QPR hit for six as relegation is confirmed - report
Monday, 11th May 2015 22:54 by Clive Whittingham
A third six goal concession in as many years sent QPR tumbling back into the Championship after a shambolic defeat at Man City on Sunday.
In some ways, this was a better way for the knife to finally be twisted.
Going down wondering what if – what if we hadn’t conceded so many late goals, what if we’d got those penalties against Tottenham, what if we hadn’t missed spot kicks against West Ham and Hull, what if Leroy Fer hadn’t got injured, what if Harry Redknapp had left earlier, what if we hadn’t written off the early away games – could create the illusion that Queens Park Rangers have been unlucky and that not that much needs to change.
In fact, QPR are bottom because they’re the worst team, and club, in the Premier League. A proper defeat, by six clear goals, against a team in first gear, relegating the R’s with two games still to play is what the club deserves.
As if the league table, and 35 fixtures, weren’t enough to affirm this, it was confirmed before Sunday's match at Manchester City even kicked off. Sandro, an injury-prone central midfielder who QPR spent the thick end of £10m to buy from Spurs, and committed goodness only knows what in wages over the course of a lucrative contract, was ruled out because the club had forgotten to check his residency visa was valid. They’ve essentially been fielding an illegal immigrant – on the rare occasions he’s been fit enough for them to field him at all.
QPR once had the best club secretary in the country, Sheila Marson, who turned down opportunities to work for other, bigger clubs because she was a QPR person. Flavio Briatore, one of several rich foreigners who have ridden roughshod over Rangers' traditions, and the basics of running a football club, sacked her. Rangers have since been caught out time and time and time and time and time again with paperwork problems. The purge of QPR people from QPR by Gianni Paladini and Briatore continues to weigh heavy on the shoulders of the club.
In the meantime, much talk and no action. QPR were never likely to win at Manchester City, because Manchester City are far better, and they were further hampered by injuries and suspensions which meant any woman and child capable of carrying a sword was sent into battle. Chris Ramsey picked the back three that Harry Redknapp spent the summer preparing to use all season, with predictably dire results. Stephen Caulker, with a plaster cast on his broken hand, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill against Sergio Aguero and David Silva was unfair.
Leroy Fer, playing behind a front two of Zamora and Austin, gave the ball away in the second minute and Aguero cut into the area before having a shot blocked away by Dunne. If that was an early wake up call, QPR hit snooze. No more than 60 seconds later Aguero was able to run through the middle of the QPR team from the halfway line, unchallenged until Matt Phillips came across from the right and hung a lazy boot in. Aguero rode that, and chipped Rob Green as he sprang from his line. It was a training ground goal. It was pathetic.
Chris Ramsey shook his head on the touchline, and it wasn’t about to get a lot better. Dunne let a ball bounce as the time moved into double figures and Aguero nipped in behind him. Green raced out of his area to toe the danger away but it was merely a delay.
After a quarter of an hour Silva, unmarked, laid it through to Aguero, unmarked, and he chipped the ball to the back post where Milner, unmarked, made rather a mess of a golden chance for a second goal. It was like QPR had taken money to throw the fight. “We’re going down in the fourth.” “Round?” “No, minute.”
There was a brief rally, as City dropped from reclined to fully horizontal. Phillips was fouled wide on the right by Kolarov and Barton crossed for Dunne to head over, via a deflection, when well placed. A weird routine, where Zamora ran into an offside position and did the Team America secret signal, totally removing the centre forward from the situation, almost paid off. When the corner was delivered a scramble ended with Austin whacking the ball against the bar but he’d already been penalised for a foul on Kolarov.
Austin specialises in disallowed goals against Man City, having found the net twice before registering a legitimate one in the first meeting this season, and he notched another after 19 minutes heading home powerfully from a fine cross by Yun – two yards offside this time.
But, again, merely a delay rather than a change of the tide. Silva and Milner combining in fine style to cross low for Mangala, a defender incompetent enough to play for QPR, took a fresh air shot as the ball came to him in front of goal. On the half hour Dunne, leaden footed and out of his depth all afternoon, shoved over Aguero on one of the rare occasions he was neither in a dangerous position nor moving into one. Zamora and Fer stood on the end of the wall and neither jumped nor got in the way of the ball, parting like the Red Sea to allow Kolarov’s standard shot to fly straight into the net.
Two moments ten minutes before half time summed it up. First Aguero ran through on goal and forced a save from Green, but it didn’t need any skill or ability to get there – just one ball and City were in. Without trying. Then Martin Dimichelis, losing his footing and recognising a rare moment of danger, deliberately put his hand on the ball and stood up with his arms in the air surrendering to the offence and acknowledging that it was a free kick. Mike Dean, never a referee noted for his competence, shrugged his shoulders and waved play on. It typified the mood, attitude and atmosphere around the game. City were involved in a light training session, QPR had run a white flag up the pole before the game even kicked off.
That said, the final chance of the half went to QPR. City tried a high line from a free kick and Fer sprung the trap and collected the delivery. Instead of putting his boot through the ball, he tried to chip Hart and hit the bar. The ball fell to Zamora, also onside, and he headed meekly towards the open goal and the keeper was able to rush back and claim before it crossed the line.
It was a farce that typified QPR’s performance and season and there was more to come immediately after half time. QPR committed men forward for a corner hoping to pull a goal back but ended up conceding possession. That needn’t have been a disaster, as City kicked the ball straight towards the man Rangers had left back to deal with such a situation, but Yun Suk-Young let the ball drift under his foot leaving Sergio Aguero with half the field to run into and slide it past Green with ease.
Ramsey sent on Junior Hoilett for Bobby Zamora. The Canadian should have been in for a goal almost immediately as a deep free kick set him up with a free header at the back post. Richard Dunne was having none of that, and powerfully shouldered his team mate out of the way.
That was the last moment of vague resistance. It was pure City from that point on, even more so than before. Silva rode an appalling tackle from Dunne and forced a fantastic save from Green. A minute later Kolarov curled another free kick round another poor wall, but Green was wise this time and made the save.
Three more goals were still to come. Matt Phillips nudged David Silva under a cross he was never likely to reach and Aguero converted the penalty. Then a City corner was nodded on by substitute Wilfried Bony and Aguero squared for Milner to knock it into the open goal, suspiciously offside but it scarcely mattered by this point. Later Bony back healed Silva into space in the area and he rounded the keeper to score a sixth. Bony also hit the near post with Green flailing. A seventh would have been a fair reflection.
If Chris Ramsey was looking for support and justification for him being the manager next season he could have done more for his cause than his final two substitutions. Firstly, sending Niko Krancjar on for Leroy Fer. An overweight, carefree, unfit midfielder who follows Harry Redknapp around for no football reasons at all, who will not be here next season, and who has contributed the square root of fuck all to this QPR season given a run out ahead of younger players on the bench who would have done no worse, and gained much more from being involved.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. With five minutes to go Shaun Wright-Phillips was introduced. He got a standing ovation from the Man City fans who remember his happier, more successful times when he actually gave a shit about what he was doing and wasn’t simply picking up gross amounts of money for zero return.
As if playing like that, and giving them six goals, wasn’t humiliating enough, QPR then made a substitution for City as well, giving Wright-Phillips a chance to soak up adulation from former fans, giving City a chance to pay tribute to a former charge. Utterly, utterly pathetic, shambolic, unforgivable. Chris Ramsey wants to be our manager next season? Show more respect for our club, and the travelling supporters, than that please. Wright-Phillips should have been cleaning the toilets for months, and yet he’s given this lovely moment as a reward for his non-existent contribution to QPR’s cause on the day we’re relegated with a 6-0 defeat? Lord give me strength.
A blessed relief that it's all over. Both this match, and this dispiriting season. Six goals conceded for the third time in as many Premier League seasons reaffirming that, contrary to what chairman Tony Fernandes constantly claims, QPR have learnt nothing.
Man City: Hart 6; Zabaleta 6, Mangala 5, Demichelis 6, Kolarov 7; Fernando 7, Fernandinho 7 (Toure 75, 7); Milner 8 (Navas 82, -), Lampard 7 (Bony 63, 7) Silva 7; Aguero 9
Subs not used: Sagna, Kompany, Dzeko, Caballero
Goals: Aguero 4 (unassisted), 50 (unassisted), 65 (penalty, won Aguero), Kolarov 32 (Free kick, won Aguero), Milner 70 (assisted Aguero), Silva 87 (assisted Bony)
QPR: Green 4; Caulker 3, Dunne 2, Hill 3; Phillips 4, Henry 4, Barton 4, Yun 3 (Wright-Phillips 86, -); Fer 4 (Kranjcar 78, 4), Zamora 4 (Hoilett 53, 5), Austin 4
Subs not used: McCarthy, Furlong, Comley, Grego-Cox
Bookings: Barton 61 (foul)
QPR Star Man – N/A
Referee – Mike Dean (Wirral) 5 A very generous penalty award (albeit thanks to a daft challenge from Phillips), and that handball nonsense when even Dimichelis got up apologising for what he'd done rather sum up an official who's all about exaggerated gestures and ego and not so crash hot on actually getting decisions right.
Attendance 44, 564 (500 QPR approx) A subdued atmosphere in keeping with the pace and competitiveness of the game. Far too easy for City fans to get too excited about it, QPR fans getting some salt for their wounds with the Shaun Wright-Phillips introduction near the end which I thought was totally disrespectful to those who travelled.
The Twitter @loftforwords
The Pictures – Action Images
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