 6, Young 6 (Valencia 67, 6), Carrick 7, Giggs 8, Nani 7, Hernandez 7 (Rooney 61, 6), Van Persie 7 (Welbeck 41, 6)

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Evans, Anderson, Cleverley

Goals: Rafael 23 (unassisted), Giggs 80 (assisted Nani)

QPR Star Man – Andros Townsend One of the few to play with the vim, vigour and tempo required of players on the underdog’s side in such a situation. Seemed an odd choice to be taken off in the second half.

Referee – Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 6 I noticed on the interactive player ratings he was down as low as a two from 38 votes which I struggle to understand. There were the usual moans about him being rather accommodating of Alex Ferguson’s team – Evra conned him into stopping a QPR attack with a non-existent injury, Taarabt was definitely fouled on the edge of the box, the late Samba header should have been a corner and not a goal kick – but he also allowed Clint Hill to hack away at Hernandez without a card and I didn’t come away thinking he’d been overly biased or one sided. No major decisions wrong and no cards – I didn’t think he was too bad.

Attendance – 18,337 (3,100 Man Utd approx) The QPR fans were almost completely silent throughout. I certainly don’t blame them for that, but that was the first time season it felt like everybody had given up hope. The United fans sang the same song for half an hour in the second half – sadly it was some unfathomable dirge that made the whole thing look and sound like a funeral procession.

Tweet @loftforwords

Pictures – Action Images

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

cjc added 23:32 - Feb 24
Accurate write up.
Disappointed to see Bosingwa but then HR will do whatever it takes to get his bonus.
Crowd have given up. Or should i say the home crowd have, just hope the away crowd can give some pride back to us.

Jigsore added 23:36 - Feb 24
2 wins in 27, no wonder i'm such a miserable git. I'll never take a win, or simply a team who can string 3 passes together, for granted ever again

EalingRanger added 23:47 - Feb 24
Dismayed to see Bosingwa in the starting line-up and even more hacked off when Samba went upfront in the second half.

CanadaRanger added 01:07 - Feb 25
I was hoping for something more like this...

but in the end, the ManU team played to their valuation and the result was fair.

ozranger added 01:41 - Feb 25
I think your title summed it up. We may not have been U10s playing against professionals, but the distinct difference between the quality of the two sides speaks more than just their positions in the same competition. And that air of resignation certainly held its head high as per the fans at the game.

I am glad that Remy played as it means he gained a little match-fitness prior to starting against the Saints. The real question will be will he start with BZ as a pair or just one then the other? Zamora was on one-leg, but with a partner, he may be able to do other things that could see him last just that bit longer. Even 60 minutes with the two together could be enough.

Oh, and for all the criticism of Bosingwa, he did do one thing right - he fouled Young!

Kaos_Agent added 06:19 - Feb 25
The possession ended up being 50-50 and to our credit we didn't just park the bus, but none of that mattered as we yet again remained clueless in the final third. There were crossing opportunities up the flanks but I can't think of any that amounted to much. I agree that Hoilett should have replaced Mackie not Townsend. At least Remy remained upright and it was good to see that he does have an explosive shot. We do require more than one per match however.

DesertBoot added 06:52 - Feb 25
This "small club mentality" is a key reason why I love my club.
Such affection has eroded this year. Bosingwa's recall chipped away a little more.
Can we get back to basics please.

QPRski added 07:24 - Feb 25
The match statistics flatter our performance. We played competently but really did not threaten the United goal. The word "toothless" readily comes to mind. Whilst United, as you mention, did not really get out of 2nd gear.

The attitude of the crowd is disappointung, but it probalby relects the air of inevitably which I had whilst I watched on TV.

Can we wake up for the next "easier" matches and play with more passion?

PhilmyRs added 08:49 - Feb 25
Good write up but thought Hill was worse than a 6. At fault for one and should have dealt better with Van persie for the first. Hoiletts not a bad player either and think he could be useful if used correctly. Spot on with Towsend, looks like a loan player with ability that also actually tries.

probbo added 08:53 - Feb 25
It was highly unlikely we were ever going to get anything from this game but that said it was like a training session for Man U. Taarabt gave away possession far to easily for the first goal and didn't even bother to track back (something most Sunday league players would do). I guess no one expected the shot on goal that subsequently followed but even so...

We've only scored 3 goals in the league this year - that fact speaks louder than any other to me. The next few matches will either provide some hope or finally end the misery that has been the 12/13 season.

francisbowles added 11:21 - Feb 25
I believe that everyone is feeling the same that, we just can't see us scoring. Fair play to Harry we did try to be a little different against Man U by pressing further up the field but quality tells. I don't think that he had much choice at right back as Onuoha is a work in progress and therefore has been inconsistent, needs huge amounts of cover and is very uncomfortable going forward. After the mauling we got at Swansea he needed a bit more experience in the defence. Fabio should be available against Soton so Bosingwa may have a choice again between two weeks wages and bench. I didn't think he was worse than anyone else.

Interesting comments from Shearer on MOTD2 re how to expose Soton at the back as they push a lot of players forward. He suggested three ways quick passing, counter attacking or long ball. We are poor at the first. We are not too good at second, however, with the right players Townsend, Tarabt, Granero, Remy and Wright Phillips it could be an option as could some log balls up to Remy.

In all our gloom we must remember that it was Man U and other defences are unlikely to be as good.

Additionally, I am also worried about the state of the pitch it isn't helping with confidence of touch and control which we all know was very poor and slows us down.

dixiedean added 11:33 - Feb 25
The air of resignation in the crowd was partly brought on by the players' apparent inferiority complex and feeling that they didn't deserve to be on the same pitch as Man U. Whether they do is a moot point, but you can't play that way and we didn't v Spurs or Man C. Sadly for Adel he had probably his worst game in a QPR shirt. Everything he tried failed, wrong options taken,passes mishit and he was culpable twice for first goal- initially in giving the ball away in our third, then not putting pressure on Rafael. Those 1 in a million shots only happen if there's no pressure on the player shooting. And we desperatley need Adel on form as he's our only creative force. Granero is too weak to kick a ball more than 20 yards and my assessment of Mbia a few weeks ago that he is a better version of Georges Santos looks more accurate every week.Jenas no better than Faurlin, just more mobile.So finally we reach the point where the well-worn " must win" cliche is true. Beat Saints and then poss Mackems and we're back in the mix, otherwise the outcome is obvious.

QPunkR added 11:59 - Feb 25
Shocking, just shocking. There was no pride, belief or effort out on that pitch from those wearing the Hoops whatsoever.
No-one expected a result against ManUre but we did, and have a right to, expect some effort and balls. When we go down I want it to be with at least a semblance of pride, not with the whimper the players demonstrated here after their 'team building' week in the sun. Seeing Boswanker out there in our colours just compounded everything.
The crowd was poor, but home crowds will react to what's going on out on the pitch, and there was absolutely nothing to react to

jordanqpr added 13:00 - Feb 25
yep the word shocking is apt. I agree with your comment. What's happened? We are not playing like a Harry team - can we cross a ball?: boring, lack of spirit. They have had a week in the sun - wish I could afford too. Anyway next year we will win the Championship! God bless.

ManinBlack added 13:30 - Feb 25
Perhaps its just me but we have just allowed United to help themselves to 12 easy points in the last two seasons without any sort of fight. At least against City we have had some belief but it is almost like we are afraid to tackle or shoot or do anything to rile SAF. I appreciate the defeat at OT last season was down to playing with 10 men for 75 minutes albeit I still think we would have been timid trying to keep the score down.

If we do stay up, which would be appear to be a miracle on the evidence of the season to date, maybe next season we can take to the field against United on our hands and knees and kiss their boots before kick off so subserviant we are too them. If TF meant by his small club mentality remark that the players gave up before we even kicked off on Saturday and accepted defeat as a certainty then he would have a point about getting out of that mindset. He would have to clarify what he meant by the comment as there is more than one way to interpret it.

Perhaps the Little Pea praying on our pitch was for the Lord to spare us and allow us to suddenly transform ourselves into winners so we make an unlikely escape from relegation. Then United can look forward to taking another 6 easy points off us again next season in their annual quest to win the title...

RonisRs added 13:50 - Feb 25
Well, now that, that one is out the way, I can see where HR's optism comes from. If you look at the teams to play in the next 8 games, the squad we have, the games the opposition still have to play, there is still that possibility.........
That is provided the determination and the desire is there.
We can only hope and pray...........

isawqpratwcity added 14:22 - Feb 25
Its not the hope that's killing me, its the negativity. I could cope with relegation (if I must), but I don't want it to be something aided by the fans not getting behind the team.

Our away support this season has been brilliant, even in the direst Hughes days, but it was the manure support that came through on the internet on Saturday. And we criticise them for being 'plastic' fans!

FFS, get behind the team!

Antti_Heinola added 14:32 - Feb 25
Can't agree with QPunkR that it was shocking. The game went pretty much exactly as I expected, only United got less goals. I actually thought that while we never remotely troubled them, we actually defended reasonably well. The 5 for Samba seems harsh, for example.
Couple of small points Clive, QPR gave the ball back to United after the Evra 'injury' because they ahd the ball and were about to mount an attack. The ref let us continue our attack for a while, bgut when it petered out he blew up. He did the right thing, as did QPR. United had the ball and their player was down 'injured'. I can't see what choice there was in that scenario.
Secondly, to be fair to HR, Zamora would have been off earlier but the ball incredibly didn't go out of play for nearly 6 minutes! Remy was waiting for ages.
But there are so many worries with this team. The defence at least looks competent now, but central midfield is just a dead zone. Mbia off form, Jenas and Granero seemingly interchangeable and as ineffectual as each other, Derry can be good in a 3 but can't play in a 2. For all our hundreds of midfielders, central midfield may be our worst area, which is ridiculous.
If Bobby and Remy can play together even an hour a game, things might improve, but I strongly expect us to lose 0-3 at Southampton.

Spiritof67 added 17:12 - Feb 25
Regarding the lack of vocal support, it certainly was a strange atmosphere in the second half as we witnessed the opposition playing the majority of the match in 2nd gear; almost to the point where Carrick simply strolled around the middle of the pitch in the second half, seemingly saving his energy for bigger fish to fry! Before the match, I would not have expected anything else but a home defeat, But, we are currently toothless in attack and with only 8 league goals scored at home all season, maybe the home fans were simply resigned to their fate. I can only remember Remy’s effort, saved by De Gea as being our only real shot on target in the 2nd half.

Surprised to see Townsend replaced for Hoillet and fully expected to see Hoilett replace either Mackie or Taraabt, as we might as well have given it a go and possibly this would have urged the crowd on; giving it a real go although eventually losing 3-1.

Watching both Southampton and Wigan on TV, both these sides have more bodies in the opposition’s penalty area when they attack, which appears to be giving them more opportunities to score – or at least shoot on target!

TacticalR added 00:58 - Feb 26
Rangers looked bereft of conviction, bereft of ideas, and bereft of technique.

United got men back quickly, and in the first half this led to a lot of our players trying to shoot from too far out. Rafael's wonder goal knocked the stuffing out of QPR, although at least they tried to play on. Our players kept getting robbed by United in midfield or simply gave the ball away.

Mbia. A strange performance. At times seemed wild and uncontrolled. In the first half he nearly gave a goal away when he didn't control a pass out from Cesar. He also lost the battle with Wellbeck in the lead up to the second goal.

Taarabt. Gave the ball away for the goal. Misplaced a lot of passes, and looked completely out of sorts.

Mackie. Seemed very short of ideas, and kept giving the ball away. Lost track of Evra on the QPR goal-line in the second half, which nearly led to a goal.

Zamora. Just couldn't get away from Vidić.

Samba. Reasonable header on United goal, saved by Rafael. Lost track of Vidic from a corner in the first half.

César. Not to blame for the first goal, and made a wonderful save from Van Persie.

Townsend. Kept his head up when he had the ball, looking for the right pass. Unfortunately overhit his pass to Mackie when we had one of our few chances close to goal.

Traoré. Some very risky defending, and for once didn't look good going forward either.

Rémy. At least he got a decent shot on target.

Jenas. Terrible touch that lost us an attacking opportunity, and led to United's second goal.

Another match ticked off for United. Superior to us in every department, without really setting the world alight. Giggs seemed to have an eternity to get his goal.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 31 bloggers

Knees-up Mother Brown #18 by wessex_exile

Queens Park Rangers Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024